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Old 11-10-2013, 12:14 PM
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Album Art Suggestions

Hi All, I wanted to share some progress I've made regarding Album Art. This may be old news to some of you, but I could not find a consolidated post anywhere here that outlines this so I figured I would give it a shot.

Since picking up my 14JGC in June, I have been mystified by what album art shows and what does not. Before I go any further, please note that my music collection comes from a variety of sources including ripped, bought and "other"(don't judge). My confusion starts with iTunes, where ALL my music has album art. However, when playing music in the truck, some tracks & albums had not art.

In theory, Gracenote should offer images for anything that was not already embedded into the MP3 file, as long as gracenote has an image AND can figure out your music. However, my thought was that I should not need gracenote becuase from my perspective, everything HAS an image, since I was looking at it via iTunes. And therein lies the problem. iTunes is smart enough to display album art for music that doesn't have it already, but it is only DISPLAYING the art, not actually EMBEDDING it into the MP3 file, so that when that MP3 was looked at by something other than iTunes, there is still no art. So when such a track is played in the truck and gracenote doesn't have art, then nothing is displayed.

I embarked on a mission to determine which of my tracks had art and which did not. Which isn't as easy as you would think because most desktop apps such as iTunes and Windows media player readily fetch and display the art so it is hard to know which are embedded and which are not. To arrive at this answer I used a free tool called MP3Tag, which is a batch MP3Tag editor. With this tool I was able view my entire music collection and see which files had images and which do not, and remedy those.

The remedy was a bit tedious, but worked. First I suggest sorting the music collection listing via ALBUM, so you are grouping your common tracks together and can embed the cover art at the same time for all of the album tracks. Now click through the list to find an album missing art. I next went to amazon.com and looked up the album, and copied the album art to the clip board. Back in MP3Tag, you can shift-click all the tracks you want to apply the cover art to. Now right click into the cover art field and select paste. Now finish by clicking the save button at the top of the screen. Each of the files will now get the album art embedded the it's file. Now when you transfer that file to your SD card or USB Stick, the image should be displayed onscreen, regardless of what gracenote has in it's database.

It took me about a little less than hour to scroll through 260 albums consisting of 3570 tracks. I think I had to correct roughly 15% of my albums.

I'm clearly a little OCD about stuff like this, but hopefully this information will help someone else along the way.
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:51 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

Interesting process....I just emerged from the same thing a few months ago, though from your post it appears you are on a PC and I operate on a Mac platform. I found an app called "Coverscout" and in it you can load your entire library and then scroll through and observe/change album covers. Still took a long, long time, and, on top of everything else, it is possible that you have the correct album cover, but it may not be reflected on every single song on the album.

I am not too sure of how Gracenote works. In my case, I made sure that the album artwork was "embedded" into each song. I have a 16GB card, loaded with about 10 different playlists (e.g. "rock", "jazz", etc.). 2000 songs total on the SD. I use playlists because shuffle mode works within a playlist and is persistent. If you put 450 songs in a folder called "rock" and hit shuffle, it will shuffle the entire contents of the card rather than shuffling within the contents of the folder you selected. This is a bug that needs to be fixed and I hope it will be. I used one of "doug's scripts for itunes" to export the playlist and all required songs to the SD card. That works great and there are several scripts for embedding and resizing artwork. Several available for Windows also, so you should do a search and check them out. I made a small donation as I found several of the scripts to be very helpful. Did exactly what I needed and saved me a bunch of time.

Also, you probably know this already, but beeware that artwork will not show if it in excess of 1000 pixels in either dimension. The really big ones that look great on your computer screen won't show up on the vehicle display. I found this out strictly trial and error, not sure it is published anywhere.

The only negative byproduct of this process is that, by embedding the artwork, the files sizes increase dramatically (another reason to keep them smaller rather than larger) and therefore the collection takes up more storage space.

Anyway, I'm glad you were able to get your collection straightened out, and you should be happy to know that you are not alone in your OCD...
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:59 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

Instead of playlists, I have a folder for each artist. In the Jeep I just sort by genre and then shuffle. Originally shuffle didn't work properly unless you set it by voice. One of the updates fixed that.



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Old 11-10-2013, 02:11 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

My observation of the current software is that shuffle mode works correctly in every category....except "folder". You can search by genre, artist, etc. and shuffle will work fine within the results of your search. It just won't work at the folder level. This has to be an easily corrected oversight and I hope it happens.

