Acquiring Album Art

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Like many of us, reader Gary Makowski’s iTunes music library contains selections that weren’t purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Thus, non-iTMS tracks are missing album artwork. He asks:

How do I download the album covers from the iTunes Music Store for albums I already own on a commercial CD? After burning the CD into iTunes, I would like to have the album cover, too. Yes, I can scan my the cover from my own album, but isn’t there a way I can just download it and save all that hassle?

Sure, but the iTunes Music Store won’t be your source—it offers album artwork only when you purchase a song that contains that artwork. Instead, you must turn to the Web (or tools that access the Web) to find the artwork you seek.

One place to start is Brett O’Connor’s free Find Album Artwork With Google AppleScript. When you select a track and run this script, your default browser opens and displays a series of images, some of which will likely be the album artwork you seek. Select all the tracks you’d like to add the artwork to and press Command I to produce the Multiple Song Information window. Drag an image to the Artwork field in this window, click OK, and the songs you selected will now include the artwork.

(Of course you can skip the interim search step altogether and simply dash over to Amazon, search for the album whose artwork you wish to acquire, and drag it into this Artwork field.)

Another option is Sprote Rsrch’s free Clutter. Clutter is an alternative music browser that works with iTunes or your SqueezeBox or SoundBridge music libraries. It represents albums as CD covers that you place on your desktop. Cool enough, I grant you, but among its nicest features is the ability to track down Amazon album art for the currently playing song and append that art to the appropriate tracks in your iTunes library.

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