Music artwork

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ Artwork ▶ Music artwork


Music artwork are images directly related to an Artist and Album scraped into the Music library. The images are, preferably, of high quality, that are displayed when viewing the Album or Artist entry in the library. They may also be used as visualisations while playing music. The Music section in Kodi is able to display up to six types of artwork. This page will describe the different types of artwork available in the Music category of Kodi.

It is important to note the following:

  • Artwork is skin dependent. This means that some skins display a small number of artwork types, while other skins will display most of the available artwork types.
  • In previous versions of Kodi and in older wiki pages, the term Thumbnails was used to describe Artwork. Kodi has now moved away from referring to thumbnails due to the amount of confusion and concern it caused users.
  • The base line for all artwork is the default skin Estuary. By default, Estuary displays the Basic artwork. Estuary can display the Extended artwork via additional add-ons.
  • While high resolution images do look impressive on HDTV's it is important to be aware that the increased artwork size can negatively affect low powered hardware.


1 Requirements

As the Music section of Kodi has many differences to the Video section of Kodi, please read the following to ensure your music and artwork are correctly scraped and displayed.

It is important to understand the fundamental difference between video library operation and the music library operation:

  • The video library scraping is based on the file names to get online data. If the video files are incorrectly named, then there are no scraper results, thus no library entry.
  • The music library scraping is based on scanning tags embedded in the music files. The library then has enough information to create a minimal library entry.
  • Although you may have your music saved in Artist\Album\Song type directory, Kodi ignores this and uses only the filename and the tags in the music files. According to Kodi, there are no album or artist files per se, they are creations of Kodi from the tags.
  • Scraping to populate the library is a two step process.
    • The first scrape reads the tags embedded in the music files. If there is any embedded artwork, this will also be scraped and cached.
    • The second scrape downloads the online artist and album metadata and artwork which is added to the library and cached.
  • Scraping of additional artist and album metadata does not happen on library update (including first adding a source) unless "Fetch additional info on update" is enabled. Currently this defaults to disabled, for several reasons:
    • It allows you to perform the initial tag scan quickly. In v17 and below, when Fetch additional info on update is enabled, the two scraping steps happen immediately each album and artist is added. This slows down populating the library. It is a background task, but still gives the impression that it is taking a considerable time to populate the library. This may cause users to believe that Kodi has stopped working and leads to many users stopping the scrape prematurely which causes further problems with library corruption. In reality it is slowed down by the online scraping, and not the local tag scrape. This will be changed in v18 where Kodi will perform the initial tag scan then, once complete, will commence the online scrape.
    • Bad tagging makes a messy library and then the online scrape compounds errors and makes the library difficult to unscramble. It is far better for the user to perform the initial scan, find and fix the bad tags, then perform the on-line scrape knowing there will be no further errors.
    • When scraping failed due to 503 server errors, this means that the initial tag scraping process has been interrupted, and the user had to manually query for all to fill gaps anyway. This is expected to be fixed for v17.4 if released or v18.


This page details the following:

  • Adding and removing Sources
  • Scan (import) your music collection into the Music Library.
  • Troubleshooting common problems

A reminder of the following:


2 Adding Music to Library

  • Populating the music library is a two step process.
    • The first step reads the tags embedded in the music files. This is referred to as scanning. If there is any embedded artwork, this will also be scanned and cached.
    • The second optional step fetches additional artwork, artist and album information. This information and artwork can be downloaded from either online sources or fetched from local nfo files. This is referred to as scraping and is covered in detail in the next step of the guide.



2.1 Initial Set Source & Scan

This process achieves the following:

  • Sets your music source(s) in Kodi. Simply explained, this points Kodi to your music files
  • Allows Kodi to scan the tags in the music files and import that data into the library



At this point you should have a functioning Music Library


2.2 Adding Additional Music Sources


2.3 Scan to Library

In step 6 above, you were asked Do you want to add the media from this source to your library?

Click the below link if you selected No and would now like to add the music files into the library

See: Scan Source to Library


3 Troubleshooting


3.1 Library contains random or duplicated entries

This is a result of errors in tagging.

