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  • mtosic
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
So, recently I've discovered MusicBrainz Picard and decided to reorganize my music collection (all in .mp3).
Now, I want to add cover art wherever is possible.

My dilemma is: embed cover art with mp3, or make a folder.jpg in album directory, or maybe even both?
What are pros and cons of each approach?

Does any of software have problems with 1st or 2nd approach?
I'm using Winamp (maybe I'll switch to foobar) and have Ipod Nano.
I'm also considering on building HTPC so how does Windows display folder images (can it read from folder.jpg picture, or even from cover art embedded in mp3)?

  • soulkarver
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #1
Usually when cover art is embedded, each mp3 track on the album gets the cover art embedded in it. Each mp3 file has the same exact duplicate of the image, which is a little redundant. If you have a 12 track album with a 1mb album cover, you will be wasting about 11mb of space for each album. If you put one cover art picture in the album's folder, then you don't have to waste space. Also, if you ever need to update the album art, you only have to update 1 file instead of every mp3.

I know foobar supports getting the album art from a file in the album folder.

  • tpijag
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #2
Yes and if each album cover is 100mb--whoa---what a problem!

I think it is a little disingenuous to suggest that this need be standard usage. Although you may very well use such album art...when op is asking about album art and portable media players in the same sentence I do not think maximum quality of art is a concern.

OP, you need to research the devices you are going to use. What do they support? That is, in my opinion, the primary issue. Many find art- embedded or not - sized as small as 50kb to work out just fine in actual practice.


terry



  • timcupery
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #3
different programs use different display methods.
foobar2000 will display image files in the folder (usually named folder.jpg or cover.jpg) but will also display an image embedded in the file. if both, the image embedded in the file overrides and gets displayed.
Windows Media Player behaves similarly.
I don't know about Winamp at this point.
I think that iTunes either embeds artwork or saves it in one of its big database files (because after all, you wouldn't need it elsewhere, because you'd never, ever, possibly want to switch away from iTunes, right?)
But if you reinstall iTunes it can convert existing album art in the folder.jpg format. Not sure about how to go about it otherwise, but I'm no iTunes expert.
God kills a kitten every time you encode with CBR 320

Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #4
I use both embedded and folder album art.

What:
500×500 px relatively low-quality JPEG images of just the front cover.

Why:
I use foobar2000 to listen to music on my PC and an iPod to listen to it on-the-go.
foobar2000 works very nicely with the Album Art Panel plugin (foo_uie_albumart) to show folder album art, but it doesn’t support embedded album art.
iTunes/iPod work very nicely with embedded album art but don’t support folder album art.

With the size of my collection, the embedded album art does end up taking a not-insignificant chunk of storage space (~30kB/file), but the folder album art, being typically only ~30kB / 10-20 files is not quite as bad so it’s really a no-brainer. If you’re going to use embedded album art you might as well use both.

  • timcupery
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #5
foobar2000 works very nicely with the Album Art Panel plugin (foo_uie_albumart) to show folder album art, but it doesn’t support embedded album art.

foobar2000 will indeed display embedded album art. it doesn't edit embedded jpg files (I use mp3tag to do this) but it displays embedded album art just fine, and if there's a file that has embedded art that's in a folder with its own folder.jpg, the embedded art will override the folder.jpg in foobar2000's display.
This is true at least back to 0.9.5.5, maybe earlier.
God kills a kitten every time you encode with CBR 320

  • rohangc
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #6
I am not very sure of this, but I don't think an iPod will display album art unless it is embedded in the music file itself. I don't know if iTunes recognizes separate 'folder.jpg' files and somehow magically makes them appear in the iPod. What I do know is that it cannot process 'cover.jpg' files, whereas Foobar2000 does that.

  • Maurits
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #7
If you have a 12 track album with a 1mb album cover, you will be wasting about 11mb of space for each album.

Yes, and let's say that someone chooses fairly high quality 500x500 JPGs as album art of 50KB each. Let's say the average album has 15 tracks. That is a whopping 750KB added to a 60MB+ album!
There is a hidden message in the song at approximately 4:32. If played at half speed, Waters can be heard to say, "That was pretty avant-garde, wasn't it?"

