Sunday, November 25, 2007

An iTunes Mystery - The Case Of The Disappearing Cover Art.

I’m running iTunes on XP and I’ve got a problem with disappearing cover art. Songs I rip from CD’s and add cover art too mysteriously lose it. I’ll go to sync my iPod and notice track names flash by in the info box (i.e. syncing Boomtown) that I know have been in my library for months and I’ll know right away that it’s happening again.

It’s usually only a handful of songs and it only happens once a month or so, but it’s frustrating because I spend a fair amount of time copying cover art from Amazon or elsewhere and adding it to the tracks.

For a while I thought it was related to a particular version of iTunes and that the next rev I downloaded would clear it up, but it’s dogged me through every upgrade (I’m at now). I haven’t been able to rule out the platform I’m running it on (XP Pro/Media Center 2005) but I think I’ve finally found a pattern and may have figured out what’s going on.

It seems to only happen to ripped songs that aren’t available through the iTunes store, never to ripped tunes that are part of the iTunes catalog and never to iTunes purchased songs.

I noticed that on the General tab of the Preferences box I had “Automatically download missing album artwork” checked. I think iTunes looks at the non purchased songs in my library and says “Hmm, I’ll get you some cover art for that.” then looks through its catalog and doesn’t find any. Somehow in the process it displaces what you’ve put there. I’ve unchecked the box, so we’ll see if I’m right within a couple of weeks.

In the meantime let me know if you’ve experienced anything similar, and if so, how you’ve gotten around it.

Check out the latest update to this post: An iTunes Mystery - Solved for more info.


Anonymous said...

This explains why I'm losing my album art (iTunes
I'm turning off automatic downloads of Album Art right now! :-)

berryjooks said...

Glad to help. It's a really frustrating problem.

Anonymous said...

It's definitely not your OS, because I have had this problem for years ... and I am on a Mac. I still have the problem to this day. Was just going to play a cd I bought & encoded with iTunes in May of 2009 (it's now October). I remember getting a nice image of the cover art and that it was there for a number of months. Today it was gone. I find it happens all the time.

And I am sorry to tell you, it has nothing to do with the auto-download artwork feature either. I tried that crappy thing out once many years back. It went through adding art to bootlegs I own, changing nice crisp large images I have to sucky small ones, and all kinds of crazy stuff. So I deselected that option and never turned it on again. Cut to: years later I still have the problem. And I am fairly certain it preceded the first time I had iTunes downloading artwork.

I have also had for many years a problem where some files automatically add the track number every time you play them... so you end up with files called "03 03 03 03 03 03 03 songName.mp3" but that has MOSTLY stopped. No longer happens to thousands of tracks at once. Now it happens to a dozen at a time.

Good luck figuring it all out! :)

Anonymous said...

After connection to a Sony DMPort all my artwork disappeared, not to return. Any subsequent tracks added with artwork, no problem. Any ideas on how to retrieve the original artwork (which is still in Itunes), short of deletion and re-loading?