  1. Take note of the errors and correct them by following the recommended procedure in the previous step of the guide- Music Files and Tagging
  2. Once errors are corrected follow the steps detailed in Remove A Source
  3. Re-add the source using the Initial Set Source & Scan procedure detailed above


3.2 I cannot add a source on my network

Seek further information in Section 5 - Network Sources, below


If you have successfully scanned your music library, then you can safely ignore the next section and proceed to Scraping Additional Music Data


Next step: Artist Information Folder


4 Network Sources

Kodi gives you the ability to listen to music from a variety of sources.

See Types of Media Sources


Some examples of sources that allow you to easily access all your digital music collection:

  • On your computer or a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device/system, which supports SMB file sharing
  • Stored directly on the hard drive
  • On CDs/DVDs
  • Streamed from the Internet


If you use an non-standard network protocol to stream your media from a network, or for information on how to configure remote file shares


Return to top


Next step: Artist Information Folder



4.1 Caching

All music artwork is cached. If artwork is scraped from local files, once it is cached, Kodi will not access the local files again.

Also be aware of image adjustments made by Kodi during the caching process. See Cache

Music artwork is cached as part of a multi-tier process. The code which assigns images to files runs and assigns images in the following order:

  1. Cached Album image
    • This is all the embedded album art read by the tag reader and cached using the album name and album artist.
  2. Cached filename.jpg
    • This includes an embedded image cached with the fully qualified name.
  3. Remote filename.jpg
    • This is a filename.jpg on a remote share/folder which is then cached.
  4. Cached folder.jpg
    • This is a folder.jpg which is cached based off the folder path.
  5. Remote folder.jpg
    • This is a folder.jpg on a remote share/folder which is then cached.
  6. Remote foldername.jpg
    • This is a foldername.jpg on a remote share/folder which is then cached.


5 Basic Music Artwork

The artwork in the Basic section is the minimum artwork displayed by the default skin Estuary with a standard install.

Note the following:

  • The following naming schemes apply only to the artwork you have manually sourced and saved. It does not apply to artwork downloaded by the Kodi scraper or any add-on processes.
  • To ensure auto-scraping of local artwork, there must be an Artist directory which then contains the Album directories. These album directories contain the individual songs for that album.
  • Folder structure is only important if you want to use NFOs or local artwork. The scraper ignores directory names and will only read music tags.
  • The folder structure is not too important to Kodi as long as you are not using local artwork or NFO files which currently depends on an artist>album hierarchy and handles compilations, collaborations, non-unique artist names and singles badly.
  • It is useful having separate/multiple music sources that separates standard artists and albums from the more complex systems used by classical music, soundtracks, and compilations.


5.1 Fanart- Artist

Artwork-MusicFanart01.jpg

Fanart, also known as Wallpapers, Backdrops or Backgrounds, are images that have, in most cases, been created by fans.

For Kodi, it means digital images, of high quality, that are used as full screen displays to enhance the user experience. The fanart displays the artist or band.

The image to the right is a typical example of music fanart. It is specifically designed to match the 16:9 ratio of current generation televisions and monitors. This allows the screen to be completely filled by the image.

Required file properties:
Note: The resolution may be increased but ensure the aspect ratio is maintained

File Type Aspect Ratio Resolution- recommended
*.jpg or png 16:9 1920x1080

Naming and Saving conventions for your own manually sourced artwork:

Music saved as File Name Save name & location example
Artist\Album\Songs fanart.jpg/png f:\Music\Madonna\fanart.jpg/png

Bug: Linux users- In releases upto v17, there exists a bug in URIUtils::GetParentPath. It effects artists with single albums (any number of tracks). The issue prevents the algorithm from returning to the artist directory once the music files are found. This means the Artist Fanart is not located. The temporary solution is to place the Artist Fanart in the Album directory


5.2 Artist Image

Artwork-MusicArtist01.jpg

The Artist Image is also known as Artist Thumb or just Thumb within Kodi, and is saved as folder.jpg within the artist directory. They are high quality images of the artist or band members. The image to the right is displaying the Artist Image using the Infowall view in Estuary.

