I'm trying to download Album Art by right-clicking a track in iTunes and choosing Get Album Artwork. Sometimes this works fine, but sometimes iTunes finds the wrong Album.

As an example, I have A Taste Of Things To Come from the Mortal Kombat Soundtrack.:

Album art from *Mortal Kombat Soundtrack*

But this is the only track on that same album with Album Art, so I ask iTunes to Get Album Art for the second track. This is what it finds:

Quigley Soundtrack

The Quigley soundtrack, starring Gary Busey and Oz Perkins.

How does iTunes make its decision as to what artwork to provide for any given track? And ideally, how can I encourage iTunes to make better choices?

I'm running iTunes on a Windows 7 PC.

  • 4
    I have NO idea, but I'm voting you up for making me laugh :)
    – stuffe
    Mar 24, 2012 at 20:10
  • I wonder why the down vote?
    – KatieK
    Mar 26, 2012 at 3:29
  • @KatieK I didn't downvote, but questions about the implementation details of Apple's software (in this case, how iTunes matches artwork) are usually a poor fit for StackExchange, because real information about those details is rarely available; as a result, the answers to such questions tend to be subjective / prone to conjecture.
    – Dan J
    Mar 26, 2012 at 18:26

6 Answers 6


Clearly, the database being polled either has errors or the mix of the data used to determine the track listing isn't uniquely specified which leads to the errors.

Here is what you have in your control:

  1. Manually override these artworks by hand or by using a competing service. There are many and I've never found them to be worthwhile for the music I have issues with. YMMV of course and I know several people really love these iTunes add-on programs and cleaners.
  2. The metadata - you can edit the title or the author or any of the other music tag information on the problematic tracks to better match what Apple sells the music. If you have a Jimmy Buffet album labeled "stoner rock" for genre - perhaps changing it to "Rock" would be the difference in retrieving the correct artwork.

As you can see, the details aren't public, so some trial and error may be needed. If you have the actual CD and can re-encode them, usually this gets the data correct for matching with artwork.


iTunes uses an external site to search for album art. I don't remember exactly which site it is, but I do remember that it was crowdsourced, so there's a high likelihood that, especially with relatively rare music, it will get the wrong thing.


This seems to be an ongoing problem with iTunes and MP3s. It'll get better for awhile, then suddenly a ton of threads on it will pop up on apple's support boards. It might improve a little, but many will still report problems.

Even when the ID3 tags match exactly with the information for the same album in the iTunes store people indicate they are still getting mismatches or missing artwork. Others have complained that after going through and painstakingly attaching artwork manually to all the songs that had missing artwork, a later iTunes upgrade has removed some or all of the artwork they added.

The problem is so pervasive that there are apparently several programs intended to do the work that iTunes should be doing itself:




I suspect that you won't find an easy solution to this problem with songs not purchased from Apple.


Unfortunately, when iTunes doesn't do it right, you have to reside to third-party apps to do the dirty work. I have found this a useful piece of advice regarding missing iTunes artwork.

This only proves that no artwork-finder app is perfect and applies data 100% correctly, especially iTunes. In my case, iTunes did not find more than 100 of my album artworks: enter image description here


Yes, it could be a problem for songs not puchased from the Store. I advise to store a covers with all full albums / compilations you have. I do so and haven't these situations because I add the covers when I edit meta info of the files (using The Tagger utility).


itunes just gets confused sometimes i guess, an easy solution is to go to google, copy the album art you want and go to the album you want to change in itunes. click on advanced and add album art (top left hand corner). then you go to album art i believe and control and copy/paste the picture into the album art space. this allows you to get custom art work!

-:) iph4u on Youtube!

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