Until today, album art hasn't been automatically associated with our music downloads.
And now, as of today, all our music automatically includes album artwork.
What does this mean? Until today, if you put one of our MP3s into iTunes, the artist/album/year was there, but a generic graphic was shown for the album cover:
now, all our albums have the album art embedded in the MP3 file itself, so that iTunes shows:
on your desktop, the album art should be automatically displayed for the file's icon: (old is on the left of this image, new is on the right of the image)
and when you click "info" in iTunes you see the album art:
The album art is automatically included in:
1) single mp3 song files you download
2) single m4a (i.e. Apple AAC) files you download
3) zip files of entire albums in High quality MP3 (VBR)
4) zip files of entire albums in medium quality MP3 (128k)
5) zip files of entire albums in M4A (Apple AAC format)
The album art is a 300x300 highly optimized JPEG file, which on average is 10kb to 20kb, for about a 1% to 2% file size increase on the 128K MP3 files. I felt that was a tiny amount of disk space to use for what is a very helpful feature.
This very helpful blog about MP3 album art:
argues that 300x300 is the best current choice, as this is what will display at full resolution on current generation iPods, and is also the size the BBC has chosen. That's why we went with that.
Note for FLAC/OGG users: I couldn't find a standard way to embed artwork in those file formats, so for the time being our artwork in not embedded in those two file formats.
A big THANK YOU to Magnatune member David Hopkins for pointing out that this was possible, and for nagging me to do it!