How do I add album art to a music file?

Album art refers to the imagery that accompanies a music release, usually displayed on the album cover or related promotional materials. Attaching album art to the actual music files can enhance the listening experience in several ways. Having the artwork easily accessible allows you to visualize the album concept and packaging while enjoying the songs. It helps create a more immersive experience and remind listeners of the album’s creative themes and visual identity. Additionally, album art makes it easier to organize and identify music files, acting like a thumbnail preview of each release. Overall, embedding album art directly into the music files brings extra visual context that complements the listening experience.

Locating Album Art

There are several places you can find album art images to add to your music files:

Directly from the Album

If you have the physical album, you can scan or take a high quality photo of the album cover and save it as an image file like .jpg or .png. This will give you the original album art in good quality.

iTunes Store

Most albums on the iTunes store have album art associated with them. You can search for the album in the store and save the artwork image to use for your files.


Like iTunes, Amazon has album art for most albums available for purchase. Search for the album on Amazon and save the album cover image.

Album Art Databases

There are websites dedicated to housing album cover art images like Album Art Exchange and Discogs. These have high quality images for many albums that you can download.

Google Images

Doing a Google image search for “[album name] album cover” can also turn up album artwork. Be sure to check the image resolution and licensing to make sure you have permission to use it.

Adding Art to MP3 Files

The most direct way to add album art to MP3 files is to embed the image directly in the file’s metadata tag using MP3 tagging software. This permanently adds the artwork to the file itself rather than relying on external programs to associate art with the song.

To embed art within an MP3 file on Windows:

  1. Download an MP3 tagging application like MP3TAG.
  2. Add the MP3 files you want to edit to the program.
  3. Click on a file to open its tag editor.
  4. Go to the Artwork tab and click “Add file” to select your album art image.
  5. Save the changes to write the artwork directly into the file.

This will attach the image to the MP3 so it shows up in any compatible media player. One benefit is that the art travels with the file. If you transfer it to a new computer or device, the artwork will display without needing additional configuration.

Adding Art to iTunes

One of the easiest ways to add album art is directly through the iTunes interface. When you import new music into your iTunes library, you can set iTunes to automatically download album artwork. To enable this, go to iTunes > Preferences > General and check the box for “Download artwork during import.” iTunes will now automatically download artwork for any new music you import.

You can also manually add album art to individual songs or albums already in your iTunes library. To do this, select the album or songs you want to add art to, then right click and select “Get Info.” In the info window, click “Artwork” and then “Add…” to select an image file from your computer to use as cover art. iTunes supports common image formats like .jpg, .png, and .gif. Dragging and dropping image files onto the artwork box works too.

If iTunes can’t automatically find artwork for an album, the artwork box will appear greyed out. Enabling the “Download artwork” setting can help prevent this. If artwork is still missing, try right clicking the greyed out box and selecting “Get Album Artwork” to prompt iTunes to search online for the correct art associated with that album. Some users have also reported success using third party plugins like iTunes Artwork Finder to automatically fetch artwork.

Adding Art in Windows Media Player

One way to add album art is through Windows Media Player (WMP). First, locate the image file you want to use for the album art. This can be a .jpg, .png, or other standard image format. Save the image somewhere easy to access like your Pictures folder.

Next, open WMP and navigate to the album you want to add art to. Right click on the album name and select Properties. In the Properties window, click on the Album tab. Click on the box that says “Retrieve additional information from the Internet” if it is not already checked.

Now click the Advanced tag editor button. A new window will open up. Click on the Album Art tab, then click Import. Navigate to where you saved your image file and select it. The image will now show up in the preview pane.

Click OK to close the advanced tag editor, then click OK again to close the Properties window. The album art should now be added to that album. You can repeat this process for any other albums.

To add art directly within the file info, right click on a track and go to Properties > Album tab. Click “Add…” and select your image file. Click OK and the art will be embedded in the file metadata.

For more details, see this guide: How to Add Album Art in Windows Media Player

Adding Art in Other Players

Here are some tips for adding album art in other popular music players:

In MusicBee, you can add art by going to Tools > Tag Editor and selecting the files you want to add art to. Click the Artwork tab, then click Add Artwork and select the image file you want to use. You can also drag and drop image files onto the Artwork tab.

