Daily Tip: How to get your music artwork to show up on all tracks of an album when using iTunes Match

If you are like me and spent hours ensuring your album and track artwork is all in order in iTunes only to find that when you subscribed to iTunes Match it all went haywire, you are not alone. I signed up for iTunes Match last week when the international launch went live. I uploaded all of my music only to find that the album artwork showed up fine in album view but only the first track of each album showed any artwork, all of the other tracks had missing artwork.

Well the good news is that there is a very easy way to get it back. It can be a little time consuming but it’s worth it if you just hate to see that musical note and grey background instead of your artwork. A word of warning, this can take a while if you have a lot of content.

  • Open up your music application
  • Select the Album you want to recover the artwork for

  • Click on the first song, it should start to play and if it's like mine the first track will have artwork

  • Click on the next track button on the bottom right and it will skip to the next track
  • Here you will see the problem with no artwork shown

  • When this track starts to play, you will notice that the receiving data spinning wheel will appear next to your carrier name and 3G or WiFi icon. This tells you that the it is receiving data and that just happens to be the album artwork.
  • It doesn't appear while the track is playing,  you have to skip forward then back, then you will see that the second track now has album artwork
  • The best way to make sure all the tracks on that album get artwork is to just skip through each of the tracks. When the spinning wheel disappears, you should now have artwork for all the tracks in that album.

Every one of my albums was like this after uploading to iTunes Match, I did this for them all and now my artwork is perfect. It definitely is a pain and takes a long time to do but worth it if you must have your artwork all in order. Hopefully Apple will address this issue in a future update but until then, give this a try and let us know if it works for you.

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UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to get your music artwork to show up on all tracks of an album when using iTunes Match


Something I've also noticed is when you have the "show all" option turned off for iTunes Match in settings, the albums for all songs still show when in Cover Flow...

And this is the "very easy" way, to play each track in each album?
It's not uncommon for people to have thousands of tracks, are you really suggesting that they play every one to fix a bug in iTunes Match?
How about asking Apple to fix the bug? It's a paid service after all.

Another way is to just rotate your device to landscape then rotate it back and the artwork will appear.
As others have said work arounds are not going to cut it, Apple needs to fix it.

why is Apple not embedding the artwork into the file? that's just totally absurd that we have to do this. I found this issue on day 1 of iTunes Match when it went live for the US. The other thing you lose on matched files is your lyrics, unless you sync the song first from your desktop iTunes. I like the concept behind Match, but it's got some real growing pains to deal with. I've turned it off on the iPhone so that it stops messing up my cover art & lyrics. Unless APple fixes all this, I won't be signing up for another year of service.

Apple needs to get it together. Also, what was the point of adding the label information, release date (full date i.e. February 19, 2011) if it's not going to show up via the iOS device? Why would anything that we do in iTunes not transfer over just the same? It's getting very frustrating.

Or you can do what I did - just turn off freaking iTunes Match until such time as Apple fixes this. Having to manually fix THOUSANDS of freaking tracks is ridiculous.

I have spent numerous hours if not days painstakingly finding and changing all the artwork for every track in my iTunes library to high resolution artwork only for iTunes in a blink of an eye to change most of them back to blurry low resolution crap after signing up for iTunes match. I believe user experience from Apple products may be out the window without Steve Jobs.