How to insert album cover art on music files?

I have searched the net for answers and I have not found any feasible answer to the question:
"How to insert album cover art on music files?"

I have about 4-6TB of music on external hard drives. Much of this music came from live broadcast sources through the years. I also have much HR music recorded from various on line services recorded via a HR Tascam recorder then transferred to the hard drive.
How can I insert a picture into those music files on my hard drive? Low rez sources such as iTunes, or mp3 conversion is not an option.

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Mp3tag will tag most any audio files. WAV is system dependant on whether it will show up.
I only wish that Florian made a version for photos.
I use the music file editor that comes with dbpoweramp to Manually fix tags and art as needed.  Just right click on the files and tag and add artwork as needed. 
In most cases dbpoweramp does a good job of adding cover art at rip time.   If not then O use Picard software which is pretty good at auto tagging and adding art.  I Only use manual dbpoweramp editor as a last resort,  often when converting from vinyl where auto tagging tends to not work as well. 
Do any of these cost money to download?
And I already have the music on the hard drive and most are in the wav format.
Picard can be downloaded for free. Very powerful and able to auto tag and add album art automatically in many cases.

if you already own and rip using dbpoweramp the editor is included.  Otherwise a nominal cost to download. 
Can any of these allow me to use my own pictures?

Yes the dbpoweramp editor has an option to select image files you store on a directory on your computer. 
Picard might also not sure.  Never tried. 
Ozzy wav format might be an issue for what you want to do. Wav format is not inherently flexible with tagging. Never tried Wav with these tools. I started with wav and used dbpoweramp to bulk convert wav to lossless flac which is very flexible with tagging.  If tagging files with art and other info for usability matters to you I would suggest converting to flac.  
Any audio degradation converting the wav files to flac?

Technically, no audio degradation if done lossless at same resolution and a good quality streamer that works with flac format is used. Try it and see. There is always a chance some streamers do better with one format than another Even if source music content is identical, but should not be the case if done well. Some report differences case by case but has not been an issue for me. I have thousands of releases in my flac music library that I stream all the time and sound quality is never an issue.   Many were converted to flac from wav using dbpoweramp batch converter.  I’ve ripped exclusively Directly  to flac though in recent years

I've looked at Picard and it's clutzy. Mp3tag free, drag 'n' drop in any art you want. Manage tags easily for folders.
Batch conversion I recommend XRECODE3. It was free 10 years ago. I donated then because it was so good. Best $15 you'll ever spend. Or €10.
I use a program called Meta. I think I paid $20 for it, but it's super easy to use and does the job. I use it to add album artwork and meta data to my wav files.
I’m going to look into the suggestions. 
So, I will be able to just plug the hard drive into my computer and then add artwork to files I want?
Or, do I need to add all the info from the hard drive into the downloaded program first?
I ask this because I think that is what Music Media required.
First, it is so time consuming and second it will probably overload my computer.

As you can tell I am not of the computer generation, but trying.

Is it just called Meta? When I do a search I get all kinds of crazy results.

I use Tag&Rename to tag all my WAV files. Never had a single issue with the information/album art showing up using the old Slim Devices/Logitech streamers or my current DIY computer using JRiver.
I have dBPoweramp and Mp3Tag.

Mp3Tag is (to me) slightly more user friendly. It cannot be easier. It is free, but it asks you to donate if you wish. I do about once a year because I do use it often.

In case you decide to use Mp3Tag, remember to delete old picture AND save that deletion if you want to change the picture on the file. Only then add a new one. Do not worry, it is about 1 second of extra work.

For me, WAV covers seem to be more related to the machine it is played on than to the program it was tagged with. Same file will show on some of the machines and not on others. Even from the same brand.

dBPoweramp converts pretty much any format I use. I could not discern the difference between FLAC and others.
kgturner, glupson,
Can I just pick the files on my hard drive that I want the art work added?
Can I just cut and paste the pictures to go on my hard drive?

Just tried MP3Tag... and I got it to work.
I need to get used to it more but I was able to make it work.

Thanks, so far so good!


Sorry for the late response, but I am glad it worked.

mp3Tag is actually quite simple, after a few attempts.

I am repeating myself, but if you want to change the picture that already is in the file make sure to delete it first (right click on the picture in the left lower corner), save that (click on "save" diskette up left) and then put a new picture in and save. I have made that mistake of "deleting" without saving enough times to be embarassed to admit. The issue is that some of the programs/machines you may be playing the files with cannot digest the artwork if there is more than one picture attached, or they may decide to show the one you did not want.

Do not be surprised if some song/album that you attached the picture to does not show up once being played. It is there but sometimes the program does not see it. For me, it happened exclusively with WAV and even that not all the time. I have no explanation or remedy except "sorry".

dBpoweramp can also tag, but it can convert, rip, and a few more. I prefer mp3Tag for tagging, but conversions and other things in dB poweramp have been worth the purchase price over time.
I have noticed that the beginning of some songs  (wav) do not display the album art. Very strange.

.wav format is not designed for tagging including artwork. Using it for that is a kluge.  Expect issues. Flac files are designed for that and work well. Plus the lossless compressed data format makes managing large libraries more viable. I think everyone who starts with wav ends up either forgetting about it or switching at some point. I wish I had switched to flac sooner. Fixing tags after ripping can be very time consuming even with automated tools like Picard.
There’s also a free program called Creevity MP3 cover downloader.

Very simple to use and think it works with W7/10 and iOS.
Thanks for the help, I've been adding art to my files this afternoon.
I'm up to the C's.
It's gonna take a while.


It is interesting that only beginnings of WAV songs are not displaying covers. Could it be that it simply takes a little time for the machine you are playing it on to digest and figure everything out? It does happen on one of my players, but I am talking about a second or two and even that not every time. Check if it is every time with the same song.

