Album artwork not modifiable

Q: I have a bunch of live shows I’ve downloaded from various places, and I’ve converted and transfered them into iTunes. Many of them won’t let me add album art—the album art window says “Album Artwork Not Modifiable”.  Why is this, and how can I fix it?

– Darek

A: iTunes stores album art in the file itself. As such, the “Album Art Not Modifiable” error indicates one of two things: either the format of the file doesn’t support embedded album art, or iTunes is unable to modify the underlying file due to its permissions settings.

The former issue is easy to identify: The only iTunes-supported audio format that doesn’t support embedded album art is “WAV”.

If the file is marked with “Kind” is “WAV audio file”, then consider using Apple Lossless, AIFF (Mac only), MP3, or AAC.

If this isn’t the case, then the file isn’t able to be edited at all due to the computer’s file system. In Windows, this may mean that either the file itself or the Artist/Album folders that contains it are marked “Read Only.” Similarly, on a Mac, the file permissions may be set such that the current user has “No Access” or “Read Only” access.

To find out if this is the case, and to fix it, use the “Summary” panel in iTunes’ “Get Info” window for the affected song to locate the path to the file. Then, browse to that location in Windows Explorer or the Mac’s Finder, and do the following:

Windows: Right click on the file, and choose “Properties.” Ensure that the “Read Only” checkbox is unchecked. If not, try doing the same operation on the folders that contain it.