How to Get iTunes to Embed Album Art in Metadata

Written by robert caldwell
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How to Get iTunes to Embed Album Art in Metadata
Including artwork in song metadata enhances the browsing experience on an iPod. (sing or not? image by Christophe Schmid from

Artwork is included in song metadata for songs purchased in iTunes, but is often absent for songs ripped from CDs. Metadata, according to, is additional information about a file that is not given in the file name itself. This can include information about the song author, album name and audio quality of the file. Including artwork in this metadata enhances the listening experience when using an mp3 player or software that displays album art. It can make it easier to visually search for the song you want. It is easy in iTunes to embed album art in the metadata.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer running iTunes
  • Internet connection

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  1. 1

    Open up iTunes on your computer. Go to the "advanced" menu at the top of the iTunes window and choose "get album artwork." iTunes will search the Internet for album artwork for all your audio files. There may be songs for which iTunes cannot locate artwork.

  2. 2

    Test songs to see if they have embedded artwork associated with them. Choose a song and double-click it to begin playing it. In the bottom left-hand corner of iTunes, you should see a "now playing" window with the album artwork featured. If this window is not displayed, click the upward pointing arrow to display the album artwork and video window. If the window is blank, no artwork exists in the song's metadata.

  3. 3

    Search for album art on the Internet. A Google or Bing image search is one method of finding album artwork. You can also create your own in Photoshop or other image editing software.

  4. 4

    Save the image to your desktop or somewhere you can easily find it. You can then simply drag the artwork into the artwork window in iTunes, where it says "drag artwork here." iTunes will then embed the image into the audio file's metadata.

  5. 5

    Embedding artwork in multiple files at once, as in the case of an album, is a simple process as well. Select multiple audio files in iTunes by holding down the "control" key while selecting tracks. You can also select a range of tracks by selecting the first track and then pressing the "shift" key while selecting the last track in the range.

  6. 6

    Go to "Get Info" in the "file" menu or press "Command-I" to get information on all the files. If iTunes asks you if you wish to edit information on multiple titles, choose yes. Then drag your artwork into the "artwork" window in the "info" screen. Be sure to place a check in the box next to the artwork window to tell iTunes you wish to display the artwork. iTunes will then embed the artwork in all the files you have selected.

Tips and warnings

  • Including artwork in the metadata of a file increases the file's size. If you have limited space on your computer's hard drive, you may want to delete associated artwork from all files. If you have limited space on your mp3 player, you can simply select all the music in iTunes, and after using the "get info" menu item, uncheck the box next to the artwork box. This tells iTunes not to include artwork when syncing songs with your iPod.

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