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Album art / cover art search strategy


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Looking for views on the best way or the best sites to find album artwork. The following are desireable:

 

- maximum resolution/quality (i.e ideally better than the usual 400x400 stuff that is available)

- multiple covers (the more the better, e.g. front, back, cd, booklet scans, etc)

- obsure/rare/old albums covers

 

 

My current cover search strategy, in this order:

 

1. http://www.mega-search.net/index.php

 

This site metasearches all the "proper" cover sites including over 450 cover sites such as allcdcovers.com, coverparadise.to, covertarget.com, coverlandia.org, maxcaratulas.net, cdcoverz.com, covercentury.nl, etc etc

 

2. http://www.discogs.com/explore

 

Discogs has a wide selection though resolution of scans is generally lower than the above sites. Often they have scans of the back, booklets, etc.

 

3. http://www.amazon.com/

 

The Amazon sites allow users to submit their own scans of artwork for albums. Images are generally lower resolution, though often you can find scans of rear covers that are not found elsewhere.

 

4. Google image search

The obvious step, sometimes brings up unexpected hits.

 

5. Ebay

Ebay is often a source of images when CDs are being sold and the seller has scanned in covers. Generally only the front cover is available, but sometimes more.

 

6. General google search

The default!

 

 

So does anyone know of better methods or sites?

 

Thanks!

 

There are 2 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.

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Hi extracampine,

 

I see you are using XXHighEnd. You might try the Amazon access from within your Library Area to obtain the largest sized pictures from all the Amazon sites. Notice though that at this moment I don't even know whether it is still working, because Amazon tends to change the procedures regularly.

 

Anyway if it works and if it works out for you, you can instantly save the images in your music folders. Along with Reviews and all further available data btw.

 

But if you have the albums yourself, my advice would be to just scan it all.

 

 

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I have discovered that I can retrieve high-resolution iTunes cover art through Apple's website without having to open iTunes itself.

 

For example, search for "iTunes Rolling Stones Some Girls" in Google, and select the resulting link starting with "itunes.apple.com." This should take you to a page with the track list and a small picture of the album art.

 

Right-click on the small picture and select "Copy Image Address." Paste that address into your browser. It should be something like:

 

http://a1.mzstatic.com/us/r1000/112/Music/1c/b3/85/mzi.enzanqec.170x170-75.jpg

 

Then you only need change the "170x170" to "600x600."

 

http://a1.mzstatic.com/us/r1000/112/Music/1c/b3/85/mzi.enzanqec.600x600-75.jpg

 

Hit enter and it should take you straight to the high-res cover art, which you can save and use however you please.

 

somegirlsdeluxe.jpg

 

 

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If you are not going to Album Art Exchange for your art you are missing out. About 180,000 covers the majority of which are very high quality. I use All CD Covers as my #1 back up and about six other sites as needed. The best place for current MoFi covers is Music Direct who post 750 x 750 images.

 

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open."
Frank Zappa
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I'm not familiar with many of the sites listed above (but will check them out!),

but I know seekacover.com usually has alternate cover art, and it sounds like you want that.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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Hello, I run a site called Album Art Exchange (http://www.albumartexchange.com/) and am a bit dismayed at our exclusion from this list and your search workflow. After all, it would have been the #2 result when you typed "album art" into Google.

 

We were started 4 years ago as an alternative to the low quality which iTunes was pumping out as album art and the heavily compressed 500x500 images that Amazon had (and still does) as well as the garbage posted as album art on many of the other sites. We are up to almost 190,000 covers now nearly all of which are very high quality and the majority are user scanned and submitted. They are all a minimum resolution of 600x with most also available at much higher resolutions. Quality and resolution are not enough though and we also focus on accuracy.

 

I say this not because it is my site but: you will not find better artwork at ANY other album art web site and especially not any that you have listed here as your workflow. You don't have to believe me though, pick an album and compare images of it from AAE to any of these other sites. Not being one of "those sites" is exactly our reason for existence and our success! Pardon my hubris but seriously, take a look.

 

Google Images: You should that neither AAE or ACDC (AllCDCovers, the only other legit album art site, IMO) allow bots into their image so you will not see those images there.

 

Album Art Downloader: For various reasons, Album Art Downloader does not have access to my AAE, ACDC or several other sites. Use this and you are missing out on the good stuff.

 

Amazon: You can upload your finest quality image and their back end will compress it by a factor of .5 and shrink it to 500x500. I know, I have several on there.

