High Resolution Album Art Page Updated

I’ve had this page linked on up my blog for quite a while, but I’ve never actually posted about it. After updating it with 50+ new album covers that I scanned (there are now over 800 album covers), I figured it was time to give it some publicity. Here’s the write-up about it for those that haven’t visited the page before, and a warning: only do so if you have a fast Internet connection, the page is NOT bandwidth friendly at all (it’s 13 MB in size with all the thumbnails):

“Below you’ll find all of of CD covers from our music collection, including a few generic photos used for singles or indy artists that have no CDs for sale. Why did I want to do this? I really enjoy seeing the album art for my CDs, but I found the 200 x 200 pixel low-resolution, overly compressed junk that Windows Media Player included by default to be completely inadequate (ditto for the equally lame Zune software). I also found the Microsoft method of placing the album art in the music folder to be very short-sighted. When I moved songs to another computer, the songs themselves had no album art. And because FolderShare (a Windows Live service) makes all hidden files un-hidden when it syncs folders, I ended up with thousands of JPEG images scattered through my music folders. Since I often access my music via Windows Explorer rather than the ultra-slow library of Windows Media Player 10 (11 is much better at this), when I’d drag and drop the folder of music the now un-hidden JPEGs would come along for the ride and show up in my playlist and stop the music as they’d display. It was a complete mess. Embedding the JPG album art inside the audio file itself is a much more elegant solution, and it’s one that Microsoft should have implemented by now.

This time consuming project took nearly four months of work, and I couldn’t have completed it without the help of my wonderful wife Ashley (who did the bulk of the scanning). After scanning them at 300 dpi, we cropped and adjusted each of the album covers one by one. This process helped re-introduce me to my CD collection, reminding me of albums so bad I wonder why I purchased them, to albums that are so good I wonder why I stopped listening to them. This project was like looking at my own personal history with music (though I’d have to go back to the remnants of my cassette collection to get true scope).

Because neither Windows Media Player 10 nor 11 will shrink album art to fit the preview window, using the 1500 x 1500 (or thereabouts) pixel original file is impractical. It also causes some media players problems because the header of the file (where the JPEG is stored) becomes too large to process, and the audio file will not play. Thus, these 640 x 640 (or so) versions were exported using Picasa. These covers are the copyright of the respective artists and should only be used in conjunction with music that you legally own. The easiest way to embed the art inside the song itself is to use a tool such as MediaMonkey. I hope you enjoy using these album covers.

I’ll probably update the page a couple times a year when I’ve bought at least 20 new CDs, so feel free to check back now and then.