Researching mp3 cover art downloaders

So, I have this huge mp3 collection that is mostly missing cover art.  I embarked on a quest to add cover art to each mp3 file, and before long I realized that I need some software to help me with it.  Here I am documenting my findings.

Album Art Downloader

version 1.0.3

  • Very complicated, unintuitive, and clunky user interface with multiple free-floating windows and no sense of a central application. 
  • You often have to kill it via the task manager to stop it from endlessly re-opening windows.  
  • Does not remember options from run to run and also from opening a certain window to opening the same window again.  
  • Only saves Folder.jpg, so you have to manually embed the image to the mp3 file by some other means.  (Luckily, this was not a problem for me, because I was able to use foobar2000's Batch embed pictures feature.)
  • Also, since it only saves Folder.jpg, you have to have all your files in separate folders, otherwise you will get all your cover art as Folder1.jpg, Folder2.jpg, etc. and then good luck figuring out which jpg corresponds to which mp3. 
  • Gives somewhat inaccurate results; in about 50% of the cases, the covers I could manually find in google image search were much better than covers it was finding supposedly from the same source. (However, that is to be expected.)
  • When it does not work, you receive no hint as to what went wrong.  At some point it just stopped working, probably because some settings were fouled up, so I had to uninstall it and re-install it.
Verdict: very bad user experience, but potentially useful, considering how utterly useless the rest of the options are.

Creevity Mp3 Cover Downloader 

version 1.4.0
  • Very promising at first glance, until you realize that the window does not resize.  
  • No configuration at all.
  • Unintuitive buttons with no tooltips to explain what they do.
  • Accurate results, but no information whatsoever as to where it found them.
  • Displays results as thumbnails, with no option to view them larger, and does not even tell you what the actual size of each image is.
  • When it does not work, you receive no hint as to what went wrong.
Verdict: Useless.


version 2.3.6

This is a Windows Explorer Shell Extension which does not download anything, but it could perhaps be helpful in attaching picture files that have already been downloaded.
  • Very promising at first glance, but a) when album art is attached via this program, it is not visible in Windows Explorer, and b) once this program is installed, attaching album art via foobar2000 stopped working.  Once I uninstalled it, attaching album art via foobar2000 started working again.  Very strange.
Verdict: Useless.


version 2.1.2

A command line tool.  I thought it would give me lots of options.  It didn't give me any.

Verdict: Useless.

MusicBrainz Picard

version 1.4.2

Well written app, with a solid user interface.  Its primary purpose is adding proper tags to mp3 collections, and from what I have seen it must be extremely useful in doing that; however, adding album art is only a side feature, and as such it is not as developed as one would hope.  So, while it makes it very easy to add cover art to each of your mp3s, it has some important disadvantages:
  • It gives extremely few options for configuring where and how it will look for pictures.
  • For each mp3 file, it yields very few pictures to choose from.
  • If you do not like what it finds, you are completely out of luck. 
  • To me, all pictures found seemed to be of a rather low resolution, so I could not use any of them.
Verdict: Useless.


It is with great sadness that I announce Album Art Downloader from http://album-art.sourceforge.net to be the winner.  It is lame, but it helps much more than the other options in getting the job done.

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