Stump the PC Club is a free tech-advice column written by members of the North Orange County Computer Club, which has been in existence since 1976. Visit the club’s site at noccc.org. And don’t forget to stop by the Gadgetress’ home for the PC Club, at ocregister.com/link/pcclub, to find out how to ask a question and read past answers.
QUESTION: I ripped CDs to my PC and they are all in the WMA format. Many of the CDs ripped brought with them album art which shows when the folder is viewed in Windows Explorer. I downloaded iTunes and it found and converted the music to iTunes format. What’s missing from the conversion is the album art from the CDs that were previously ripped to the PC. Is there any way to convert or get the album art loaded into iTunes music? I’d like to do this before loading music on to an iPod.
PC CLUB: First of all, ripping a CD is another term for extracting the music tracks from the CD onto your PC. Even though the common term is to rip or extract, nothing is removed from the CD. I can’t tell from your question how you ripped your CDs but you most likely used the Windows Media Player (WMP). WMP does download album art as soon as you begin the ripping process. iTunes, on the other hand, does not.
Album art does not reside on the CD but it is obtained by WMP and other programs from an online data base. One of these data bases is the CDDB (Compact Disc Database). Unfortunately, the album art placed on your PC by WMP is in Hidden System files and can’t be accessed unless you’re a computer guru.
For you gurus, here’s how:
This command alters the file attributes for all jpg images in all sub-folders of your Music folder making the album art files visible. You can now copy and paste the images in iTunes as described below. What this implies is that you can download album art with WMP and use it in iTunes.
With iTunes open, you have several choices to obtain the album art. If you click View and select grid, you will see your albums with or without album art.
To add album art, right click an album and select Get Album Artwork. If you don’t have an iTunes Store account, you can’t proceed.
You can set up an account using a credit card and get the album art without having to purchase any songs.
However, there are other alternatives. This time when you right click an album choose Get Info. You will get a warning that you are editing multiple items, ignore this. This warning is telling you that if you add album art using this feature, all songs on the album will have the same art, which is usually what you want. If you wish, you can put iTunes into the list mode and add art to individual songs. This time, right click and select Get Info and select the Artwork tab.
For both of these methods, once you get to the point where you see a rectangle labeled Artwork you can add your art. Here’s one way:
The image you copied and pasted is actually now stored in the song file and will accompany it when it is transferred to your iPod.
Should you wish to change your mind, just right click the album and select Get Info. You will see a blank artwork rectangle on the right. Place a check in the little box and click OK. This tells iTunes to remove the album art allowing you to change your mind. How neat is that? In case it’s not obvious, you can use any image for album art including a picture of your dog – so have fun.
There are other options including third-party software. The best free program is MP3Tag available at mp3tag.de/en and the best commercial program is Software Tuneup available at www.tuneupmedia.com for $19.95. This program is also available in a trial version. ~Ed Schwartz, NOCCC member. View his Web site at www.edwardns.com.