MP3 Song Cover Art Thing

MP3 Song Cover Art Thing (MP3 SCAT… no, that’s horrible… I’ll call it MP3 Friend instead)… MP3 Friend version 0.1 (the 0.1 means I haven’t spent much time working on it) is a little Windows application I knocked up over the weekend in order to turn these:

No Art

into these:

The MP3 Has Art

Firstly, if you don’t know what they are then let me explain that the first image is the image you see in Windows Media Player when the song you’re playing doesn’t have any embedded cover art whereas the second is an example of some album cover art for an MP3.

Secondly, my application does not add the cover art for Bert Kaempfert’s A Swingin’ Safari to every song without art because that way lies madness.

Here was my issue: I had a lot of MP3s and a great many of them didn’t have any cover art. It was unpleasing to my eyes. So… I had a look online for a utility that would get the cover art automatically for MP3s. I was quickly disappointed. And that’s why I whipped up my own.

The application makes use of the excellent UltraID3Lib.dll to scan and update the MP3s and uses the rather lovely Last.fm API in order to try to work out what cover art to grab.

Here’s what my little MP3 Friend does…

  • adds cover art to your MP3s based on the files’ artist and album or track title tags
  • allows you to delete cover art from one or more MP3s at a time
  • allows you to edit the artist, track, or album text for one or more MP3s at a time
  • works on Windows 7 and Vista (because I checked) and it probably works on XP with .Net 3.5 installed too (but who knows?)

And here’s what my little MP3 Friend does not do…

  • guarantee any accuracy of results returned (the first, best match is applied, and it’s pretty good most of the time but it’s not always right because it’s nearly wholly reliant on Last.fm supplying correctly-weighted search results)
  • work 100% of the time (expect the odd exception raised with badly formed MP3 tags; I might address them in version 0.2 if you’re lucky) or utilise worker threads to slickify (it’s a word) things
  • look attractive (damnit Jim I’m a developer not an artist)
  • work very fast (there’s a reason for this: I deliberately throttle the requests to Last.fm so as not to abuse their service)

Here’s how to use MP3 Friend:

1. Install it from here – setup.exe – and ignore any warnings about it being unsigned (I didn’t sign it) or it being perhaps untrustworthy (I have an honest face).

2. Pick a folder and choose whether to scan subfolders, look only for MP3s with no cover art, or music files with no album details.

3. Click ‘Scan’, sit back, and the program will come back after a while with a list of MP3s along with some information for each. Click on any song with a ‘Yes’ in the cover art column to see the cover art displayed in the top right.

4. If you want to find cover art… select the files you’re interested in (click on a file to select it, hold down control and click on a second file to select that too, and/or hold down shift and click on a file to select a range of files) and then press the ‘Get Cover Art’ button. MP3 Friend will then try to find each song based on the artist and album name first; if it can’t find that it will then look for the artist and track name. If there are two or more identical artist/album combinations in your list of files then the program is smart enough to only look once and then apply the same cover art to all similar files without looking up again. If cover art is found you’ll see the cover art column change to ‘Yes’. This process may take some time if you select a lot of files. Again: MP3 Friend deliberately throttles requests to Last.fm. It is deliberately slow. It’s still faster than doing it yourself.

5. If you want to delete cover art… select files as in step 4 and then press the ‘Delete Cover Art’ button. Couldn’t be simpler.

6. If you want to edit the artist, album, or track for a song… double click on the artist, album, or track and you can edit it.

7. If you want to edit the artist, album, or track for more than one song at once (e.g. you want to change all your songs apparently by the Beesty Boys to the Beastie Boys)… select the files as in step 4 but, with the final click while still holding down the control or shift key simply double click the artist, album, or track. You should see all the files you selected are still highlighted and once you finish your edit all the files will have the change applied to them.

8. If you want to know why one of the buttons on the screen is disabled then it’s because there’s unfinished functionality behind it that might be visible in the next release.

Finally:

  • you use this program at your own risk so if you accidentally delete the cover art from your precious collection of Backstreet Boys MP3s the very last place you’ll want to complain about it will be here
  • it was an afternoon’s playing about so it’s unfinished but I’m nice enough to let you play with it too since I don’t know when I’ll get around to tidying it up and adding some new features
  • it was written using Microsoft C# Express (which is free should you wish to play around with it), the aforementioned UltraID3Lib.dll (which is free should you wish to play around with it), and the also aforementioned Last.fm API (which is free should you wish to play around with it) – can you spot a pattern?
  • it’s free because the spirit of John Inman haunts the code

If you like it then great. If you don’t like it then great but slightly less so.

Author: Mark

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5 Comments

  1. Cool. I’ve been looking for something like this for ages. It works on xp too just so you know. Thanks.

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  2. That was actually pretty useful but I’m intrigued by the disabled button. What does it do? I must know otherwise I’ll harumph a little.

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  3. Your link to your setup file no longer works. Even your link on software.informer no longer works.
    This was a great little program… possibly the best for automating embedded artwork in mp3’s.
    Too bad it won’t install anymore 🙁

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    • Yeah, I moved hosting and didn’t bring everything along. However, I’ve added that back in now. Tested it. Seems to still work.

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