  • probedb
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #8
I am not very sure of this, but I don't think an iPod will display album art unless it is embedded in the music file itself. I don't know if iTunes recognizes separate 'folder.jpg' files and somehow magically makes them appear in the iPod. What I do know is that it cannot process 'cover.jpg' files, whereas Foobar2000 does that.


Will it automatically embed these when you add a directory to iTunes with a folder.jpg image in it?

Been wondering this for a while as I've finally started trying to sort out my album art!

Cheers

Paul.

  • garym
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #9
Will it automatically embed these when you add a directory to iTunes with a folder.jpg image in it?

Been wondering this for a while as I've finally started trying to sort out my album art!

Cheers

Paul.


No, Itunes will not do this. Itunes will see embedded art or it uses its own separate database/file system for the album art. But it does not see the folder.jpg in a directory.  This is one reason why I simply embed all my album art in each file. foobar and itunes both see it, most (all?) other players see it, etc.  And the argument that it wastes space doesn't move me, as the incremental space is trivial compared to the storage required for the files themselves.

  • mtosic
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #10
Disk space is really not my problem. Let me rephrase myself.
I think embedding cover art is better (some think it's redundant, but I'm not worrying about little space overhead) because if you move just selected songs from album, iPod would display them correctly.
I'm just worrying, would some players have problem if in music folder exists non-music data, like folder.jpg.

It's not problem to me to do both, embed and put folder.jpg.
But I need to decide before reorganizing my music collection, cause it will save me a lot of time if I do it a proper way (and later not saying to myself:"Stupid,stupid,stupid me )"

  • 2tec
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #11
Personally, I keep large 600x600 art in the album folder and embed smaller cover art in mp3s. I also keep additional art in the folder as I also like seeing the insides and backside of a song's CD.
  • Last Edit: 25 March, 2009, 09:20:08 AM by 2tec
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

  • benski
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #12
Winamp will display album art stored as folder.jpg, cover.jpg, %album%.jpg or embedded in the tag.  If you use the "Get Album Art" feature, it stores it as %album%.jpg. 
(also .jpeg, .png, .gif or .bmp)

  • probedb
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #13
No, Itunes will not do this. Itunes will see embedded art or it uses its own separate database/file system for the album art. But it does not see the folder.jpg in a directory.  This is one reason why I simply embed all my album art in each file. foobar and itunes both see it, most (all?) other players see it, etc.  And the argument that it wastes space doesn't move me, as the incremental space is trivial compared to the storage required for the files themselves.


Bugger. Stupid iTunes. I guess I'll have to embed as well. As you say I think the biggest files I have for album art are less than 50K so not a great addition in terms of overall filesize.

Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #14
I always embed my album art simply because that is the only way for it to show up on all my devices.  I have an iPod, AppleTV, car CD deck, PS3, and a few other devices that support album art with my files but only if it is embedded.  I use 500X500 jpeg images which increase my file sizes (sometimes) by less than 75k.  A small price to play to have album art displayed on all of my devices.  I could see how the folder.jpeg method would come in handy as you could have higher resolution (or less compressed) album art in a single file and just associate all the mp3s (or whatever) with it.  I would use that method if iTunes and everything else I had supported it.

Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #15
In my opinion it's wrong to embed album art. From a data structure view an album art is not a property of a track but a property of an entire album.
Not a track has got a CD cover but an entire album does. Embed it to tracks is redundancy.
If I would store my albums as single ape/flac... files + cue it is correct to embed an album art.
But I store my CDs as individual files in folders and so I only use the folder.jpg as album art.
I use Mediaportal http://www.team-mediaportal.com/ to listen to my albums on my HTPC and it handles folder.jpg just fine. I really do want album art there, because it gets displayed on a big LCD TV.
On my other devices (car radio, mobile devices...) I do not need it an thus do not care about it.

  • Scidd0w
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #16
^^ same here
Also if you use the foobar ipod plugin it automatically transfers the folder.jpg to your ipod. It works and I don't believe it embeds the art to the mp3s. I guess it adds it to the ipod dbase.

Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #17
In my opinion it's wrong to embed album art. From a data structure view an album art is not a property of a track but a property of an entire album.


