WMP Album Art – Viewing and Correcting local files

Periodically I attempt to update my ripped
music’s album art using various online music sources. I’ve lived
with some albums so long that I can identify them from a glimpse of the cover
art, much faster than I can read off the album names. Unfortunately there isn’t
any way to simply grab this single item from the Windowsmedia.com servers: that’s
an all-or-nothing process.

Let’s walk through one such case. I
have an album of Beethoven’s 7th
and 8th Symphonies
recorded by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Claudio Abbado
on the Deutsche Grammophon
label. At some point WMP has downloaded its own album art for these tracks, unfortunately it’s some for some garish-covered
recording of “Beethoven with
Ocean Sounds
”, which apparently has the Ode to Joy and Moonlight
Sonata
. I don’t know what it is with Windowsmedia,
but they seem to love associating albums of massage music with classical
artists.

Now it seems that with WMP10, not only are AlbumArt files hidden/system
files, but they are now protected operating
system files
. So in order to see them in your music folder, you’ll
have to go to Explorer’s Tools menu, then

Folder Options > View >
[ ] Hide protected operating system
files,

and uncheck it. Now you’ll get to see about 6 new files in the
folder: desktop.ini, thumbs.db, folder.jpg and 3 AlbumArt jpg files
of different resolutions. I delete all of these and will now replace folder.jpg with a
new, correct piece of Album Art. ( That’s all
Windows needs to have present in a folder to override its choice of thumbnail
for the folder. You can also right-click on the folder background, choose Customize
Folder… and make another choice, without having to use a local image or
having to rename a file.)

Interestingly, if I view Album Info for
this album now it shows the correct artwork, but unfortunately all of the track
data is missing (this is AMGClassical, not
user-uploaded data). So if I were to follow the Album wizard through to
completion, I would lose all of my local track data. There’s also no easy
way for me to transfer the local data to the Album wizard – I would have
to individually cut and paste 8 tracks x 3 fields = 24 items just for this one
CD. Oh, and because the Album Wizard doesn’t properly handle other fields
I have locally, like Release Date, Label etc, I would have to retain all that
information and re-enter it manually. It would also reset any user ratings and
the album acquired data etc etc. Not friendly at all,
and most of it not suspected.

Now I can’t just right-click the
Album art shown in the Album Wizard and save it locally. I’m going to try
clicking the Buy
CDs
link, in the hope that it will take me to a webpage with an accessible
album thumbnail…. Well it does take me to a Windowsmedia.com page, but it’s
essentially a blank template page, with field labels and no data. I click F5,
and get another page with is a Server
Error 500
. Clicking F5 just continues to toggle me between these two
states. OK no joy, so I’m going to on over to Amazon. There I find the album, and copy
the album
art
to my folder as folder.jpg. If you want to
bypass the File Save As dialog, you can drag the image from the webpage into
your folder and then simply rename it.

Couldn’t this have been easier?

14 thoughts on “WMP Album Art – Viewing and Correcting local files”

  1. What I would like to know is how you can manually link album art to the album.

    What if you original music and original art? Windowsmediaservices is not going to find it in the first place.

    I have several tracks that just show the default WMP art. I have the album art and have placed it in the folder named Folder.jpg. Well the folder art in XP comes up just fine, but in WMP10 the Album art for the Media Information is still the default WMP10 art.

    And on another issue I want my tracks to work in Energy Bliss, which also shows the album art in its visualization.

    Any one know just where these settings are kept so they can be manually edited or changed?

  2. Questions are best directed to the microsoft.public.windowsmedia.player newsgroup

    You can’t manually link art to an album. You can link it to individual tracks. You can use the Advanced Tag Editor to add the art directly to the media file. Selecting all tracks in an album before invoking the ATE allows you to bulk-update tracks. This appears to override any external image files.

    You will probably find that WMP won’t update its display of the file after album-art changes until you restart it or force it to reload the files. This is true even after using the WMP album lookup features.

  3. Yes I have browsed that newsgroup. There is not much on what I was looking for mainly break/fix issues or burn/rip issues.

    Be nice to know how the AlbumArt_Large.jpg and AlbumArt_Small.jpg are created and how they get associated to a track in WMP.

    Embedding the art in the tag may solve some issues but I want the album art to show in Energy Bliss also and embedding it in the tag doesnt work. You need the _Large and _Small.jpg files. Just putting them in the folder doesnt work either. They need to be associated to work. Grrrr!

    Would be nice to know what they plan to do about fixing or updating album art issues in the next revision of WMP.