Required file properties:
Note: The resolution may be increased but ensure the aspect ratio is maintained

File Type Aspect Ratio Resolution- recommended
*.jpg or png 1:1 1000x1000

Naming and Saving conventions for your own manually sourced artwork:

Music saved as File Name Save name & location example
Artist\Album\Songs folder.jpg/png f:\Music\Madonna\folder.jpg/png

Bug: Linux users- In releases upto v17, there exists a bug in URIUtils::GetParentPath. It effects artists with single albums (any number of tracks). The issue prevents the algorithm from returning to the artist directory once the music files are found. This means the Artist Folder image is not located. There is no temporary solution as placing the artist folder.jpg in the album directory will interfere with the album folder.jpg. In these cases, either an online scrape or manual placement of artwork is required


5.3 Manually Adding Artist Artwork

From within Kodi, you have the ability to manually change the artwork at any time.

Select the Artist whose artwork you would like to add or change. Call up the Artist Information page. As seen in the images below, there are two options titled Get Thumb and Get Fanart. Selecting either of these will present you the options as seen in the second and third images. Once selected, you will then be provided with a list of available artworks at the scraper site, or you can navigate to a local or network location as shown in the following images.


5.4 Album Image

Artwork-MusicAlbum01.jpg

The album image is also known as the Album Thumb, Album Cover or as Thumb within Kodi. They are high quality images of the Album cover and each album directory would have its own album Folder image. They are saved as folder.jpg inside the album directory. The image to the right is displaying the album images using the Infowall view in Estuary.

Required file properties:
Note: The resolution may be increased but ensure the aspect ratio is maintained

File Type Aspect Ratio Resolution- recommended
*.jpg or png 1:1 1000x1000

Naming and Saving conventions for your own manually sourced artwork:

Music saved as File Name Save name & location example
Artist\Album\Songs folder.jpg/png f:\Music\Madonna\Like A Prayer\folder.jpg/png


5.5 Manually Adding Album Artwork

From within Kodi, you have the ability to manually change the artwork at any time.

Select the Album whose artwork you would like to add or change. Call up the Album Information page. As seen in the images below, select Get Thumb which will present you the options as seen in the second image. You will then be provided with a list of available artworks at the scraper site, or you can navigate to a local or network location as shown in the following images.


5.6 Source Folder Artwork

Artwork-VideoFolder01.jpg

The Folder Artwork, also known as Source Folder thumb, can be landscape, portrait or square images that are used to replace the standard folder icons when browsing your music sources in the files section. You will not see this artwork in the Music menu. This image file is saved directly within the Source directory.

To enable the image, navigate to Music>Files in the menu system. Highlight a source and call up the Context Menu. Select Choose Thumbnail. If you have saved the image in the correct location, it will be available to select immediately. If not, you will need to navigate to locate and select it. The image must remain in its original location once selected as it will not be cached. Deleting the image will remove it from view in the folder icon.

You are able to also apply the folder thumb by modifying the \userdata\sources.xml as follows

<source>
   <name>music</name>
   <path>xbms://192.168.1.100:1400/Music/</path>
   <thumbnail>F:\Apps\XBMC\thumbs\shares\thumb.png</thumbnail>
</source>

Required file properties:
Note: The resolution may be increased but ensure the aspect ratio is maintained

File Type Aspect Ratio Resolution- recommended
*.jpg 16:9 640x360
*.jpg 1:1.5 400x600
*.jpg 1:1 500x500

Naming conventions for your own manually sourced artwork:

Source File Name Save name & location example
Folder Artwork: folder.jpg f:\Music\folder.jpg
Alternative name: <foldername>.jpg f:\Musc\Music.jpg



6 Extended Music Artwork

To display the Extended Music Artwork, an add-on will need to be installed to extend the image handling capabilities of Kodi and the skins. Once this is installed, it will insert extra artwork fields which become available to use in the Skins. One example is the cdART Manager add-on which can be installed from the official Kodi repository.

