Artwork in the New iPod Landscape

iPod Nano 3rd-Gen

Been a bit lax in tagging your music with artwork? Well if you get a new iPod, you are going to notice just how important artwork is to the interface. The Nano and Classic interface has advanced astonishingly and features artwork on the righthand side of the screen in menu mode and thumbnails in list views. The Touch will use artwork even more strikingly, filling most of the screen with a cover in portrait mode. And it should be obvious how critical artwork is to CoverFlow, now standard on three of the four iPod models.

It’s not like you don’t have options. The easiest is to update to the latest version of iTunes (which you really should do often) and check the option Automatically download missing album artwork in the General tab of the Preferences. When you import a CD, iTunes will try to find a match in the iTunes Store and will automatically download it. You can do the same thing for CDs you’ve already ripped by clicking one of the tracks and selecting “Get Album Artwork”.

I’ve covered the subject of artwork before. It’s near and dear to my heart. I don’t want to see these new iPods with missing artwork because you will be missing out on the full experience as these iPods are more visual than ever before.

*PS: Get some high-quality artwork from my own site, The interface is crude (folder listings) but the artwork is good. My standard is 1000 x 1000 pixels, 100% JPEG quality, colour-corrected. A lot of the artwork is currently at this standard. I’m always adding new covers and upgrading older ones, so you’ll find some useful stuff.


6 Responses to Artwork in the New iPod Landscape

  1. tunegardener says:

    The new iPods don’t have that album art view. I guess Apple thought that the flowing artwork in the menu view and the larger artwork on the Now Playing screen was enough. I don’t mind. Of course, if you’re serious about album art, you should have an iPhone or Touch. That’s the real showcase.

  2. donnie hoffman says:

    How the hell do you get the new ipod to display the album art work on THE FULL SCREEN?!! the flow stuff is OK, but the 5th gen could show ONLY the album cover -larger than the 6th gen -What the f is wrong with Apple?!!

    • donnie hoffman says:

      You took the words out of my mouth, But I think I said them 15 minutes earlier. Funny. We have the same name and iPod anger.

      Also, how about a hi-fi iPod with a high quality analogue section and better D/A converters? -Worth an extra $100-$200 to me.

      -another donnie hoffman

  3. yashin says:

    earthmanxosharosp, I can appreciate your frustration, but remember, Apple didn’t sell you the CD, I’d argue that making a digital copy of the album artwork available is the responsibility of the record label itself. Maybe they should be bundled on the CD?

    I’ve rarely used the automatically download missing album artwork, it only really works for high-profile artists and new releases on iTMS.

    Besides, I enjoy the thrill of the hunt – can anyone find me a high res scan of Big Star’s #1 Record and Radio City? My CD has a horrible composite cover and I can’t fit the LP sleeves in my scanner.

  4. tunegardener says:

    True. My article has been couched in terms that would appeal to a mainstreamer. I view this as a service that Apple provides. After all, they’re not making money from providing album art, because you’ve obviously got the music from somewhere else. I do concede the integration aspect that keeps the attention focussed on iTunes.

    Personally, I’m a diehard scanner. I’ll scan everything because I just don’t trust any other source as to image size, colour fidelity or especially levels of compression. If I don’t have a physical cover to scan, I scour the web for either a cover, or if one doesn’t exist, I’ll make something up from the best web elements I can muster. So even the anally retentive like myself are catered for because we can assign any artwork we like, of any design, at any size or level of compression. It all comes down to how much effort you are prepared to put in, and for the mainstreamer unwilling to devote much, the iTunes artwork system is a good one.

  5. …Lets try looking at this from a slightly different perspective, though. Any artist too small or too “indie” to deal with iTunes is f*cked, ’cause their albums, and thus, art, won’t be on the iTunes system, and won’t display art. Anyone getting their music, especially one-offs, (regardless of legitimacy) from anyone but iTunes is equally boned, ’cause it doesn’t come with album art loaded in, and iTunes won’t auto-fetch art for single tracks not imported from CD’s. You have to use the dramatically less reliable “Find Missing Artwork”. Special editions of CDs are hooped, that art’s not in the system, either. Finally, personal remixes are totally out of luck – they rarely even come on CD’s to start with, and have no art of their own, at all.

    By making a technology that relies on near-exclusive use of their offerings, they’re becoming increasingly exclusive to anyone who hodgepodges their approach to getting music. It’s just another trap of a way to pull you further and further into Them Exclusively. It’s a sweet idea, I’ve spent hours tracking down art for CD’s unsupported by iTunes, but there’s more to it than providing us users with pretty pictures and engaging ways of navigating our music.

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