Different types of album images

When we talk about album artwork, it's almost always the front cover that comes to mind. It's the front cover art that provides a visual recognition of an album. Some artwork has become almost as famous as the album they front.

But other types of album images exist. Sometimes the back cover of an album can be important to include, as can the inserts that come with an album, sleeve notes, lyrics and more. If you happen to cherish the hidden booklets of Kid A, maybe you want to record those in your digital versions too ( you can find the images here).

Importantly, you would typically still want to store the front cover, not least because it makes it easier to browse your music library. This means you need a way, either formally defined or by convention, of demarcating front covers from other images.

Luckily, most computer audio file formats do provide a way to identify different image types. MP3, as a result of using ID3 tags, has APIC that allows you to specify a "picture type". FLAC allows storing the picture type in its METADATA_BLOCK_PICTURE field.

Music taggers such as MP3Tag and Jaikoz can edit these image types. This isn't something supported by bliss yet, but it would be nice!

You could also store such images with filenames defined by convention. Alongside your standard folder.jpg or cover.jpg files within your album folders you could also store cover (back).jpg or leaflet.jpg (taking inspiration from the tag formats above).

The real problem here is player support. Is this really worth it if music players won't show the images? The bad news is that music player support for this is pretty poor. Foobar2000 has strong support for different image types. Media Monkey also supports multiple images. But apart from that it's difficult to find players that will make alternative image types central to your music experience.

If you know of music players that show other artwork, please let us know in the comments!

Thanks to Piano Piano! for the image above.
tags: artwork files tagging

The Music Library Management blog

Dan Gravell

I'm Dan, the founder and programmer of bliss. I write bliss to solve my own problems with my digital music collection.