As for searching by "genre", that could not work for me, as I have way to many different genres in my music catalog. "Classic Rock", "Hard Rock", "Electric Rock", "Heavy Metal", and so on for each basic class. I have about 10K songs and I had begun trying to consolidate and edit the genre fields in my TAGs, but once I found that playlists worked and was able to edit and export playlists to my liking directly from iTunes to the SD card, I abandoned trying to consolidate and organize the genres. By way of example, I dragged about 450 of my favorite songs (with a variety of entries in the "genre" TAG field), which I would classify myself as "Rock" into a playlist entitled "Rock" and then exported that playlist (.m3u) and associated songs onto the SD card.
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:04 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

You have correctly pointed out that I'm a PC user. So I cannot speak to any of the Mac tools. Though I will elaborate on my transfer process for which I use a software called Doubletwist. (Note Doubletwist is/was originally designed as a media player app for android phones. They then developed a windows app for moving media to your phone. I use the same process to move the media to an SD card)

Doubletwist is especially handy for iTunes users. We have lots of iPhones/iPads/iPod Touch in my home so iTunes has regrettably become our defacto media manager(Grrrrr... I hate that crappy SW). However it does not allow for exporting to other media or devices that are not apple. That's where Doubletwist comes in.

Doubletwist is very similar to iTunes, even using your existing iTunes library and playlists. But also then allowing you to sync with non-apple devices. To sync you can select tracks, artists, albums, or playlists and just drag it to the SDcard which appears as a destination on the left menu. What's nice for folder fans (Bill_de), Is it creates folders for the artists and albums automatically, so if you were to drag a playlist containing 5 different artists, it would actually create 5 folders on the fly. Doubletwist also recreates the playlists as they are written to the card so that the playlists point to the right location on the card in the new artist folder structure. Easy Peasy .

Just a comment on playlists, as they related to some of the other previous replies. I personally hate the process of setting up playlists, but once it's done, it is a great way to play just what you want in the car. The process I outlines above with doubletwist makes this REALLY easy to set up playlists. I highly suggest getting into the practice of building playlists prior to moving media to the car, that way you have no issues with trying to shuffle a folder.

Here is an example of how I am moving my files. In iTunes I have created a few playlists, the first is a main playlist which I add all the artists/albums/tracks I want, and I call this playlist "Jeep". I also then have some other playlists that I might call "hard Rock", "country" or "kids" and I selectively add tracks to these playlists at will. Then in double twist i drag these playlists to my SDCard. Uconnect is smart enough to still let me sort by Artist/Album/Genre, and that sorting spans across all the content regardless of playlist, but I can play only the playlist I wish at any point in time as well.
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Old 11-10-2013, 06:57 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by BassAtl View Post
Interesting process....I just emerged from the same thing a few months ago, though from your post it appears you are on a PC and I operate on a Mac platform. I found an app called "Coverscout" and in it you can load your entire library and then scroll through and observe/change album covers. Still took a long, long time, and, on top of everything else, it is possible that you have the correct album cover, but it may not be reflected on every single song on the album.

I am not too sure of how Gracenote works. In my case, I made sure that the album artwork was "embedded" into each song. I have a 16GB card, loaded with about 10 different playlists (e.g. "rock", "jazz", etc.). 2000 songs total on the SD. I use playlists because shuffle mode works within a playlist and is persistent. If you put 450 songs in a folder called "rock" and hit shuffle, it will shuffle the entire contents of the card rather than shuffling within the contents of the folder you selected. This is a bug that needs to be fixed and I hope it will be. I used one of "doug's scripts for itunes" to export the playlist and all required songs to the SD card. That works great and there are several scripts for embedding and resizing artwork. Several available for Windows also, so you should do a search and check them out. I made a small donation as I found several of the scripts to be very helpful. Did exactly what I needed and saved me a bunch of time.

Also, you probably know this already, but beeware that artwork will not show if it in excess of 1000 pixels in either dimension. The really big ones that look great on your computer screen won't show up on the vehicle display. I found this out strictly trial and error, not sure it is published anywhere.

The only negative byproduct of this process is that, by embedding the artwork, the files sizes increase dramatically (another reason to keep them smaller rather than larger) and therefore the collection takes up more storage space.

Anyway, I'm glad you were able to get your collection straightened out, and you should be happy to know that you are not alone in your OCD...

BassAtl, I took a look at coverscout's website and that program looks really helpful. unfortunately as you pointed out I'm a PC and out of luck. I searched for some alternatives, but they are all pretty vague. I might use some train during during my work commute to look into them further. But thanks for the recommendation anyway.

Embedding the image into the MP3 doesn't add too much size. Normally only 100k or less. I suppose a claim could be made that it all adds up, but when we are talking about 16GB or 32GB storage cards it seem negligible. For instance I have a 32GB card, and I"m currently only using 5 GB of it. and that's enough music to keep me happy for a good long time.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:22 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Born2golf View Post
Hi All, I wanted to share some progress I've made regarding Album Art. This may be old news to some of you, but I could not find a consolidated post anywhere here that outlines this so I figured I would give it a shot.

