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Inside iTunes 7

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New Ways to View Your Collection

One of the nifty features about video in iTunes 6 was that it offered a browse view as well as a list view. The browse view for video playlists showed the first frame of the video as well as the title and information about the video. iTunes 7 offers a similar view for music, except it displays the album artwork instead of a video frame. It also offers a new view known as coverflow, which displays the artwork (or video frame) for the current song and translucent views of the upcoming and preceding songs.

This gives you a new way to enjoy the visual aspects of your music collection. It also looks very empty if you don’t have any album art, which until now you got only when you bought music from the iTunes Store or added it to songs yourself. iTunes 7 allows you to have iTunes query the iTunes Store for all songs in your library and download the matching album art. This is a great feature for libraries built from CD collections (or, ahem, other sources). You can use the General tab in the iTunes preferences to configure iTunes to automatically query the iTunes Store when you import music. You can also set the Get Album Artwork command from the Advanced menu to query the iTunes Store for all missing artwork at any time.

Although it is a great feature, it isn’t perfect. If you don’t have the correct ID 3 tags (information that is associated with various music file formats and stores information such as song, album, and artist names), iTunes cannot determine the correct album art to download. For songs that were imported into iTunes directly from CD (or using other applications that can query CD databases on the Internet), you’ll likely have no problems because the ID 3 tags should include all the necessary information.

If iTunes fails to download album art, you can edit the ID 3 tags and try again (album name and artist name are the most important for a correct match) or you can manually add artwork. To edit ID 3 tags (as shown in Figure 4) or manually add artwork, select a song in iTunes and select Get Info from the File menu. On the artwork tab of the Get Info dialog box, you can either select a graphics file that contains the artwork or you can copy and paste it into the preview box. You can also edit multiple songs at one time.

Figure 4

Figure 4 Editing ID3 tags by using the Get Info dialog box

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