Kirk and I talk about album artwork in another one of our iTunes-oriented episodes of The Next Track podcast. Additionally, some useful AppleScripts for managing your iTunes artwork are featured.
This episode is sponsored by Loopback from Rogue Amoeba. Loopback gives you the power of a high-end studio mixing board, right inside your computer. Download a free trial of Loopback and be sure to check out a special offer for The Next Track listeners in this week’s episode.
So I guess artwork in iTunes drives some people crazy.
I have to admit I really don’t give a poop about artwork most of the time. But I get that many people do. One thing that many of my OCD-About-Artwork friends insist upon is that a track’s album artwork also be contained in that track’s file’s metadata; that the correct artwork is “embedded”.
Coverscope is an applet that will show both the assigned iTunes track artwork and the local file’s metadata artwork (if any exists) for the selected track.
Scrolling through tracks may turn up something like this, where the track entry in iTunes has artwork but its associated file does not have image data in its metadata:
Here’s a track where both the iTunes artwork exists and its file’s metadata contains image data:
There are features to Embed the track artwork to the file’s metadata, Apply the metadata image data to the track, drag an image file to Apply and Embed, Copy Track Artwork to Clipboard and Save Track Artwork as File.
Coverscope is free to use in Demo Mode, during which the above features can be used in any combination up to five times per launch. An in-app purchase of a registration code for $1.99 will remove the restriction so it can be used smoothly without re-launching.
More information and download is available on this page.
Is Artwork Embedded will examine the single selected track’s audio file for image information in its metadata. If “embedded artwork” is found, the script will display something like this (where the image is the actual information retrieved from the metadata):
And if it can’t detect any artwork metadata:
iTunes doesn’t always transfer assigned track artwork to a file’s metadata, although most purchased tracks and downloads will have it. Also, just because an audio file’s Finder icon displays album artwork doesn’t mean that that artwork is part of the file’s metadata:
There may also be cases whereby some odd file has embedded artwork that is undetectable by the script (I suppose). But, generally: the script will always be right if it finds artwork metadata (because it displays it), but if it doesn’t find artwork it could be wrong.
iTunes is able to accommodate more than one image for a track entry’s artwork. What hasn’t always been obvious is that the first artwork in an array of artworks in a track is the “display” artwork. Any additional artwork in the artworks array are spares. Modern versions of the iTunes Get Info Artwork panel now label images as “Album Artwork” and “Other Artwork”.
Some people think that these “Other Artwork” have to go.
It is a simple matter to simply remove the other artwork from a track entry with an AppleScript. Here’s one now that goes through each track in a selection and repeats through its artworks (if there’s more than one artwork), removing the last artwork until there is only the first one left:
tell application “iTunes”
set selectedTracks to selection of front browser window
repeat with i from 1 to (count of selectedTracks)
set thisTrack to item i of selectedTracks
if (count of its artworks) > 1 then
repeat until ((count of its artworks) is 1)
delete its last artwork
Click the script icon above to download this script to Script Editor at your house and click “New Script” to allow it to open. Save it named whatever you like in your ~/Library/iTunes/Scripts/ folder (or wherever you put them). Select some tracks in iTunes and launch the script.
There’s always the kid in the front who wants to know why you don’t make a script like this that just works on the entire library. Well: iTunes can be kind of touchy when AppleScripting a large amount of artwork stuff. It may “go modal” as it updates its database and under such circumstances may block an AppleScript from continuing its operation. So I purposely used the selection object so that the script can be used piecemeal on a small batch of tracks at a time. Additionally, you might want to eyeball the “Other Artworks” of a track before you start blindly mowing them all down; in which case having to select the tracks manually compels you to be in control.
The routines are in a try block to skip over errors because of what I mentioned above about modality and also in case there’s some image gunk in there that causes trouble. Because images downloaded from the internet that you use as album artwork are always pristine, right?
Sort by Artwork Size v1.1 can write the size of a track’s artwork (eg: “600×600”) to choice of Category, Comments, Description or Episode ID tag (enabling tracks to be sorted by artwork size in a playlist using the chosen tag) and/or copy tracks with artwork less than or greater than a user-entered size to a new discrete playlist.
Note that if choosing the first option, the chosen tag will be re-written so it is best to choose a tag that is not already in use or not typically associated with a track’s kind; for example, use the Episode ID tag (a TV Show tag) for music tracks or the Category tag (a Podcasts tag) for videos.
This latest version adds support for OS X 10.11 and accommodates changes in iTunes 12.2 and later.
Free to try for ten days, $1.99 thereafter. More info and download is on this page.
Save Album Art as folder.jpg will export the artwork of the selected tracks or tracks in the selected playlist as a JPEG image file named folder.jpg to the folder which contains each selected track’s filepresumably the track’s Album folder.
Many third-party music players and systems (Sonos, for example) may look for a “folder.jpg” here to use as display artwork. If multiple album tracks are selected, the script will make sure only one image file per Album is exported.
More information and download is on this page.
Size of Artwork will display the size (width x height) of the artwork of the single selected track.
This script works great when assigned a shortcut.
More info and download is on this page.
Re-Apply Downsized Artwork will examine the artwork of each selected track (or tracks in the selected playlist) and if greater than a user-set resolution (n x n pixels) will downscale the image to that resolution.
Artwork already at the set resolution or smaller will not be affected. Includes options to pad image to make square, preserve extant track artworks, adjust preview proportionally and export displayed artwork to disk.
More info, video demonstration and download is on this page.
I’ve been on a roll lately with the Managing Artwork scripts, eh?
The latest is Size of Artwork, which simply displays the size of the artwork of a selectd track:
For OS X 10.9 or later. This script is way more convenient to use when you assign it a keyboard shortcut.
MP3, AAC and ALAC audio files have the capability to store artwork as image data as metadata internally. In this way, artwork can “travel” with the file. But it’s not always easy to tell if an audio file actually contains this metadata. For example, even though a track entry may have assigned artwork (which you can see in iTunes), its corresponding file may not include that artwork as metadata.
Tracks Without Embedded Artwork will examine the files of the selected iTunes tracks (or tracks in the selected playlist) for artwork metadata. Eligible audio tracks whose files do not contain artwork metadata will be copied to a new discrete playlist.