Album Art in Squeezebox

This article describes the easiest way to to show cover art on your compatible players such as the Logitech Touch, or SqueezePlay application. The Easysqueezebox preference is to do things in the easiest way that works.

There are three options for displaying artwork in Squeezebox.

  1. Embed the cover art file in each music file. This is the only way to do it if you want a different graphic for each track. Some MP3s come with artwork already embedded, so if you use MP3s with embedded artwork then the easiest way is just to upload the MP3s to your Squeezebox Server, rescan as usual, and the artwork should take care of itself. 
  2. Copy the cover art file to the Album folder, alongside the music tracks. FLAC downloads and rips rarely include embedded cover art, so you'll need to decide whether to embed the graphic or keep it as a separate file. The benefit of embedded cover art is that it remains with the audio when you copy it to a new location or when you convert it to a new format to load onto a portable player. The downside of using embedded cover art is that, if isn't already embedded, it is just a bit more work, as you have to open each music file in a suitable tag editor and add the art work. 
  3. You can also set up a separate folder for cover art, but that involves some reconfiguration of Squeezebox and naming the files accurately so they can be assigned to the right album. Not difficult, but extra effort and so less "Easy" than the other methods described here.

Finding Cover Art

Sometimes cover art is supplied along with a download. If you've ripped from a CD you'll usually need to grab your cover art from your preferred source (Amazon.com, Last.fm, MusicBrainz, lots of others.) There are some tools that do that automatically, but the error rate can be quite high for anything that isn't mainstream music.

If you need to do it manually, search for the image on the Internet, right click and Save as ... somewhere on your hard drive where you can find it again.

Preparing Cover Art

Whether you choose to embed, or keep the cover art file separate, we recommend you use JPG format files. Squeezebox reliably works with JPG files and all other music players like JPG too. Some players work with PNG and even TIFF, but there seems to be no big advantage in using anything other than JPG, which is a de facto standard. 

Almost always a downloaded cover art file will be in JPG format. If it's not (for example if it's a TIFF or a BMP) then use a graphics utility to convert it to jpeg (file extension .jpg). You'll need a graphics software utility to do this. Utilities that you might already have include Paint (Windows), Preview (OS/X) and GIMP (most Linux distros). You can also use tools such as Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw and any of a number of alternatives. Simply load the file into the app, and change it to JPG using the Export or Save as function, depending on your application.

Your file can be of almost any size as long as it's close to square. Probably anything over 1000 x 1000 pixels is overkill, and much smaller files work fine for many displays. If you want to save some space in your library you can reduce the file size using one of the utilities mentioned above. 

Embedding Cover Art

If your files don't already have Art embedded, you can do it yourself. Remember you have to copy the cover art graphic into each individual music file. Embedding works with FLAC, OGG, MP3 and many other formats. AIFF and WAV are not tag-friendly, so don't even try.

To embed cover art, you will need to use a tagging utility that handles artwork - not all of them do. Examples of suitable tagging utilities are Mp3tag (Windows), Metadatics (OS/X), Puddletag (Linux), Kid3 (Linux/Windows/OS/X).

Depending on your app, the approach will vary. Essentially you need to select all the tracks in the album, then drag the cover art into place. Save and exit. 

Now when you upload the files and ask Squeezebox to rescan, the files will be diplayed on all your players that have the cover display capability. To rescan go to Squeezebox Basic Settings in the web interface, look for "Rescan Music Library" and hit "Rescan".

Using a Separate Album Art File

By default, Squeezebox recognizes files with only these names: folder.jpg, cover.jpg, album.jpg, thumb.jpg. So rename your file with one of these names and copy it into the same folder that holds the music files for the album.

If you do this at the same time as you create the album folder and load the music files, then when you rescan, Squeezebox Server will automatically find the artwork and display it in the web interface, and on any players that display cover graphics.

To rescan go to Squeezebox Basic Settings in the web interface, look for "Rescan Music Library" and hit "Rescan".

Problems with Embedded Art

If your embedded art is in place and correct when upload and scan the music files, then this process rarely fails.

However if you load the music without artwork, scan the database and then add the artwork later, then a Squeezebox Server rescan will probably not pick up the cover art, so there will be no artwork displayed. The fix is simple, although it sounds dramatic: when you go to Basic Settings to rescan the Media Library, choose the option "Clear library and rescan everything" and then click the Rescan button. It works almost every time.

