Monday, April 14, 2008

An iTunes Mystery - Solved

Back in November I did a post called An iTunes Mystery - The Case Of The Disappearing Cover Art . I think I can finally say that the case is closed, mystery solved.

I was having problems with artwork disappearing from iTunes, and consequently from my iPod the next time I synced.

I won't bore you again with all the details, but you can read them in the link to the original post above if your not one of my three dedicated readers. The bottom line is that once I unchecked “Automatically download missing album artwork” on the General Tab under Preferences, it stopped happening. Although it was an intermittent problem, it's now been 5 months since I changed it and I haven't lost any artwork.

Now remember, this worked for me on a specific platform (XP Pro/Windows Media Center 2005), and in a specific situation (the disappearing artwork was all added by hand to ripped music when iTunes couldn't find it). This solution also has one obvious drawback. While iTunes purchased music is still downloaded with cover art, once you uncheck the "automatically download missing album artwork" box, music you rip and then import into iTunes won't have cover art. I think this is the lesser of the two evils. I'd rather add cover art once when I import a song, then constantly have to re add random batches of artwork. It was an insidious problem because usually by the time I noticed it I had synced repeatedly and then I'd have to go back through the entire library looking for the newly naked tunes.

I finally decided enough time had passed to give you an update on this one plus I noticed recently that the search keywords that bring the most traffic to my site are variations on "Missing iTunes Artwork". I guess there are quite a few others out there who have shared my misery.

You know, I'm almost afraid to upload this, 'cause I know that as soon as I do...

Nah. Never happen.


Anonymous said...


I have the same problem but unchecking the box for automatically checking for artwork did not work. That was my guess too prior to reading your post but it has been unchecked for months. I wonder whether it has to do with syncing more than one i-pod or the digits that keep showing up in the comments field. Ideas?

berryjooks said...

I don't think it's the multiple iPods. I sync 2 to the same library now, but was only syncing 1 when the problem first appeared.

Good catch on the alphanumerics in the comments field, I hadn't noticed it before.

I went through my library and saw that some of the songs had the weird character string, and some didn't. The affected songs aren't divided along the mp3/aac line (ripped vs. iTunes), but I did notice that some of them were ones that had given me cover art problems in the past.

I did a little googling and found some discussions about people noticing that some of their songs info had been changed, and they all mentioned the strings appearing in the comments section.

Perhaps the complete fix is to also disable "Automatically retrieve CD track names from Internet" in Preferences/Advanced/Importing.