Since picking up my 14JGC in June, I have been mystified by what album art shows and what does not. Before I go any further, please note that my music collection comes from a variety of sources including ripped, bought and "other"(don't judge). My confusion starts with iTunes, where ALL my music has album art. However, when playing music in the truck, some tracks & albums had not art.

In theory, Gracenote should offer images for anything that was not already embedded into the MP3 file, as long as gracenote has an image AND can figure out your music. However, my thought was that I should not need gracenote becuase from my perspective, everything HAS an image, since I was looking at it via iTunes. And therein lies the problem. iTunes is smart enough to display album art for music that doesn't have it already, but it is only DISPLAYING the art, not actually EMBEDDING it into the MP3 file, so that when that MP3 was looked at by something other than iTunes, there is still no art. So when such a track is played in the truck and gracenote doesn't have art, then nothing is displayed.

I embarked on a mission to determine which of my tracks had art and which did not. Which isn't as easy as you would think because most desktop apps such as iTunes and Windows media player readily fetch and display the art so it is hard to know which are embedded and which are not. To arrive at this answer I used a free tool called MP3Tag, which is a batch MP3Tag editor. With this tool I was able view my entire music collection and see which files had images and which do not, and remedy those.

The remedy was a bit tedious, but worked. First I suggest sorting the music collection listing via ALBUM, so you are grouping your common tracks together and can embed the cover art at the same time for all of the album tracks. Now click through the list to find an album missing art. I next went to amazon.com and looked up the album, and copied the album art to the clip board. Back in MP3Tag, you can shift-click all the tracks you want to apply the cover art to. Now right click into the cover art field and select paste. Now finish by clicking the save button at the top of the screen. Each of the files will now get the album art embedded the it's file. Now when you transfer that file to your SD card or USB Stick, the image should be displayed onscreen, regardless of what gracenote has in it's database.

It took me about a little less than hour to scroll through 260 albums consisting of 3570 tracks. I think I had to correct roughly 15% of my albums.

I'm clearly a little OCD about stuff like this, but hopefully this information will help someone else along the way.
I've been using MP3Tag for a couple years now. Love it and it's free!

However, my 2012 430N won't display album art (and yes I'm anal and make sure ALL of my MP3s have album art). That sucks. Wish I could find an update for the stupid Gracenote software on the 430N.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:35 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

Unless iTunes stuff is different, I don't understand the need for extra software.

When I found out my Jeep would have no cd player or hdd I started ripping my CDs to my laptop using Windows Media Player. I then dragged them to an sd card. I then used it to copy MP3s, albums and individual songs, onto the same sd card. Even if I only had one song downloaded by an artist, the program created a folder for the artist complete with cover art.

I had even posted a question here asking where all the cover art was coming from. Some of my CDs predated the internet.

I guess ignorance is bliss and I just got lucky. Or I am missing something ... Not unusual.


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Old 11-10-2013, 07:49 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

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Originally Posted by bill_de View Post
Unless iTunes stuff is different, I don't understand the need for extra software.

When I found out my Jeep would have no cd player or hdd I started ripping my CDs to my laptop using Windows Media Player. I then dragged them to an sd card. I then used it to copy MP3s, albums and individual songs, onto the same sd card. Even if I only had one song downloaded by an artist, the program created a folder for the artist complete with cover art.

I had even posted a question here asking where all the cover art was coming from. Some of my CDs predated the internet.

I guess ignorance is bliss and I just got lucky. Or I am missing something ... Not unusual.


---
Lol... you're lucky in the sense that you can avoid iTunes. It is truly a terrible bit of software. I could use windows media center to maintain the library AND do the transfers the same as you are, but I would ALSO still need to keep the iTunes library updated to accommodate all our apple products that draw from that library. So rather than maintain two libraries, I begrudgingly use iTunes which does not allow for transferring media to anything other than apple stuff. Hence the need for doubletwist to perform the transfers. Since doubletwist uses the iTunes library it's pretty painless.
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Old 11-10-2013, 07:52 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

Thanks again. Now I'm glad I never got involved with Apple.


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Old 11-10-2013, 07:52 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd3.6 View Post
I've been using MP3Tag for a couple years now. Love it and it's free!

However, my 2012 430N won't display album art (and yes I'm anal and make sure ALL of my MP3s have album art). That sucks. Wish I could find an update for the stupid Gracenote software on the 430N.
I thought I've seen gracenote update files for that system posted on here somewhere? Are they of no use?

Question for you Todd, I've only been monkeying with MP3Tag today. The last time I touched that software was more than 5 years ago. Is there a view in there that shows the album art for each track? The way I was doing it I had to click onto each track to see it's art in the info pane, which kinda sucked.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:36 PM
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Re: Album Art Suggestions

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