iTunes gives precedence to compilation artwork over song specific artwork

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jtheelen, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. jtheelen macrumors newbie

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    Belgium
    #1
    Hi,

    In iTunes (version 9 and older) I have an issue with song specific artwork not showing in the coverflow when a song is added to a compilation. I often buy one or few songs from an album and put them in a generic compilation called My Library. Songs bought have their own artwork (cover of the 'single' for instance) and I can see the song specific artwork in the Get Info > Artwork tab. The correct artwork is shown most of the time in the cover flow, however for some songs it doesn't (about 20%). What is shown is the cover of one of the other songs in the compilation (always the same song like it is promoted to represent the compilation). I would understand this behavior if the song were without any artwork, but I do not understand this if the artwork is there. I also do not understand why iTunes shows the song specific artwork for 80% of the individual songs in the compilation and not for the other 20%. It makes no sense to me. Please help.

    Thanks.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    If it works like albums, the cover flow art shown is the artwork from the first song in the album. If each track of an album had different artwork, track 1's artwork would be used for the album. Also, if album artist is different, they will be shown as different albums. So, for example, if tracks 1-5 have as Album Artist "Hall & Oates" and tracks 6-12 have as Album Artist "Hall and Oates", then you would see two albums, one with the artwork from track 1 and the other with artwork from track 6.
     
  3. jtheelen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks GGJstudios, you seem to be right! I just checked the songs with the wrong artwork, and indeed, they all share one thing: the field Album Artist was NOT filled in. After changing that, the correct artwork is shown. Thanks, you made my day!
     
  4. jtheelen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Ok, I'm still fine with the solution 'cause now I can see artwork from the right (album) artist appear with each of the (album) artist's songs in the compilation.

    However, in my modest opinion, iTunes is lacking an important feature namely the possibility to group individual songs, not belonging to any album. I have a lot of these 'singles' combined into this compilation (because there is no other option) and the problem now is that the artwork of one of the songs is propagated to be THE artwork for all songs by that same (album) artist. An example: you have Michael Jackson's songs Triller and Bad, both having their own artwork, grouped into one compilation. The album artist is Michael Jackson (RIP) thus both songs appear with EITHER the Triller artwork, OR the Bad artwork. That's euh... Bad. There should be a way in iTunes to decide the priority of the level the artwork is taken from.
    An example:
    1. first show the song's artwork if available,
    2. then show the song's album artwork if available,
    3. then show compilation artwork (you have to be able to choose it yourself),
    4. finally show missing artwork thumbnail.

    Anyway, as said, it is just a modest opinion about something that bothers me in the way I use my iTunes/iPod.

    Bye.
     
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    There are several approaches to dealing with this, as long as you understand how iTunes works. For most of my singles, I don't bother with individual artwork. I also don't want thousands of "albumless" songs cluttering up my Cover Flow. So for most of these "orphans" (songs that aren't part of an album), I make the "Album Artist" for ALL of those songs "Various Artists" with the "Album" tag empty. That way, in Cover Flow, I only see one "cover" (custom made) for all the singles. I can still find all the songs by an artist by the "Artist" field.

    There are times when I DO want a single to stand alone, with its own artwork. For those times, I duplicate the song title as the Album name, with "(Single)" after the Album name. I then change the "Album Artist" to match the "Artist" and add the single's artwork.

    Works perfectly fine for me. I wouldn't want all my singles to be treated like albums, with separate artwork. It would take a week to navigate through Cover Flow, if I did.
    Picture 2.jpg
     
  6. jtheelen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Belgium
    #6
    Hi, thanks again for taking the time to put me on the right track. You gave me some good hints on how to improve my use of iTunes/iPod. Maybe my 'missing feature' isn't missing after all, and even though it WILL work what you wrote (I'm sure, because it makes sense), it does look like a hack not many people are aware of. Or am I just a newbie...?
     
  7. jtheelen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Ok, me again. I hope it is the last time on this thread. I have reorganized my iTunes library following the guidelines set out by GGJstudios in his/her last message and it worked just wonderful. All my singles or orphans have an empty album, do not belong to a compilation (as before) and no artwork either. The album artist for all of them is "Various Artists". One of them has a cover I made myself, and in iTunes, all these songs appear nicely grouped under that one cover now. I was happy as hell, because this was exactly what I had been looking for such a long time. But there is one big issue, and I do not know whether this is a bug, or something I do wrong again. Here it is:

    I'd like to create smart playlists on top of all these singles, one for each year (going all the way back to 1939: Billie Holiday/Stange Fruit). Because all my singles had an empty album tag now, I had to update them all making the filter Album - is - "" (empty). This works fine in iTunes, but on my iPod all smart playlists turn up empty. It seems that my iPod cannot handle this smart playlist filter where the album is set equal to nothing. The solution is to put all these songs in an album after all (simply called "Singles") and to filter on that thus: album = "Singles". This works both in iTunes and on my iPod.

    Eventually, I end up with an album "Singles" with album artist "Various Artists" containing a thousand orphan songs (each having their own song title and artist filled in correctly, but not having any artwork). The artwork of one of these songs is set to something I created myself. That's it. That seems to work as I want it to.
     
  8. jtheelen thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Ok, forget the previous 'solution' because it wasn't one: my cover flow is again cluttered up by many covers representing my singles (instead of just one). So the issue is now: how can I make a smart playlist in iTunes filtering on songs having the album tag set to empty?

    I did a quick test: setting album = "" in a smart playlist works in iTunes (filters ok) but not on my iPod (playlist turns up emty); setting album = "Unknown Album" works on my iPod (filters ok), but not in iTunes (playlist is empty). Go figure... Maybe I have to OR both conditions, one for iTunes and one for my iPod. I hope no artist ever calls his masterpeace "Unknown Album" because I don't even wanna know where those tracks would turn up on my iPod.
     
  9. jtheelen thread starter macrumors newbie

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