Friday, 26 December 2008

Download album artwork and lyrics into iTunes without using the iTunes music store

Written mainly for South Africa's Mac OSX, iTunes-using, internet-connected, music fans.

As of posting, the iTunes music store does still not sell music in South Africa :(. So, if you want to select a tune or album to play using Apple's nifty Coverflow viewing option, this service is not going to look like it should {i.e. loads of blank squares, instead of album artwork}.

To fix this on a Mac*, you should download the free GimmeSomeTune software from After installing it, check that the following preferences are active:

- Start GimmeSomeTune with iTunes
- Fetch cover artwork from the internet when the song has none
- Fetch lyrics from the internet when the song has none

Launch iTunes, press play, check the GimmeSomeTune icon shows network activity and GimmeSomeTune will start collecting album covers and lyrics for each song you play...

If GimmeSomeTune doesn't download album artwork, try these work-arounds:

1 Check the song's fields for Name, Artist, Album Artist and Album are all present and correct. The Album Artist's is often blank; filling it in often delivers positive results.

2 Check tha
t no blank spaces are left at the ned of the texts in these fields.
3 Check that the album's name doesn't feature extraneous information (i.e. Felt Mountain Bonus CD2 (UK release) should be changed to simply Felt Mountain by deleting it [or cutting out Bonus CD2 (UK release) and pasting it into the comments box]. From what I've seen, iTunes still knows CD1 from CD2 after this information is removed, so this shouldn't interfere with playing an album's songs in the album's original order.

Once you've changed the song's information, replay it: GimmeSomeTune should be able to identify, then fetch, the album's artwork. If you've got many tunes, I suggest you let iTunes play your music library with shuffle selected. This is a relatively painless way of getting the most album covers in the quickest way!

If you still can't get the album artwork you want, do a search with Google images (listing the artist and album name). Choose the best resolution image, open its page, then drag-and-drop the album's arwork into iTune's blank Artwork box.

I hope following this post's advice helps you make the most of Coverflow; whether it's on your desktop, laptop, iPod, iPhone and/or iTouch...


* I'm assuming you run a version of Mac with OS X version 10.4 or greater.
* I'm also assuming you're inte
rnet-connected, while running iTunes.

Suggested link.

How to organise US account so that your iTunes music store works in South Africa

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