Album artwork retrieval problems

Q: I just loaded the new iTunes, and selected “Get Album Artwork” from the “Advanced” menu. However, the feature left a large number of albums blank, and many of these albums are pretty common. How can I get iTunes to recognize my albums and fetch my art? Can I tell it to use a different database?

– Dave

A: Many users are reporting less than perfect results with iTunes’ new Album Artwork retrieval service. However, this isn’t terribly surprising. Even if the iTunes Store sells the album you’re trying to receive artwork for, it might not work, depending on several factors. In order for the album artwork feature to automatically recognize the album as mapping to one in the iTunes Store’s library, the tags, track lengths, and/or track numbering (or whatever other data iTunes may use to correlate the songs to the Store) must be very close to those in iTunes. In the short term, we’d recommend either trying to clean, correct, or reformat the tags for the tracks in your local library to better match them to known iTunes tracks, or simply manually updating album artwork for those failing to match.

In the long term, we expect the logic behind this feature will evolve in future releases of the software, becoming able to more accurately identify an individual’s imported CD tracks with the appropriate iTunes Store copies.

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