Tell that to the hardware manufacturers who support only embedded album art.  Although, I can think of one album that has different covers on a per-track basis.  Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts I-IV was released (digitally by Trent) and each track had it's own album art.  Each track had embedded album art as well.  The album art was about 1-1.5MB in size.  I cleared all the individual artwork and just used the main one when embedding for portable use (I looked up a new main artwork as well, one that was less than 50k).  So that is an example of when embedding the artwork isn't redundant.  It also happens to be the only album I can think of that does this.

  • timcupery
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #18
In my opinion it's wrong to embed album art. From a data structure view an album art is not a property of a track but a property of an entire album.
Not a track has got a CD cover but an entire album does. Embed it to tracks is redundancy.

Not a track has got an album name but an entire album does.
Nevertheless, the album-it-came-from IS a property of a single song, and I'm betting you have the %album% field filled in in your tags. By this logic, you could consider album-art-from-the-album-it-came-from to be a property of a single song, similarly shared with other songs from that album the same as the standard %album% field.
So the main argument goes back to the redundancy of having the same image file embedded in multiple audio files, which has been mentioned many times in this thread.

If I ever get an iPod I'd use the foo_dop plugin which can deal with folder.jpg and add that album art to the iPod database. iTunes is annoying on so many levels, although I understand the reasons that people use it.
  • Last Edit: 25 March, 2009, 04:19:37 PM by timcupery
God kills a kitten every time you encode with CBR 320

  • probedb
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #19
Does foo_dop support the iPhone?

  • LANjackal
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #20
The absolute surefire way to ensure your cover art displays is to embed directly in the file.
EAC>1)fb2k>LAME3.99 -V 0 --vbr-new>WMP12 2)MAC-Extra High

  • ExUser
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #21
My paradigm is folder-per-album. As such, I only bother with files of album art. I get album art for free when tagging with foo_discogs. I'd never embed it, as I don't like big chunks of binary data in my tags. This approach works fine with foo_dop and my iPod Video.
  • Last Edit: 25 March, 2009, 08:49:37 PM by Canar

  • docnoq
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #22
I'm having an interesting issue with the Folder.jpg approach. Long ago, in the land before time, I used to use iTunes. I thought it was great that it was able to download album artwork, and I had no idea about embedding or anything else; I just knew it downloaded most of my artwork. I now use foobar and the Album Art Downloader to snag my album art, and I couldn't be happier. However, recently, while transferring my collection to my jump drive, I noticed it was transferring a lot of random files/folders such as AlbumArtwork13$97831 and random crap like that. I selected all the folders on the jump drive and checked the properties, and apparently I somehow had 3900 files even though I only have about 2000 songs and maybe 250 albums, so my max file count should have been something around 2300 in my mind. On top of that, I was unable to find any of the random folders/files it said it was transferring, and have been unable to find them on my computer as well. Now, before I get suggestions like "search hidden files/folders etc." let it be known I have done that.

And so my quest to get rid of all these random files begins. It began by clearing any and all embedded artwork from my files through Mp3tag, and just to be extra safe, I redownloaded iTunes to clear the artwork from my files through there as well. I then had Mp3tag reorganize my collection in a different directory with completely new folders so as to clear any artwork that was somehow still embedded in the folders but not present in the folder or mp3. I then proceeded to start copying my Folder.jpg artwork into the new directory, and noticed Windows is creating invisible files somewhere once I copy the Folder.jpg into the new directory. For example, one album I copied had 13 tracks and the Folder.jpg file for a total of 14 files. If I back out to the root artist folder, it is showing as 15 files with the invisible file taking up about an extra 600kb. I can now remove the Folder.jpg and the root artist folder will retain its picture (if I am viewing it thumbnail style). How do I make Windows stop creating duplicate images for all my albums and hiding them wherever they are?
  • Last Edit: 25 March, 2009, 11:56:10 PM by docnoq

  • jhart71
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Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #23
An alternative to the folder.jpg setup in iTunes is to just embed the artwork into the first track of the album.  It will display the artwork in iTunes for the entire album.  I don't know if it will transfer that functionality to the iPod though.

I actually prefer to embed the album art, but I concede that the folder.jpg setup actually makes more sense.

  • greynol
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  • Global Moderator
Embed cover art vs. putting it in folder
Reply #24
It's a shame that iTunes doesn't support folder.jpg, or at least have some provision to add artwork to its database.

Having iTunes look for artwork for tracks ripped/encoded with other software is a complete joke!
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?