Note the following:

  • The following naming schemes apply only to the artwork you have manually sourced and saved. It does not apply to artwork downloaded by the Kodi scraper or any add-on processes.
  • To ensure auto-scraping of local artwork, there must be an Artist directory which then contains the Album directories. These album directories contain the individual songs for that album.
  • Compilation Albums are problematic for local artwork and metadata. See chapter 5 below for further information.
  • All Extended Artwork, except Extra Fanart, is cached by Kodi. Once cached the local original files will no longer be accessed.
  • If using the cdART Manager add-on, it is important to note the following
    • The add-on has the option to use local artwork (if correctly named and saved) or online artwork. When viewing the Album and Artist information page for the first time, the cdART Manager will automatically scrape local artwork. If no local artwork is available, it will scrape online sources.
    • Using the Kodi scraper will not download extended artwork. The cdART Manager add-on is required to be run after the Kodi scrape process. i.e. you are performing two or three scrapes depending upon settings.


Artwork-MusicBanner01.jpg

Also known as Wide Banner Icons and Artist Banner. The image to the right shows the Banner view at the top right position. They are images that contain the artist or band. The banner image normally displays the artist or band logo which is of a size that is clearly legible. The view is from the Aeon MQ7- Krypton Mod skin

Required file properties:
Note: The resolution may be increased but ensure the aspect ratio is maintained

File Type Aspect Ratio Resolution- recommended
*.jpg or png 1:0.185 1000x185

Naming and Saving conventions for your own manually sourced artwork:

Music saved as File Name Save name & location example
Artist\Album\Songs banner.jpg/png f:\Music\Madonna\Like A Prayer\banner.jpg/png


Artwork-MusicBanner01.jpg

Also known as Clear Logo. This is the logo or name of the artist or band on a transparent background. The logo uses the distinctive font associated with the musicians and is uncluttered by other images. The transparent background allows it to be overlayed on other images or video with minimal impact. The image to the right shows the logo at the far right of the image, roughly in the centre and looks like a signature. The view is from the Aeon MQ7- Krypton Mod skin

Required file properties:
Note: The resolution may be increased but ensure the aspect ratio is maintained

File Type Aspect Ratio Resolution- recommended
*.png 1:0.388 800x310

Naming and Saving conventions for your own manually sourced artwork:

Music saved as File Name Save name & location example
Artist\Album\Songs logo.png f:\Music\Madonna\Like A Prayer\logo.png


6.3 CD Art

Artwork-MusicBanner01.jpg

CD Art, also known as Disc Art, is the image that is visible on the physical CD. It uses a transparent background.

The image to the right displays the CD Art in two locations- bottom left and bottom right corners of the image.

Required file properties:
Note: The resolution may be increased but ensure the aspect ratio is maintained

File Type Aspect Ratio Resolution- recommended
*.png 1:1 1000x1000

Naming and Saving conventions for your own manually sourced artwork:

Music saved as File Name Save name & location example
Artist\Album\Songs cdart.png f:\Music\Madonna\Like A Prayer\cdart.png
or disc.png f:\Music\Madonna\Like A Prayer\disc.png


6.4 Extra fanart

Extra fanart is reliant on a supporting skin and have exactly the same properties as the standard Fanart.

It is possible to download and save additional high quality Fanart which the skin can display, usually in a slideshow.


7 Embedded Artwork

As of v17, Kodi supports embedded album art in files with ID3 tags, WMA tags, FLAC and MP4 tags only. It does not support embedded album art in APE or Ogg tags currently.


8 Compilation Albums

Compilation albums, various artists, classical music and other collaborative type albums are problematic for Kodi in the following cases:

  1. When using local artwork and nfo files
  2. When using the Import/Export function See Import-Export_library

If you are not using either one of those functions, then Kodi has no problem scraping online metadata and artwork of correctly named and tagged music files.

There currently is no workaround or fix for this issue, but steps can be taken so that these compilation albums do not affect the remainder of the library of normal single artist albums.

  1. Group all compilation type albums in one or more directories- eg Compilations, Soundtracks, Classical etc
  2. Add these compilation directories as separate sources in Kodi and ensure it is named so that, alphabetically, it is the last directory in the list. (f:\zzMusic\zzCompilations\)
  3. Create Artist directories for artists that appear only on compilation albums, and place their artwork in those empty artist directories. This will allow Kodi to scrape the artwork, and then match it to the compilation artists when it eventually reaches the last directories. This method only works with cdART Manager.



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