I remember when I was a 14 year old kid that I had a curious fascination with album cover art. Whether it came with the albums or I made them myself for my mix CD’s, my albums always had some sort of a cover.
Nowadays you buy a digital copy of your favorite albums and you typically get a cover embedded in it or included as a separate PDF or JPEG file. You can put those files on virtually any kind of media player and you’ve got your favorite music everywhere. But what happens when you put your music albums to your Android device and for some reason your player doesn’t see the cover art? You get Cover Art Downloader from the Android Market and fix it.
Cover Art Downloader is available on the Android Market as a free (and ad-free) version which lacks some minor features, and as a donate version which costs $1.99; both of these run on Android 1.6 and up.
The first time you launch the application you’ll be greeted with a “Did you know?” box that shows you a quick tip on how to do a certain action with the application.
Once you’ve tapped OK, you’ll be taken to a list of all the albums located on your SD Card. If this is the first time you run the app, you’ll be prompted to download the missing cover art for all your albums. Depending on the amount of music on your card and your Internet speed this may take some time. If you don’t have an unlimited data plan (like me), I recommend you do this over Wi-Fi, as this can eat up some data — especially if you’ve got a large amount of albums that are missing their cover art.
If the application didn’t find all the missing album art, you can search for it manually by tapping the album in question. Cover Art Downloader will fetch the album art and ask you if it is the correct one.
Even now if the search fails you can manually search all the album arts for the album and select the appropriate one. Usually you don’t need to go this far. The app found almost all of my album art in one go. I’ve only needed to do a manual search for two or three albums. This is why I love the app so much; it does a very good job of downloading the art.
If you have a large number of covers to download, just hit the home button and the app gets “minimized” into the notification tray with a nice progress bar to show you how much it’s got left and to notify you when it’s finished. A really nice touch I think. I usually do more than one task on my phone at once, and so to be notified when a process is finished is a big plus in my book.
The free version of Cover Art Downloader has a few settings that can be changed:
- SHOW USAGE TIPS. Allows you to enable or disable the “Did you know?” box at the start of the application.
- SHOW CONFIRM DIALOG. Allows you to enable or disable confirmation dialogs. Basically is this is enabled the application will ask you to confirm every action you’re about to do.
- SAVE COVER ART IN FOLDER. Allows you to enable or disable whether to save the album art to the album folder. This may come in handy if you have each track from the album in the same folder. If you’re like me and have tracks from the same artist in the one folder, you’re probably be better leaving this one off. You can have only one file for the album art in the album folder at one time.
- FILENAME. This option lets you choose which filename should the album have if you opt for saving it in the album folder.
- OVERWRITE FILE. This setting allows you to enable or disable whether the application should overwrite the existing album art.
The next options are only available if you have the donate version of the application:
- EMBED COVER ART. This will allow you to embed the album art into the actual music file.
- AUTOMATIC DOWNLOADS. The application will download missing album art for any new media files detected on the device.
The Good and the Bad
This application has pleased me so far. It has a simple, easy to use interface that makes the user experience enjoyable. It never failed to get the album art I searched for and never had a force close. So far it has been good enough not to make me want to search for an alternative application.
One downside is that this app doesn’t work with music stored in phone memory, but this is an issue for third party applications in general — they can only access music stored on the external memory.
A second downside is the fact that you have to pay $1.99 just to enable ID3 tag embedding and automatic download for new media. If you have every album organized in sub-folders you can easily download the art to the folders and embed the image with any ID3 tag editor. I don’t see people paying for those features in particular, but only to give a donation to the developer.
Cover Art Downloader is a very useful application to those that are missing cover art on their Android device. It works with all the major Android music players like Winamp, doubleTwist and PowerAMP, has a very minimal user interface, easy to use features, works flawlessly even on entry level devices like the LG Optimus One P500 and let’s not forget that it’s free and ad-free.
I gladly recommend it to anyone and give it a whopping score of 9/10.