What's the best album artwork filename?

This week, thinking aloud about what the best generally applicable filename is for album artwork...

Maybe one of the more puzzling settings in bliss is:

We pre-populate this to cover, meaning a cover.jpg file is created for each album's artwork.

The history of that choice goes back to my original use of Squeezebox devices. cover.jpg was the common default choice for those devices.

Of course, there are many more types of music player, and many work in different ways, preferring different artwork filenames. In addition, sometimes the rules of whether an image overrides embedded art differ. Most devices "prefer" embedded artwork, but some devices display the separate file out of preference.

So what filenames are typically used? Off the top of my head, there's

  • cover
  • folder
  • Named after the album

In addition, the rarer:

  • thumb
  • album
  • albumartsmall

albumartsmall being an artifact created by Windows Media Player.

The answer to which filename to pick is: it depends on your music player. But, in general, I'd say pick from the first list. And to help pick further, I'd say choose in this order:

  1. folder
  2. cover
  3. Named after the album

The key advantage of choosing folder as the name for artwork is that it is the filename used by Windows Explorer to choose an image to represent the folder. Thus, it means Windows Explorer will show the album artwork for this folder; a useful navigation aid.

cover's key advantage is that it is most descriptive. You could conceivably have back-cover, disc and insert if you wanted.

Using the album name as the filename, or combination of artist and album name, can be useful if you do a lot of work at the file level, particularly work with cover art. But in reality it might be a pain to maintain this approach, not least because it's difficult to find a ripper to create artwork in this name in the first place, but also because you may change the artist and album name in the future, and you'll end up with out-of-sync metadata.

A word of warning about folder.jpg. Older versions of Windows (I'm not sure if it's still the case in newer versions) would sometimes mark these files as "system" and "hidden" files. This would make the files difficult to both view and change as needed.

Thanks to jetheriot for the image above.
tags: covers
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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.