Sometime the display shows the wrong artwork! First check that the file you embedded is indeed the correct file for that album, in JPG format, as described above. If not, fix it, then do a complete rescan.

Sometimes if you've made a lot of changes, the SBS index can get a little confused and the correct artwork is not displayed on multiple albums. First try a complete rescan. Go to Basic Settings to rescan the Media Library, choose the option "Clear library and rescan everything" and then click the Rescan button.

Problems with Artwork Provided in a Separate File

If your artwork is not embedded but provided as a separate JPG in the Album folder, troubleshooting can be a little more involved. The suggestions below cover almost all possibilities.

If you load the music without artwork and scan the database, and then add the artwork file later, then a Squeezebox Server rescan will probably not pick up the cover art, so there will be no artwork displayed. The fix is simple, although it sounds dramatic: when you go to Basic Settings to rescan the Media Library, choose the option "Clear library and rescan everything" and then click the Rescan button. It works almost every time.

If a complete rescan doesn't work to display the missing artwork, consider the following:

  • Did you follow the instructions to convert the file to JPG format and then rename it with one of the accepted names, e.g. cover.jpg? Renaming the file without converting it doesn't work. Nor does converting it and leaving it with the original name which could be something along the lines of 31vqqUxOjnL.jpg. Fix it and do a complete clear and rescan.
  • The cover art graphic file may be corrupted. Check if you can read it with another graphics tool? If not, re-do the conversion with a different took or search for a new copy. Then do a complete clear and rescan.
  • Sometimes (but rarely) the music files themselves contain an embedded file that can't be read, or just some random data that isn't a file. To fix this, you need to edit each file with a tag editor that can handle artwork as described above for embedding files. Depending on your app, the approach will vary. If you can see any artefacts in the place where cover art should be, delete all entries. Alternatively, drag the correct cover art into place and overwrite the old stuff. If the app asks if you want to overwrite/delete existing files, say yes. Now you have the tag editor open, you might just want to embed the art for this troublesome album.

If the artwork displayed is the wrong image, first check that the file you placed in the Album folder or embedded is indeed the correct file for that album, in JPG format and with an acceptable name, as described above. If not, fix it, then do a complete rescan.

Sometimes if you've made a lot of changes, the SBS index can get a little confused and the correct artwork is not displayed. First try a complete rescan. Go to Basic Settings to rescan the Media Library, choose the option "Clear library and rescan everything" and then click the Rescan button.

If that doesn't fix the problem then troubleshooting is easier if you remember that SBS looks for album art in the following order:

  1. Embedded art
  2. Art in a specified Artwork Folder
  3. Artwork file within the relevant Album folder

So, check is whether there is an image already embedded in the audio file. Use a tagging application of your choice and check whether artwork is already embedded. If so, the embedded file is what Squeezebox will display. Either delete the embedded artwork to force Squeezebox to use the file in the Album folder, or overwrite the embedded artwork with the artwork you want to use.

Finally, there is a possibility that Squeezebox is looking in an Artwork Folder, which is unlikely, unless you have at some time played around with this feature. In the web interface, Check in Settings / Advanced / Formatting whether an Artwork Folder is specified. If it is, then SBS will look there before it looks in the Album Folder, and if a file matches that will be the one it uses. Simply delete the entry in the Artwork Folder field and/or delete or rename the Folder itself. Then Squeezebox will move on to the Album folder to find the correct artwork.

Footnote for Vortexbox users

Note that if you use Vortexbox, you can fix some artwork problems by clearing the cover art cache. Do this by going to the Vortexbox System Configuration page. In the Logitech Media Server (LMS) panel near the bottom of the page, press the button marked "Clear LMS art cache". Squeezebox will refresh all the displayed artwork, and that will fix some display problems.

By the way, the typo in the instruction "If your having problems ..." has existed for years. If one day we find that the word "your" has been replaced by "you're" many of us would be quite unhappy; the error has been around for so long we have become quite fond of this quirk.

If clearing the cover art cache doesn't work then go to Squeezebox Basic Settings and do a full rescan as described above.

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