iTunes, Album Art, ID3 and Windows 7

One of the beautiful things about Windows 7 is not only the system’s native ability to playback AAC files, but its ability to natively read the MPEG-4 tag data in the files as well. Mind you I still use iTunes exclusively as my jukebox, but when/if I need to do actual file level work on my music, being able to sort it in Explorer by artist, album, song, etc in libraries in Windows 7 makes it much nicer to work with. When it works.

MP3 Data Not Showing Up

Check that your ID3 version is v2.3 or lower. For some odd reason Windows 7 still can’t handle ID3 v2.4. In iTunes you can show the “Kind” column and sort on it to quickly list all of your MP3s, select them all, and then right click on the and select “Convert ID3 Tags…”. Don’t worry, iTunes does the conversion non-destructively so it keeps all of your tag data intact.

AAC Album Art Not Showing Up

If you are having a problem seeing your album art in Windows 7’s Explorer and you use iTunes, you might be having the same problem I did. It appears that if I right click a bunch of songs and say “Get Album Art” iTunes will download the art but not actually put it in the file. I am guessing it keeps it on the disc and then just references it in iTunes. Regardless, what I did to fix it is to use iTunes’ downloading feature, then do the following:

  1. If Album Art isn’t already visible, click the fourth button from the left on the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Make sure the “Selected Item” is showing artwork in the bar. If it says “Now Playing” click the arrow to the left of it to change it to “Selected Item”.
  3. Select the songs you want to download art for, right click and choose “Get Album Artwork”.
  4. Now here’s the trick to get the art working in windows. Doing this an album at a time, highlight all of the songs in the album, right click on the artwork in the lower left window, and select copy. With the songs still highlighted right click on the songs and choose “Clear Downloaded Artwork”. Finally right click back in the artwork window (where it should now say “Drag Artwork Here”) and choose paste.

Doing this I have had a 100% success rate in my album art showing up properly in Windows 7’s Explorer window including (and especially) in libraries and Windows Media Player. Even better, the album artwork now shows up properly in my DLNA players including my PS3.

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