 

mega-search.net: I'm sorry but, Seriously? I just checked it out again for the first time in a long while and AVG was going bonkers at the pop-ups. Many of these sites it checks lift their content from ACDC. 450 other sites,I don't think so... I'd bet $450 that there aren't even a quarter of that number of album art sites out there. Believe me, as a site owner, I look several times a month at what is out there.

 

CD images: We were just talking about this in our forums the other day. What legitimate use is there for an image of the CD? The only thing that I can think of is printing counterfeit CDs so, we do not have any of these.

 

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Thanks for all the comments. However, they have not led me to change my search strategy.

 

drystream: albumart.org just seems to link to images on Amazon, therecordroom.com has a very small selection and the images are also small, progarchives tends to have small images of front cover only (and limited to prog) and rateyourmusic.com, though the best of the sites you list, rarely has anything other than front cover album art.

 

new_media: Interesting, though again limited to front cover album art I think.

 

scottrobb, Daren F & mwheelerk: you all mention albumartexchange.com. I had, in fact, come across this site before. However, I have found albumartexchange to be rather limited in the covers it has.

 

scottrobb: I would beg to differ; I am sure that your site does have a good selection, but using megasearch.com consistently found hits that were not on your site. Megasearch and associated sites do have some popups, though nothing that Firefox cannot deal with and a small price to pay for the wealth of covers. And they are not all from AllCDCovers.com, I use that too.

 

As an example, the last few albums in my list that I have just gone through to upgrade my album art:

 

1. Syndromeda - Alien Abduction: full covers on megasearch, but not on albumartexchange (AAE)

2. System 7 - 777: covers on discogs but not AAE

3. System 7 - Phonenix: as above

4. Talib Kweli - Quality: one image of front cover on AAE, full scans on megasearch

5. Talib Kweli - Eardrum: front cover only on AAE, full covers on megasearch

6. Tangerine Dream - Mota Atma: one front image only on AAE, full cover scans on megasearch

7. Tangle Edge - Eulogy: highest res front cover found through google

8. Tara Putra - Groom Mountains: front cover only, on discogs

9. Taruna - World Fusion: not on AAE, full scans on discogs

 

......getting the picture? Any more input welcomed!

 

There are 2 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.

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Fair enough. We're still pretty young and the rate at which we receive covers increases every month. We WILL have 'em, eventually :-)

I am encouraged by this because I am always wondering if there will be a saturation point where we have pretty much everything. It looks like that day is a long way off!

 

If I may ask, what is your interest in having all parts of the cover? That is to say, what do you utilize them for? The only utility I have uncovered in other parts of the album cover are for the back covers and in that case, only in cataloging programs like Music Collector by Collectorz.

 

We have an ongoing poll and about 50% of the respondents indicate an interest in back covers so, we are certainly open to them. My only gripe with them is having text in the JPEG format isn't always as readable as say, GIF is for text.

 

You're right though, the front covers are what we primarily focus on and I hope you found that ours are of a very high quality. I hope that you'll visit us again in the future and that we have what you are looking for.

 

Cheers,

Scott

 

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Amazon is the only site I've found that consistently has at least 50% of the album covers I need (primarily classical and jazz). Google Images is my fallback.

 

 

John Walker - IT Executive

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Thanks for your feedback re seek-a-cover vs. your album art exchange.

 

Perhaps you didn't notice that two posters mentioned your website prior to your "dismayed-I-wasn't-mentioned" post!

 

Anyway, I'll be checking it out, sounds good.

 

Rascal

 

A: Mac Mini => Peachtree Nova => LFD Integrated Zero Mk.III => Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 | Musical Fidelity X-CAN V-8 => AKG K 701

B: Airport Express = > Benchmark DAC1 => Rega Brio-R => B&W DM 601 S2

C: Airport Express => AudioEngine A2

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scottrobb: I think that the album art has always been part of the complete package. Buying a new CD/LP/etc, looking at the cover art and reading the liner notes is part of the experience. If using a digital player, that side of things needs to be kept somehow otherwise part of the experience is lost. This is one of the reasons that a lot of people prefer to have a physical medium. It's nice to browse the booklet while listening to the music, or even just reading the credits.

 

In my current player (Foobar)I have it automatically show front and rear album covers when an album is selected, with a window where all the scans in the directory are shown also (thanks to marc on the foobar forums).

 

:)

 

There are 2 types of people in this world - those who understand binary and those who don't.