For Winamp, go to the file you want to add art to and right click > File Info. Go to the Artwork tab and click Add Artwork to select your image file. You can also drag and drop images here.

In MediaMonkey, select the files or albums you want to add art to, then right-click and choose Find Album Artwork. You can also drag and drop image files onto the art area in the bottom-right corner.

These are just a few options for adding album art in common music players. Refer to your player’s documentation for specific instructions tailored to its interface.

Editing Artwork

Once you have added album art to your music files or media players, you may want to edit the artwork further to get the look you desire or reduce the file size. There are a few ways to edit album art:

Use image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, or an online editor to crop, resize, adjust colors, add effects, or touch up the artwork. When resizing, aim for a square image size of 1400×1400 pixels or larger for best quality. Save the artwork as JPG or PNG format.

Use an image compressor like ImageCompressor or TinyPNG to significantly reduce the file size of the artwork without losing quality. This helps keep file sizes small.

For iTunes specifically, you can edit album art right within the application. Just right click on the album and select “Get Info.” Then click the artwork tab, edit the image, and click OK to save changes.

Properly edited album artwork can give a more professional, visually appealing look to your music library while keeping files compact. Taking the time to perfect album art is worth the effort.

Automating Additions

Automating the process of adding album artwork can save a lot of time when dealing with large music libraries. Several tools exist to help batch add artwork and cover art:

The paid software MP3Tag has robust options for automatically downloading or importing album art and embedding it into files. You can auto-tag files based on filenames, folder structures, or online databases like MusicBrainz to populate metadata including artwork. Useful for handling hundreds or thousands of tracks efficiently.

iTunes and Windows Media Player also have built-in options to batch download album covers, though they work exclusively with their own libraries. In iTunes, go to File > Library > Download Album Artwork to automatically fetch covers. Similarly, in WMP go to Library > Download Album Art to retrieve artwork for all recognized albums.

For automation based on filename parsing, MP3Tag scripts can extract album and artist names then fetch covers from sites like Amazon. Custom scripts can be created for advanced workflows.

On mobile, apps like Stamp and Spotiplus batch embed artwork for music collections based on metadata matching. Most focus on Spotify but some support local music libraries.

Overall, leveraging automation can help maintain album art and cover consistency across large media libraries. But manual checking may still be required for 100% accuracy.

Troubleshooting Issues

Album art not displaying properly is a common issue that many users face. Here are some troubleshooting steps to try:

First, make sure the art is embedded in the music file itself. You can check by right-clicking on the file, going to Properties > Details, and looking for Artwork or Album Art tags. If it’s not there, you’ll need to add it to the file directly (see Adding Art to MP3 Files section).

If the art is embedded, try completely closing out of the player app and reopening it. Sometimes the app cache gets corrupted and needs a restart. You can also try deleting the app and reinstalling the latest version.

For iPhones, go to Settings > Music and turn off the “Show Apple Music” option. This forces the Music app to only look at local files. You may need to restart the app after changing this setting. See this Apple forum post for more tips.

If one album is showing the wrong art, select all the songs, Get Info, and delete the incorrect artwork. Then add the proper art and recheck. Album mismatches often happen when files get disorganized.

As a last resort, you can rebuild the player library entirely. In iTunes, go to File > Library > Organize Library. In Windows Media Player, select Organize > Manage Libraries > Rebuild. This will re-index all tracks and refresh the art.


Adding album artwork to your music collection can greatly enhance your listening experience. Being able to see the album covers and art makes browsing your library much more visually appealing. Album art also helps identify songs quickly when scrolling through a large playlist.

The key points covered in this guide were finding artwork online through sources like iTunes or Amazon, editing the files to embed the art within MP3s and common music players, and troubleshooting issues if the art doesn’t show up properly. Each music player handles album art slightly differently, so you may need to experiment to get it working right.

Overall, a music library with proper album art just looks and feels better. The artwork connects you more closely with the albums and artists. It takes some effort to add, but is well worth it for the improved aesthetics and functionality of your digital music collection.

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