Fixing Vanishing Artwork in iTunes 10.2 Update


When we updated our Macs to iTunes 10.2 a few days ago, we noticed that our album artwork seemed to have vanished for a number of our albums when browsing with Alfred’s iTunes Mini Player.

*cue head scratching*

After a dig around, it appears that iTunes has changed the way it references album artwork. Whereas iTunes previously allowed Alfred to see referenced artwork files, it now only allows artwork embedded within the file to be used. This explains why a part of my music collection appeared to have lost its artwork.

Thankfully, it’s fairly straightforward to add the artwork to every track of an album:

  • Open iTunes and pop up the artwork preview pane below the iTunes playlists column on the left
  • For every album where the artwork vanished, first drag the artwork to your desktop
  • Select all tracks from the album in iTunes and “Get info”
  • Drop the artwork from your desktop into the artwork information field. iTunes will then embed the artwork rather than reference it in the iTunes database

How can you tell whether the artwork is embedded or not? The easiest way is to drill into your iTunes music folder using Finder and look at the files in grid/icon view. If the artwork has been embedded into a file using an ID3 tagger or other method, the artwork should show up. If the artwork is referenced the file will have a missing artwork icon, but if you look at the file in iTunes you will see the artwork there.

Can you help?

It’s an easy fix, but one that can be somewhat time consuming for those with large music collections. If anyone has discovered an alternative fix, we’d love to hear it!

A huge thanks to Brian Van Peski for his email about iTunes artwork which put us on the right track to identifying this issue.

8 thoughts on “Fixing Vanishing Artwork in iTunes 10.2 Update

  1. There is apparently a Doug’s Applescript to do this: http://dougscripts.com/413

    I have not tested the script on my computer*, but looking at the code, I don’t see any reason you couldn’t just select all (or a lot of) your library at once and run the script.

    Also, the manual drag-and-drop method should work if you Copy the artwork file (with ⌘C) then (instead of drag-and-drop) click on the Artwork box in the Info window and Paste (⌘V).

    Finally, if you don’t yet have artwork at all for a song, you can also drag-and-drop straight from a browser window.

    *: I also don’t yet have a Powerpack, so I can’t easily reproduce this issue.

  2. Have ya’ll seen “Doug’s AppleScripts for iTunes”?

    I’ve been mass-embedding artwork for years using this: http://dougscripts.com/413

    Hopefully it helps with this issue, I didn’t see my artwork disappear with the update…

  3. You can just right-click the Album Artwork Viewer from iTunes, click Copy, then right-click it again and hit Paste. A lot faster, but only works for single songs (not albums). For Albums, copy the same way, then Get Info (Cmd I) while selecting the entire album and just Paste the artwork there.

  4. This seems like more of a problem now iTunes Match is here. It was all working fine before I switched off iTunes Match, now every file doesn’t show artwork, even if it’s in the artwork tab. Unless of course this is an issue with the latest version of iTunes? (Both happened at once) Any ideas?

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