I abandoned automated retrieval of cover art from the Internet. Too many errors (wrong pictures). In fact, it is worth checking even song titles, etc. They are also less than perfect.

Now, when you started your project of tagging, you will be in it longer than you think, I am afraid.

Once all the covers are done, you may notice that The Beatles and the beatles are filed separately and may end up in different folders. That is just a made-up example, but I want to say that arranging the library becomes a year-long chore and you may be tempted to straighten it out. It took me longer. If you have lots of classical, I feel for you.

I second mapman’s thoughts about WAV and FLAC. I converted (actually copied) from AIFF to FLAC. I used AIFF initially because it does take cover art more or less well. Virtually any car these days will play FLAC from SD card or USB drive and it displays covers. Not so much with WAV and not so much with AIFF.

Be careful not to do all of this "cover work" and then convert to FLAC. There is no real guarantee all of them will transfer although dBpoweramp does a decent, if not consistent, job with that.

I would copy all I have to FLAC and only then start adding covers, arranging names and nunbers, etc. Been there, done that, would do it this way this time.

’Once all the covers are done, you may notice that The Beatles and the beatles are filed separately and may end up in different folders. That is just a made-up example, but I want to say that arranging the library becomes a year-long chore and you may be tempted to straighten it out. It took me longer. If you have lots of classical, I feel for you.’

It is a tricky business.

After you’ve made sure the song and artist titling is correct and consistent, (and have done a backup) you still need to watch out for a few things.

You need to decide how many genres you need (male, female, pop, rock, rock n roll, classical, children’s, electronica, folk, soundtrack is about the minimum I can reduce it to).

Then there’s the year of release (or year it became a hit or when you first became aware of it) which can vary from US to UK.

If you happen to use the the otherwise excellent VLC media app (which provides a drag and drop means of getting music onto an iPhone) you might find a few artwork issues in list view. It also seems to ignore your genre divisions and creates its own.

Is it all worth it?


To think you can carry around a vast library of all the music you’ve ever liked to enjoy at your leisure is something that would have left previous generations incredulous.

And some people thought the Sony Walkman cassette was a big deal.

Whatever next in this age of ’miracle and wonder’?
The missing artwork at the beginning of the albums is now there. Must of been a delay thing while upgrading the file.
I only added the artwork, the rest of the album info is not worth the effort to me.


"Then there’s the year of release (or year it became a hit or when you first became aware of it) which can vary from US to UK."
Interesting options I had mostly not thought of. I put a year when material was recorded, if known. If not sure about that, I put when it was released. Is the year of release in U.S.A. and UK a common issue? I have no knowledge but would have guessed they follow each other very closely.
Isn't that a lot of extra work?
Do you find it to be helpful?


I think the US and UK charts have always been a little bit different, end of year release dates could vary somewhat, especially for acts that weren't so well known outside their region.

Sometimes the US and UK charts would converge but then at other times they seemed to bear little resemblance. It obviously mattered more to UK acts whether they made it in America than it did to US acts whether they made it in the UK.

I used to follow the charts avidly between the late 70s til the late 90s and so many of those songs act as memory joggers. 

It's good to have accurate song data as it also helps with playlist compilation and lately I'm increasingly becoming fond of playlists that help establish mood.

For example if I feel tired, then playing some hard rock can be just what the doctor ordered. Or if I'm feeling nostalgic I can hone in on one particular year.

I even once tried to put the songs into month order as opposed to merely years, but that didn't turn out so well. Besides the effort to do so would be enormous for well over a 1000 songs!

Some people like albums whilst others prefer to stick to singles and making their own compilations. I'm definitely in the latter group as there's hardly a dozen albums I'm happy to play start to finish. I played Dark Side of the Moon the other day and soon found my attention wandering...

Anyway, the great thing is you only need to do this once. 
Well I'm up to the H's adding cover art to my HiRez files.
Perfect thing to keep an ole' retiree working...


Regarding inputing all the data from the beginning.

It is a lots of work and you could even call it a hobby. Well, you could call it a full time job, too. It takes a lot of time. A lot.

I find it useful, but that may vary for you depending how pedantic you are deep inside. I make sure that everything is in a certain way (correct letters in each language, German, French, etc.), that artists do not show up in multiple iterations, that there is no "various artist" anywhere, and other obsessive little things. A tiny mistake may make your 12-song album end up being an 11-song album with another similar album with only one song.

Even with all that work, every now and then I find imperfections, but those are easy to fix. Having a "blank" library that you have to straighten out is a different thing. Approach with caution.

In case you have any number of classical recordings, automatic tagging from the Internet exists, but it is so imperfect that I find it useless. Looking for, let’s say, Mahler’s 5th symphony may produce and omit a number of recordings. There is almost a guarantee that they will not all show up on one list. At least not on a few different devices that I have. Looking for Mozart may give you a few Mozarts. Mozart; Mozart W.A.; W.A. Mozart; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus; etc. If you are looking for a certain movement, another messy search. Getting all the symphonies tagged in a certain way is a chore, but definitely was worth it for me.

Good news, Pink Floyd is easy.

Converting (dBpoweramp) from AIFF to FLAC loses some of the less-important tags. Converting exactly the same thing from FLAC to AIFF retains them. Go figure.

Just the fact that you embarked on putting cover art on all of your files makes me think you do like to have things in some order. Basically, you are at some risk of eventually tagging more than just covers. Once you browse through your album covers and find two Dark Side of the Moons, you are in trouble. That is how I started. 20 000 or so files later, I think it was worth it, but am warning you it takes time.

Of course, while you are doing it, back it up in multiple locations. Hard drives are cheap these days and not having a few copies of your work may end up being very frustrating once something fails.
Thank you all for the help. I now have cover art on all my HR files.