Apparently you can use Apple Lossless in both iTunes and Windows Media Player if you install some additional software for WMP. It is available here:
(under "Apple ALAC goes WMP")
You are correct -- wavs do not support tagging. I've read the WMP does not support AIFF tags that iTunes makes, but that was almost a year ago.
Goose76 - I have added over 12,000 songs as wav files in itunes. I beleive you are correct about album art and songs not available in itunes store. What I can't figure out is why. Wav files cannot get art tags but itunes now stores art in separate files and directories (not as tags) and if you can add art from songs available in the itunes store, you should be able to add it from anywhere.
*itunes now stores art in separate files and directories (not as tags) and if you can add art from songs available in the itunes store, you should be able to add it from anywhere.*
But you can't because wav files do not have the ID3 tags for artwork and there is no interface for the user to tell iTunes to get the artwork from somewhere else.
I'm not quite sure this the answer you are looking for but here it is. For my personal albums that I added to ITunes I took the CD album cover art work out of the case and used a flat bed color scanner and scanned it to "My Documents" and retrieved it into ITunes. I then selected it after I went in to song info under artwork
That method of cutting and pasting will not work with a WAV file. Since the newer versions of itunes do not "attach" the artwork to the song file but instead store the artwork in a separate folder I do not understand why the cut and paste method does not work -- but it doesn't. Many of my songs are not sold in itunes and I would like to find a way to add the artwork - no solution yet that I know of.
*I do not understand why the cut and paste method does not work*
As stated previously, there is no place to attach the artwork in a wav file so it cannot be done.
This is nothing new and has nothing to do with iTunes. wav files have never had a tag where artwork could be included.
When iTunes finds the artwork in the iTunes store, it stores it in the artwork folder.
When you play the song, iTunes will go find the correct artwork in the folder to display.
In other formats (mp3, AIFF, AAC and Apple Lossless), it is possible to cut and paste the picture directly into the ID3 tags.
Since the wav format does not contain any tags for artwork, there is no where to paste the artwork.
It's the iTunes application, not tags in the song file.
There are two ways to store artwork.
AAC, MP3, APple Lossless and AIFF have ID3 tag fields which artwork can be stored directly as part of the file.
WAV does not have this tag field.
iTunes will use this artwork if it's available.
iTunes can also look up the artwork from the iTunes store. This artwork is not stored as part of the file but stored in the Artwork folder.
There is no way to point iTunes to automatically get artwork from another source such as a jpg on your computer.
One way to partially address this problem would be to simply select one track (let's say, the first track) of each album in question, and convert it to a taggable format such as MP3 or AAC, setting the bit rate low so as not to waste storage space. You can then select these individual MP3s or AACs and add album artwork from external sources. Then, in your iTunes library, you can uncheck each of these MP3 or AAC files so they don't get in the way of playing your uncompressed albums, and the album art will still be "sort of" available to the rest of the tracks belonging to the corresponding albums. That is, as long as you're using the Album View or Cover Flow View modes in iTunes, you can see the artwork. If you click to enlarge the view, it won't work, since the artwork is only linked to (or stored within) the tagged MP3 or AAC file.
A better solution, if I'm free to suggest one, would be to convert your music to Apple Lossless and simply abandon Windows Media Player. With iTunes fully supporting modern incarnations of OS X and Windows, there's a good argument to just stick with iTunes.
I spent a very large amount of time and effort investigating and solving this issue. As Robert Jackson1 says, the solution is now to use Apple Lossless, a solution I invented (although I did not actually write it, that was down to Milenko Mitrovic). If you look at the January 8th 2007 entry on Milenko's website at http://www.dsp-worx.de you will see my name.
Thank you, thank you, you are not worthy
When I started my epic voyage to find the one true lossless format to rule them all, I first considered AIFF. Obviously iTunes and iPod supported this, and WMP can also as standard play it. However WMP cannot read any meta tags stored in AIFF files (Apple uses RIFF chunks to do this) and as a result, even though WMP will let you play them, it will not let you add them to its library. Therefore AIFF was eliminated. At this time, there was no solution to use Apple Lossless in WMP, not that I expected there to be as it is a proprietary format, so I next moved on to considering WAV. Both iTunes, iPod, and WMP could all let you play WAV files, and add them to the respective libraries, but as others have also said iTunes could not add artwork to them (this was before iTunes added the capability to download artwork from the iTunes Store). I therefore decided WAV was not acceptable as a solution. FLAC is not supported by iPod, or easily by iTunes so I ignored that as an option as well.
I was therefore going to reluctantly settle for AAC which is lossey but would work for iTunes, iPod, and WMP with artwork, but decided to look again at the possibility of Apple Lossless for WMP.
I knew there was no existing solution for WMP, but I decided to use a bit of lateral thinking and look at any solution for Windows that could do Apple Lossless. I did indeed find solutions for Foobar 2000, dbPowerAmp, WinAmp, and EAC, however none of these could be adapted for WMP. Just as I was about to give up again I came across BASS an audio software programming library for both Windows and Mac. A module had been written for BASS to play Apple Lossless, still no cigar but getting closer. I then found an MP3 filter for WMP that had been written using the BASS library and a BASS MP3 module, jackpot I thought. If this can be done for MP3 surely the same approach can be done for any module.
At this stage the Apple Lossless module for BASS had been discontinued, fortunately the source code had been released as open source. I then managed to get in touch with Milenko the author of that repackaged MP3 filter and persuaded him to take the open source Apple Lossless code and repeat the same process. After a first version which had a small bug, we now have a version which for me works perfectly in WMP10 and even in Microsoft Media Center. I have also had reports that it works with WMP11 and Vista, and even for streaming to Xbox 360 Media Center Extenders.
All you need is a) the Apple Lossless filter for WMP, and b) a plugin for WMP to let it read the meta tags in .m4a (MPEG4) files. There are two such plugins available, both work and both are free.
Either WMPTSE available here http://wmptagext.sourceforge.net/
or this one http://www.softpointer.com/WMPTagSupport.htm
I now have all my library of dozens of CDs shared between iTunes 7.4.2 and WMP (and Media Center 2005, and Firefly, and SlimServer, and Roku Soundbridge).
As Apple Lossless is lossless (and full CD quality) it can if necessary be converted to any other format e.g. WMA lossless, FLAC, etc. but really don't bother. Apple Lossless is now usable on more devices and programs than any other lossless format.
Note: You should also remember to fill in the Album Artist tag in iTunes as WMP relies heavily on it.