By the way, if anyone has any tips on bringing artwork into the squeeze system software, please let us know!!!
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For those interested, there is definitely something different about how itunes handles aiff artwork. For all other formats, I see itunes updating the artwork song by song, and it takes a little while. For aiff it does it immediately, no song-by-song update. Something is different but I don't know what it is.
Perrew - thanks for the input. Does the automatically downloaded artwork replace the associations itunes has already made? I've read about some automatic programs replacing higher quality images with low quality or wrong images, without giving the user any option or heads up. Since itunes doesn't manage images within the folder, it sounds like it would not interfere - so this may be a solution for squeeze system users.
Below is another solution, a thread I found on pinkfishmedia. It seems accurate with everything I've learned so far. I haven't calculated how much larger it would be to embed artwork in all of your songs, but will do so sometime soon.
As for album artwork: The solution I've adopted with cover art is to embed the artwork in the song file itself, rather than using the iTunes artwork database.
Normally, iTunes stores artwork in its own little database, independent of the sound files themselves. A lookup-table matches pictures to songs. But when you want to use the sound files elsewhere (e.g. using a different media player, or playing through iTunes on a different computer using the 'sharing' facility) the album covers are often unavailable.
If you embed the album artwork in the sound file, then it's available to anything that uses the sound file. The downside is storage and transmission inefficiency--each sound file from an album will contain a copy of the album cover if an album contains 10 tracks, the picture is stored in 10 places; and when you stream/share/transmit a sound file, you've got to get the picture across first (it's stored in the sound file's header) before the song can start. But since we're talking lossless/raw formats here rather than titchy mp3s, size is clearly not the highest priority.
Another benefit of embedding artwork within a file is that iTunes won't loose it. I've often despaired when I've chosen "Get Album Artwork" only to find that artwork which was available has vanished! Perhaps I've modified the Artist or Album name or some other tag, or perhaps iTunes artwork matching has gone screwy, but it's infuriating. But no more...
Here's how to embed cover art into an album's sound files (assuming the file format permits it):
If you have the cover artwork available for the album within iTunes:
(e.g. iTunes has found matching cover art). Play (or select) a song from the album so that you can see the cover art in the pane in the bottom left corner of the iTunes window. Right click on the artwork and choose 'copy'.
Select all the songs on an album and choose "Get Info" (cmd-I) to bring up the "Multiple Item Information" window.
Paste your copied album cover (or drag an image file) into the 'Artwork' box. Click OK.
And that's it.
The album cover will now be stored in the sound file of each track and will be available to any application on any device that can access and read sound files in that format. Unfortunately iTunes makes it very difficult to distinguish between artwork that's stored within the sound file and artwork that stored in the iTunes artwork database. The way I check if a picture is embedded within the file is to set iTunes up on my main computer to share its library to other computers on the network. Then, run iTunes on a second computer and play the tracks in question from the main computer's shared library. If the artwork shows up on the second computer, it's stored within the sound file. If not, it's stored in the main computer's iTunes database.
ALSO NOTED ON THIS THREAD
I've noticed if iTunes finds the cover art, it tags it very quickly, whereas if you tag it manually, it goes through each track individually. Yet both methods show in info/artwork. Albums that I have manually inserted artwork, where it cycles through individual tracks, do not show artwork on other computers under shared library. I assume I am not embedding the artwork with the separate tracks.
Sounds like it should work well for populating artwork for the squeeze system. I looked around on the web - it's not very well documented, so I guess you just have to run it to try it out. I assume that it works independently of itunes, and doesn't really supply itunes with artwork - correct? I assume you can limit the folders that it searches (I have so many, don't want to overwhelm it).
I've had the Duet for about a year. No artwork came through from my ripped CD's into the MySqueezebox program eventhough it was in Itunes. Also everyone of my album folders in Windows Explorer had a cover.jpg file that showed a thumbnail of the artwork when I clicked on it. Then, I recently saw the new "experimental" Itunes artwork extractor so 1. I deleted my entire squeezbox library along with all preferences and 2. Rescanned after checking the "Use Itunes" and the "experimental" extract Itunes Artwork check boxes. "Et Voila". All the Artwork Itunes had was visible on my Duet controler, but not every CD in my Itunes had the artwork to begin with. So, anyway 90% is better than 1%. Hope this works for everyone.