MyLink album art
General Motors MyLink is the in-vehicle control and information system featured across the broad GM range; from Chevrolet to Holden to Buicks and Opels. MyLink allows a range of features common in other in-car vehicle entertainment and telematics systems; GPS, voice controlled functions, integration with phones and, of course, music playing.
Most of the MyLink systems feature a large high resolution touchscreen. This is a great place to display album artwork to help you navigate your music collection. But if you came from the age when you were lucky if you could get a decent radio reception on your car, why does album artwork matter? The reality is that album art fills an important role in a music collection. It helps us find music to play, and displaying the artwork for the record that is playing makes for a better music experience.
MyLink, in common with other in-vehicle systems, has a few quirks when displaying album artwork. So I did some research to collect what the rules are that MyLink imposes upon album artwork, and we can then apply this to bliss to make sure your album covers show up inside your GM vehicle!
MyLink album art rules
All music players, in-vehicle or not, impose constraints on the album art. That is, they locate and display the art in a given way that means the covers must be stored in an agreed location, and they must have certain properties.
From research these rules are:
- The artwork must be embedded within the music file.
- MP4 files are not supported for album art
- Aim for no larger than 500x500
- Ensure a standard text encoding for the artwork description field
The maximum resolution one is not a hard-and-fast rule. There's some suggestion that larger artwork will be shown, but much slower.
MyLink Bluetooth support for album art, and metadata in general, is patchy. Some devices and MyLink versions support it, some don't. It's one thing to rule out if you are having problems; so try with USB or the SD card option.
It's worth explaining a little about the Gracenote integration here. MyLink is capable of using Gracenote to find album art, but according to the user manual it should only do this if there's no embedded user-supplied artwork.
The text encoding one is likely to be a rare problem; the encoding reported in the link above is non-standard, and changing it to a more commonly used encoding worked. ID3v2 has patchy support for Unicode, it is true, but the encodings supported are listed here. Possibly the software reporting the encoding was reporting it incorrectly; it might have been stored as
UCS-2 and shown incorrectly.
Most of these rules can be codified in bliss. So let's fire bliss up and get fixing!
Configuring bliss to fix MyLink album art
First, download and install bliss, following the installation instructions. bliss works on Windows, Mac and Linux.
After you start bliss for the first time, the settings screen will already be shown:
Enter the location of your music library (this may be direct to the SD card or device you connect via USB into your car) and click Add and change cover art. You get the cover art settings:
Click more to reveal the sizing rules:
We can now set the MyLink's album art rules:
- Set Embed cover art in music files to Embed art where possible (the default).
- Change Maximum size to be Large (500x500).
You can check Shrink art automatically to reduce the resolution of artwork without your say-so. Otherwise, size reductions will be offered subsequently in a one-click fix. Note there's no such setting for the maximum data size.
Once finished the settings will appear like this:
Now click Apply rules and bliss will begin assessing and fixing your art!
Each album is assessed against the above rules. If the album is missing art, bliss will look online for art of the required size and install it, if found. If existing art is over 500x500 it will either shrink it (if Shrink art automatically was checked) or mark the album Non-compliant.
If an album is non-compliant a one click fix will offer to reduce the resolution of your artwork. You can hasten the process of fixing these using the Inbox to Fix all visible.
I hope that helps fix your MyLink album art!
Thanks to AlBargan for the image above.