As you probably know by now, Apple has updated iTunes and the entire iPod lineup. I’ll spare you the “big picture” details available everywhere else on the web and focus on the single new feature that made my day.
Movies, iPod updates, and various album artwork views all pale in comparison to:
iTunes can automatically download album artwork when you add songs to your library. iTunes can also download album artwork for songs in your library that don’t already have artwork
Now I can stop wracking my brain trying to figure out just how their new artwork system works.
Apple’s new album artwork feature is even easier to use than my old workflow, where I would have to find the album in the
iTunes Music Store iTunes Store, copy the URL, paste it into a web page, and drag the image to iTunes. Now I can simply right-click a song or group of songs, and choose “Get Album Artwork.” iTunes communicates with Apple* and loads the proper artwork with no further hassle. It’s a seamless and nearly effortless feature that I’m sure will get used often.
*iTunes notes that Apple does not collect any information about your music library. It seems Apple has learned to disclose everything since the MiniStore privacy concern.
Update: I figured out how the new artwork system works. Here’s a PHP script showing just how easy it is to find your own artwork for any artist/album.
Update: After the addition of some HTML to my original code, we now have a complete prototype for downloading album art. One thing yet to be explored is the full list of parameters that the “coverArtMatch” WebObjects script allows. So far, I’ve only seen Artist, Album, and Genre, but I’m quite sure there’s more to be discovered.
When you download this script and run it, you’ll be presented with Artist and Album fields, and a Get Artwork button. The form is submitted to the PHP script itself, the iTunes Store is searched for your album art, and the resultting image displayed. If there are no matches, you will receive a message to that effect. Enjoy!
Update: As quickly as the fun began, it seems that it will be ending. Apple has begun encrypting artwork on albums released later than October 3rd, and this prevents my script from properly displaying images. While older albums still work (for now…), this script will be rendered less useful as time goes on. With any luck, some clever hacker will figure out the encryption scheme sooner or later. I took a look at the givens, and the solution is quite simply over my head. Now we wait.