Album Cover Finder: Get All Your Album Covers the Easy Way

very good
key review info
application features
  • Multiple Results and Album Reviews from an Artist's Catalog returned with every search.
  • (2 more, see all...)

We all love our music and artists, and most of us transform our CDs to MP3s for easy listening. While CDDB gets rid of the need to type in the artist, album and track names, there is still the problem of album covers.

If you use a floater, chances are that floater can fetch the album artwork from the net all by itself. The problem is that it usually saves it somewhere buried deep inside the system where only it knows how to access it. This means that the artwork will not be viewable directly from within iTunes, and, if you ever give up on the floater, or change to another, you will loose that artwork.

Sure, you could go to where those covers are stored and copy paste them into the iTunes albums, but that is coming dangerously close to being work. Fortunately, the solution is close to hand, in the form of Album Cover Finder.

What is it?

Album Cover Finder is a little program that can search for album covers on the net, and download and insert them into the ID3 tags of your MP3 files. The good thing about it is that it does everything for you.

Finding Covers

The first step in acquiring an album cover is letting Album Cover Finder know which artist you are going after. There are several ways of doing this.

The first and most straightforward is to type in the artist name and album name in the appropriate fields and hitting the search button. Of the two, only the first is truly needed. If you specify an artist name, Album Cover Finder will search and display the first cover it finds, but will also continue searching and will slowly populate the catalog list with all the album covers it finds by that artist. If you only specify a album name it will display the first result it finds. Beside the album field is a little drop down menu that will contain all the albums you have from that artist in your iTunes library.

The second is using the Link command in the menu, which will automatically get the information for the currently playing album in iTunes and search using that.

The third method is to have it automatically link with iTunes, constantly searching whenever you change the album.

Of the three, the first is the most buggy, often the program spending ages searching and not coming up with any results. Manual Linking is fast and has always yielded good results. Automatic linking works just as good as manual linking and it can also be set to automatically copy the artwork into the appropriate iTunes tracks. The only problem with auto-linking is that sometimes it will find covers that have sale stickers on them and other such elements that are not part of the 'original' cover and it will copy that, replacing whatever cover you had in your tracks before.

Getting the covers into your tracks

Once Album Cover Finder has found a cover it will update its dock icon to the cover and it will also download reviews for that album. Right clicking on the album will bring up a contextual menu that will let you copy the album artwork, read the full reviews and play the entire album. Selecting the play entire album option will create a new playlist with all the track on the current album and start playing it... a rather useless option. Another option is the show/hide tracks, which will display the track list of the album in a little embedded list... marginally useful.

Once copied, the artwork can be pasted at will, either in iTunes or anywhere else. Since you don't want to be pasting that into the iTunes tags by hand, you can make use of the catalog.

The catalog will display all the covers available for the current artist. It has one severe limitation which is that it cannot display more than 36 albums at a time. For those that it displays, you can just select any cover and click the 'Add Album Artwork' button to have the program automatically add the cover to all the tracks in the album. Once the search is completed, you can also use the 'Add Catalog Artwork' to add the artwork to all the albums from that artist you have in your library.

The size of the covers can be adjusted from the preferences between small, medium and large.

Last but not least, there is a 'Fill Entire Library' option that will take your entire library, search for the appropriate covers and add them where there is no artwork.

The Good

Fully automated way of getting the album covers inside your ID3 tags, can do your whole library in one go or one album at a time as you listen to them.

The Bad

A bit slow at times, sometimes a bit buggy... nothing major, except the fact that there is no scroll in the catalog window.

The Truth

The easiest way to get hundreds of albums outfitted with covers. Can be as automated or as manual as you want.

Here are some screenshots, click to enlarge:

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user interface 3
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good