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I often like to review the CD booklet/liner notes when listening, even for recordings that I have owned for years. I don't expect to find such things online so I have begun the tedious process of manually scanning these using my own flatbed scanner.

 

I suppose that would be another, last resort alternative to add to the workflow: get a scanner and scan the album art yourself!

 

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I vote this too. I've been using them for about a year and no other source comes close. Plus they'll have back cover shots at times or more say on something like Santana Lotus which is full of inserts. AT SOME POINT SOMEONE WILL DO FULL SCAN'S OF ALL ALBUM INFO SO YOU HAVE INSERTS, SLIPCOVER, ALBUM LABEL ETC. A few years back I tried to get funding to start an archive of all this because 1)way cool, 2)its a history unto itself. No luck whatsoever doing this. It's only a matter of time before full high-res imaging is available online of anything from artwork, a home appliance you're going to buy or a Ferrari you can't afford but would like to look at the engine bay and spin it around from every angle just like it was your very own. Why not be able to look at Cream's Wheel's of Fire and open up the gate-fold and check out the silvery lusciousness of it all?

 

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  • 4 months later...

Hi extracampine -

 

After years of searching this issue and dealing with many manual solutions, I came across an automatic album cover art software called Bliss (http://www.blisshq.com). This software is quite simply amazing. You can define a very flexible and extensive set of rules for album art lookup, photo quality of the artwork, search source ordering, and just about anything else related to album art. It can automatically scan and update your entire music collection for album art updates automatically or manually. This software has saved me countless hours of album art look-ups, downloads, adjustments, etc. I have a large collection of FLAC albums (about 600 now) and managing the album art can prove to a very difficult task for a large collection.

 

Bliss is from a UK company and they issue periodic updates to their product and have a very active user community forum and actually incorporate fixes from the user's issues. It's not perfect but automatically tags most all of my collection, and for the balance I can manually use Bliss one album at a time and generally correct the remainder. I use Bliss together with MP3TAG Universal Tag Editor software and both work great for both MP3s and FLAC sources.

 

My strategy:

 

1. Run MP3TAG on my album directory for newly updated albums to adjust all tags to be totally correct for the album(s). MP3TAG can update album art and it's a good backup for Bliss but not fully automated.

 

2. Run Bliss in the background on my entire library after I have updated my collection. Bliss can handle MP3 tagging as well, but I find MP3TAG more accurate. Bliss will work better if your source material is properly tagged with the right MP3 tags first.

 

Hope this helps.

Cheers - John

 

 

 

 

 

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john4sd on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Photobucket. Computers, Software, Photography, Music, Sudoku, XDA, FLAC and DAC enthusiast, PC NB audiophile. emails & comments welcome :)

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  • 4 years later...

The best way to get cover art is to do a google search for the artists name and album, and use the large filter (unless you want a smaller pic). Its not the fastest way to get artwork, but its the most thorough, by far.

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The best way to get cover art is to do a google search for the artists name and album, and use the large filter (unless you want a smaller pic). Its not the fastest way to get artwork, but its the most thorough, by far.

 

Basically yes, most thorough method, but I've seen the "large" filter sometimes eliminate actual large cover images.

 

Instead, I search for all sizes and just have Google Image Search show the sizes of all the images in the results, displayed below each image, and then I just look for ones 1000x1000 or larger.

 

Dave, who also finds the application Graphic Converter on the Mac invaluable for cover tweaks such as making the image a square and altering color balance and brightness and saturation and contrast

 

P.S. In most cases I reduce cover images to 1000x1000 with 576dpi or 600dpi resolution which works perfectly with either the Aurender app or Audirvana Plus app on the iPad.

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Music is love, made audible.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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Basically yes, most thorough method, but I've seen the "large" filter sometimes eliminate actual large cover images.

 

Instead, I search for all sizes and just have Google Image Search show the sizes of all the images in the results, displayed below each image, and then I just look for ones 1000x1000 or larger.

 

Dave, who also finds the application Graphic Converter on the Mac invaluable for cover tweaks such as making the image a square and altering color balance and brightness and saturation and contrast

 

P.S. In most cases I reduce cover images to 1000x1000 with 576dpi or 600dpi resolution which works perfectly with either the Aurender app or Audirvana Plus app on the iPad.

 

 

You're right about that. Usually with the large filter on, there's plenty of choices. If not, you can turn the filter off and usually get what you need. The large filter just makes it faster to find what you want.

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