and versatile as digital music files are, they can't replace certain things about CDs. There's just something special about being able to pick up a CD case and identify it by the artwork on its cover; a listing of songs in bare text format just doesn't bring with it quite the same cachet,
when the listing for a Mozart symphony looks just the same as the one for a ska
or stand-up comedian's routine. Furthermore, CD albums tend to come with booklets full of
sheets, interviews, cast and crew information, and moresome very
and thick. Where is the equivalent of these things in the digital music world?
iTunes can't quite provide the same experience that these features of CDs give you. However, you
add album art in the form of digital image data to the headers of your MP3 or AAC files. A scanned picture fileeven a high-resolution oneis only a few hundred kilobytes (KB) at most, compared to the 3 or 4MB of a complete digital audio file; thus, adding a piece of album art to a song, or even several pictures at once, doesn't materially increase the impact on your disk space. It can, however, greatly enhance your enjoyment of your music by showing you what the album for the song you're listening to
Songs you purchase from the iTunes Music Store come with their own high-resolution album art already built in; some albums, usually premium "boxed set" collections, come with digital booklets containing lyrics and other information that would normally appear in a CD's booklet.
When you buy
from the iTunes Music Store, they play in the same display pane that shows album art or in a separate window, and iTunes selects their thumbnail icons (shown in the
view) automatically from the first few seconds of the video.
Obtain Album Art Images
The first step is to get one or more images of the album art for a given CD album. If you have a scanner, you might choose to scan the cover of your CD jewel case insert, in addition to some of the pages from the interior of the insert booklet. Consult the documentation for your scanner if you choose to do it this way; save the final picture files with at least 500 pixels of resolution in both width and height, but don't make it much bigger than 1000 pixels square. Save the image file in JPEG format for the best compression/quality balance. Try to keep each picture less than 200KB in
If you don't have a scanner, you can usually find acceptable album art images on the Internet. AMG's Allmusic service (
) has comprehensive discographies for almost all major bands, including album art that, although not very high-resolution, will do in a
Some third-party programs are designed to search the Internet for album art images to add to iTunes; see
Automatically Download Album Art
for more information.
The Allmusic site, run by the All Media Guide (AMG), contains comprehensive discography listings of most well-known bands, including album art that you can use in your imported music files.
Add Album Art by Navigating
view and the browse
to navigate to the music you want to modify. Select a single song, and then choose
(or right-click the selected song and choose
from the context menu).
You can select an entire album, or all of an artist's works, by choosing it from the appropriate browse list. For instance, if you click
listing at the top of the iTunes window, and leave
selected in the
listing, you can then choose
edit all the information of all the Phil Collins songs in your Library.
If you select multiple songs and then choose
, there is no
tabinstead, in the
Multiple Song Information
window that appears, there is a small square to which you can drag the artwork picture file and apply it to all selected files at once.
tab of the
dialog box. This pane shows you all the album art that is currently embedded in the selected song. Use the slider in the lower-right corner to adjust the size of the thumbnails of the images. You can view the thumbnails one at a time at maximum size (click the
to scroll through the images associated with each song in the list in iTunes), or at any size down to 32 onscreen at once. You can add more than 32 images if you want.
button to add another piece of art to the information for the selected song. In the file picker that appears, navigate to the location of the picture you want to add; select it and click
. The picture is added to the display pane. Repeat for all the pictures you want to add to this song. (You can't add more than one picture at a time.) Click
to dismiss the info window.
You can remove a piece of album art from a song by selecting it in the display pane of the info window and clicking
. If you select multiple songs and then view the
Multiple Song Information window
, you can clear the album art from all selected songs by clicking the artwork in the small square and pressing
Display the Viewer Pane
Show or Hide Viewer Pane
button under the
pane in the iTunes window. A smaller pane, labeled
, opens above the button; this
pane shows you any album art that already exists in a selected song, or a gray dashed box with a
Drag Album Artwork Here
message if there is no album art in the song.
heading to switch the
if music is playing. This action toggles between views of the album art for the selected song or for the currently playing track (if the track art is different from what's selected).
Drag in Album Art
A quicker way to add album art than the one described in Step 2 is to drag picture files from the Finder or Windows Explorer into the
pane. This works whether you have selected a single song or a
of songs. First make sure the
pane is displayed, using the button fourth from the bottom left; then make sure the
pane is showing the
. (Click the header to change its mode if it shows
.) Then you will be able to drag picture files straight into the
pane to apply them to all selected songs.
You can add multiple pictures at once this wayjust select multiple files and drag them all into the
pane with one motion. You can even drag pictures directly from your web browser into the pane, without having to save them to your computer first.
Organize Album Art Images in a Song
When you have added multiple pictures to a song or group of songs, you will probably want to set the order in which that artwork appears. This way, you can be sure that the album cover artwork appears first, and that as you browse the pictures, they appear in the correct sequence. Open the info window again for a song or group of songs, and click the
tab. Adjust the slider until all the pictures are visible at once. Now click and drag the pictures into the order you want them to appear. The first one should go at the upper left, and so on in the normal order you would expect in reading a page from left to right.
View Album Art
Click the small thumbnail image in the
pane to display the full-resolution image in its own window. If there is more than one picture embedded in a song, use the
arrow buttons to page through the available pictures.
Drag the vertical divider to widen or narrow the
pane. As the
pane grows wider, the
pane gets larger
, keeping a square shape.
If you have an iPod with a
screen, the album art for the current song appears on the
screen. If you press the
button several times to switch through the various control modes, you can view the artwork at the full size of the iPod's screen. The iPod keeps showing the album art and does not automatically revert to the regular
screen until you press