Music artwork

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ Music Library Index ▶ Artwork ▶ Music artwork

Music artwork are images directly related to an artist or an album, preferably of high quality, that are displayed when viewing the album or artist entry in the library. They may also be used as visualizations while playing music. The artwork support in Kodi's music library is very flexible and able to display many types of artwork, depending on the skin in use.

It is important to note the following:

  • To ensure local artwork is added when scanning new media items, the image files must be arranged in a certain folder hierarchy.
  • Each artwork type must be whitelisted in advancedsettings.xml to be added to the library automatically during scanning and scraping.
  • Kodi 18 is required for expanded artwork type support in the music library.

1 Artist Information Folder

In v18 the concept of the Artist Information Folder is introduced as a new way to handle providing local artist artwork and information via nfo files. The Artist Information Folder is a user nominated folder that Kodi will look in first for artwork or NFO files for any artist.

This topic is of interest to those users that want to provide local artwork for artists, or capture their current artist art and additional data for transfer to another installation of Kodi

2 Fetching Additional Artwork

v18 introduces an experimental feature that will auto-load extended artwork without the use of additional add-ons. It is considered an advanced feature. Usage and practicality of this feature are being monitored and may change in later releases.

In the Music library, artwork is described as follows:

Artist Artwork
Basic Artwork Extended Artwork
fanart folder banner clearart clearlogo fanartxx (extrafanart) landscape
Album Artwork
Basic Artwork Extended Artwork
folder back discart spine

Basic artwork requires no special setup as it has always been natively fetched by Kodi

Extended artwork required the use of additional add-ons in previous versions. cdART (now defunct) was used. More recently Artwork Beef is used.

Users now have the option of allowing Kodi to load all artwork without add-ons. To use this feature...

1. Add the below code to the advancedsettings.xml file, ensuring you do not duplicate any tags if they already exist... eg <advancedsettings></advancedsettings>, <musiclibrary></musiclibrary>
2. Install the Universal Artist Scraper and Universal Album Scraper and ensure the settings to download extra art are enabled.
3. Scan as normal
Note: The code box adds common extended artwork that most skins will utilise. It is your choice which extended artwork you add. If you add additional to that shown, ensure the skin has support to display it.
 1 <advancedsettings>
 2 	<musiclibrary>
 3 		<artistextraart>
 4 			<arttype>banner</arttype>
 5 			<arttype>clearart</arttype>
 6 			<arttype>clearlogo</arttype>
 7          <arttype>fanart1</arttype> <!-- Multiple fanart -->
 8          <arttype>fanart2</arttype> <!-- Add as many as required. -->
 9          <arttype>fanart3</arttype> <!-- See 9.1 Multiple Fanart section below -->
10 			<arttype>landscape</arttype>
11 		</artistextraart>
12 		<albumextraart>
13 			<arttype>back</arttype>
14 			<arttype>discart</arttype>
15 			<arttype>spine</arttype>
16 		</albumextraart>
17 	</musiclibrary>
18 </advancedsettings>

3 Local Artwork

Local artist artwork can be saved in the Artist information folder (shown in image) or a common artist folder among your music files if Kodi can find one.

Local album artwork can be saved in the album folder (shown in image).

The general rule for artist and album artwork file naming is <arttype>.<ext>.

4 Embedded Artwork

As of v17, Kodi supports embedded album art in mp3 files with ID3v2 tags, WMA/WMV files with ASF tags, FLAC files with Vorbis comments/Xiph tags, and mp4 files with itunes tags. It does not currently support embedded album art in APEv2 tags or Ogg files.

Kodi cannot recognise multiple embedded images in a song file. It can only extract the "Front Cover" image assuming they have been tagged correctly within the file. All other images are ignored.

A list of embedded tags recognised by Kodi is available

see also: Tags Kodi Reads

5 Library artwork source priority

  1. Local artwork files
    • Local artwork files next to your media items or in the "Artist information folder". These are expected to be mid-high quality level for display in an interface like Kodi.
    • all types of artwork can be saved to local artwork files
  2. Artwork embedded in tracks
    • Artwork embedded in individual tracks of an album. These are expected to be lower quality to reduce the size of the image duplicated to many song files.
    • Only supports the album front cover
  3. Online source from "information provider"/scraper
    • only if the option in Kodi Settings -> Media -> Music -> "Fetch additional information during updates" is enabled
    • will only be set if there is no local or embedded artwork unless the option in Kodi Settings -> Media -> Music -> "Prefer online information" is enabled
    • all types of artwork can be added from information providers

6 File Mode

File Mode is similar to using the file manager provided by your operating system- eg Explorer in Windows systems. It is simply a file browser that allows you to view and play your media even though it has not been scanned and/or scraped into the Library. This mode does not provide the added benefits of Extended Artwork and Album/Artist metadata that the properly scanned and scraped library provides. As a result, Music Artwork is handled differently using this mode as follows:

  • The only artwork displayed in File Mode is artist folder/thumb and album folder/thumb.
  • You must have local artwork named and saved as detailed in the sections above.
  • These images are not loaded automatically. The Artist or Album must be viewed once to allow Kodi to locate and cache the image.
  • When Enable tag reading is Enabled the song must be viewed to allow Kodi to scan for embedded images if no local image is available.

Kodi looks for, and caches, artwork in the following order:

  • For Artist artwork:
    1. Local artwork named and saved as detailed in the sections above. There is no fallback image
  • For Album artwork:
    1. Local artwork named and saved as detailed in the sections above. If there is no local artwork then
    2. If you have Enable tag reading set as Disabled in Settings>Media Settings>Music then there is no fallback image
    3. If you have Enable tag reading set as Enabled in Settings>Media Settings>Music then Kodi will search for an embedded image to cache.

Note: If you use File Mode, then upgrade to Library Mode at a later stage, your existing cached artwork may interfere with the correct scanning and scraping of new artwork. There is no simple fix for this. Your choices are

  1. Manually amend the affected artwork using the Chooe Art method.
  2. Perform the delete textures13.db procedure. This will also affect your Video Library.

7 Kodi version updates

  • Kodi 17 and before did not have the "Artist information folder" option, so could have trouble identifying a local folder for artist artwork in some cases.
  • Kodi 17 and before was limited to just "fanart" and "thumb" for artist images and "thumb" for album images, it did not have the flexibility to add a wide variety of artwork. Expanded artwork is new and still being explored from multiple angles, so not all skins or scrapers or tools will support a full selection.
    • Skins for versions of Kodi prior to v18 could use Skin Helper Service for some support of expanded artwork, but that has been superseded with this Kodi built-in functionality.
  • Kodi 18 adds a flexible collection of artwork for music items, but each artwork type must be whitelisted in advancedsettings.xml so that Kodi will add the specified artwork from scrapers and the file system automatically.

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