How to build a CD cover database for Media Portal

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by JouniL, October 23, 2005.

  1. JouniL

    JouniL Portal Member

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    Howdy. I've just gone through the painful process of building a CD cover DB of all my MP3's for Media Portal so I thought I might share the process/pain with you guys.

    1. First of all you need a MP3 DB that is well organized, I use the following structure: artist/album/track. This walk-through will not work if you don't have proper tags (artist/album/track) in your DB. If you haven't a nice structure with tags I suggest you first use MusicBrainz to tag the MP3 files and then MediaMonkey to automatically organize your MP3 directory, this setup works perfectly for me.

    2. You need to D/L and install the following software, the trial versions will work just fine:
    a. Album player v4.0: http://www.albumplayer.com/
    b. Batch Rename .EXE v1.041: http://www.stintercorp.com/br.php

    3. First we will use Albumplayer to find the cover art of all your MP3 albums.
    a. Start AlbumPlayer
    b. Choose "Edit albums and collections->Scan Disk For New Tracks And File"
    c. Browse and point out your root directory for your MP3's, make shure that "Scan recursive" is checked. Press "Next"
    d. Now you will get a dialog with a lot of choiches, these are what I choose/checked:

    i. Use directory name for album and artist name
    ii. Two level, album title is subdirectory from album artist directory
    iii. Album info is read from file AMG
    iv. Track titles are read from AMG
    v. You don't have to check for freedb. I tried to get covers from freedb but that sucked, only found about 5% of my albums.
    vi. Press OK.



    e. Now AlbumPlayer first loads all your albums/MP3 into a collection and then starts searching for your CD covers, this might take a long time. My DB of 5000 MP3's took over two hours to find.
    f. When AlbumPlayer is finished, close it.

    4. Now it is time to move the CD covers from AlbumPlayer to Media Portal:
    a. AlbumPlayer saves all cover arts in the following directory as jpg's: <windows programs install directory>\AlbumPlayer\Temp\Userdata\Covers.
    b. Copy all jpgs to Media Portals thumbDb which should be at the following path: <windows programs install directory>\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal\thumbs\music\albums

    5. Finally we need to format the filenames of the cover jpg's to fit media portal.
    a. AlbumPlayer saves CD Cover art jpgs in the following format: <Artist><SPACE>-<SPACE><Album>.jpg. To make this work for MediaPortal we need to remove the <SPACE>-elements. Let me give you an example: AlbumPlayer creates a cover art file for Pink Floyd The Wall. This is how the filename will look like: "Pink Floyd - The Wall.jpg", this will not work for Media Portal unless we change " - " for "-". So we need to rename the file to "Pink Floyd-The Wall".
    b. Start Batch Rename .EXE
    c. Click "Add folder -> Add by folderr"
    d. Browse to the "<windows programs install directory>\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal\thumbs\music\albums" folder and click OK
    e. Click Next
    f. In the "Rename Settings" Dialog :
    i. Check "Allow Spaces"
    ii. Enter " - " in the Replace text field (don't enter the "-characters, only what is between them!)
    iii. Enter "-" in the With - field
    iv. Examine that the sample filenames in the "Example Output"-window looks ok
    g. Click Next
    h. Click Finish
    i. Close Batch Rename .EXE

    Now you should be able to use icons of the CD covers oAf your MP3 albums when you browse in Media Portal. Enjoy! 8)
     
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  3. metoHTPC

    metoHTPC Portal Member

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    Thanks, but is this the only way it works?
    I have all my music organised like this artis/album/track
    In the folder I also have a jpg for the cover art. In xlobby this works fine. As it scans my folders, it also chooses the right cover art.
    Do I have to start all over, just because MP only accepts a certain format at a certain (strange) location? I preffer to have the cover art in the same folder, it is, imho, a clear approach.
    I would really like to know if there is an other way around this.
     
  4. SPYcorp

    SPYcorp Portal Member

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    Interessting guide.
    But i did the quick-and-dirty method and but in each Album folder a Cover-art (taken by amazon.com) named as folder.jpg.
    MP will show this, too.
     
  5. samuel337

    samuel337 Portal Pro

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    Yep, MP will also display the folder.jpg file in the music folder as well as the cover art (this is what I've done).

    Another program worth trying is Album Cover ARt Downloader, available at:
    http://louhi.kempele.fi/~skyostil/projects/albumart/

    It isn't as automatic though...

    Sam
     
  6. JouniL

    JouniL Portal Member

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    Well, before I wrote the guide I tried the "folder.jpg" approach. Unfortunately it didn't work for me. I really tried but MP completely ignored the cover-art file. Now I have a nice workflow that works and I also think there are some advantages to this approach:

    1. The file name: "folder.jpg" is context sensitive, if you move the file outside the album-directory you will never know which album it belongs to unless you examine the image.
    2. I've got all album folder images in one directory which means it is much more convinient to manage them, for an example if I wish to build an thumbnail HTML-page or if I need to do batch image filtering on them using Photoshop etc
     
  7. metoHTPC

    metoHTPC Portal Member

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    To be honest, I don't like both approaches. Renaming all image files to folder.jpg results in a context senistive file name, which I don't prefer.
    On the other hand, a seperate folder with all cover art in it, is not what I want either. If I remove an album, I have toi remove the coverart seperatly :-(

    I would like MP to search my music folder and take whatever image (jpg, tiff bmp etc) it finds whatever the name and use it as cover art. Why should it be so picky?
     
  8. samuel337

    samuel337 Portal Pro

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    I know MP doesn't use them, but what if you had front and back covers for each album?

    Sam
     
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