  4. My point was to *ask* questions there so more people can read the issues. There have been a good few album art posts on the windowsmedia newsgroups.

    AlbumArt_Large and Small are an artefact of earlier versions of WMP. Now they incorporate a unique ID in the file name, such as I talk about in the follow-up posts to this one. That ID is for the Widnowsmedia database only, so creating your own won’t do anyone much good.

    The library issues have gotten worse rather than better in this version of WMP10 so it’s anybody’s guess what mischief will be shipped next time. In Windows Longhorn, there is a good chance the library will be built into the Windows shell, which could mean an almighty ****-up for all concerned.

    over and out.

  5. To be honest this is the best resource I have found so far. And I got the link to here from the NG.

    And I posted a guide of sorts on what I have encountered in my dealings with WMP10 and how it handles album art for the lurkers out there.

    Like you said earlier…Couldn’t they have made this easier?

    As for the Windowsmedia database, there is no money to be made there for MS so why invest resources in what has become a sore spot, and generates Zero revenue?

  6. According to Zach’s FAQ (http://nwlink.com/~zachd/pss/pss.html):

    "The WMP10 Energy Bliss visualization shows Album Art (http://www.zachd.com/pss/pss.html#albumart) only if the art is in a separate file and only if it is assigned the name "Folder.jpg" or "AlbumArtSmall.jpg". It will also display album art assigned filename "AlbumArt_WMID_Large.jpg" or "AlbumArt_WMID_Small.jpg", but since the average user doesn’t understand how to get the WMID, we’ll ignore that. You’ll get WMID Album Art for the file if you use "Find Album Info" on the track within the library."

    >As for the Windowsmedia database, there is no money to be made there for MS so why invest resources in what has become a sore spot, and generates Zero revenue?

    It could probably generate income if handled properly, or they could choose to have an open protocol that allows attachment to other databases like CDDB.

    The real issue for Microsoft is investing in the Windows platform to keep it relevant to consumers and partners. As other platform options nibble into the food-chain it gets easier for users to say "I really don’t need Windows". So, Windowsmedia: 1) provides Windows components and services to reinforce the core revenues.; and 2) provides an entry point to the living-rooms of the world via personal media devices, Windows Media Center Edition boxes etc to generate new revenue streams.

    As a "line of pleasure" (you can quote me) service, WM database needs to keep going at least until it can find another way to demo the benefits of Windows in this space. If your Windows machine is going to be the intelligent nexus of a bunch of devices passing around poorly tagged media files, then it needs to keep on top of the data resource. That’s not something that Microsoft has shown itself to be good at historically, despite increasing demands *within* the company for well-managed sources of real-world data (the GEO unit being an exception). No group wants to fund a cost-centre like that, although many of them seem to happy to carry on in crisis mode spending $$$ making the same mistakes again and again.

  7. microsoft.public.windowsmedia.player

    "The WMP10 Energy Bliss visualization shows Album Art only if the art is in a separate file and only if it is assigned the name "Folder.jpg" or "AlbumArtSmall.jpg".

    This is not true. Folder.jpg does not work. 🙁

  8. Guys, I used to be a WMP devotee because everyone says wma is a superior format than mp3. Well, that gave me a headache when I was looking for a player that plays wma also. Then there is the chaging wma codec standard, makes wonder if my early adotiopn (hence the earlier format) was going to become obsolete. Then this was the biggest enlightment… I can’t even tell any difference!!! I mean, for the average listener, what difference is there if mp3 is a "looser formate" as many articles writes? Still, I held on to wma for sometime because of its more robust tag feature… that is until the incarnation of ID3 v2.4. I’ve recently migrated all my backup files from wma to mp3 with ID3 2.1, 2.3, and 2.4. This time, I took the time to do it right, even with scanning my own art covers. ID3 2.4 even surpasses wma tag. Now I can enter all the musicians on my classical collection and the instruments each musician plays! It won’t be before long that softwares and machines recognizing v2.4 becomes popular. What does this have to do with WMP and album art? Well, simply put, you no longer have to deal with another thing that Microsoft is trying to do to befuddle users into conforming to its methodology and, as demonstrated above, often annoyance. Of course, you should have a good MP3 ripper; but after that, you will be on your way to build a good, clean, library!

  9. Just in case anyone is still listening to this thread, the above worked great for the .mp3 files without album art, but the .wma files remain artless. any ideas on how to update those as well?

    Thanks,
    LaVerne

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