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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Showing 5 responses by glupson


"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.
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.

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.

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.

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.