I think I'm giving up on iTunes Match. I've spent countless hours organizing my iTunes library, scanning or sourcing beautiful artwork, searching out the best mastering of my favorite albums (spending too much $!), carefully fixing all metadata. iTunes Match basically screws all this up. The artwork problem is obvious from this thread. Now I've realized that when I match an entire album, iTunes Match may pull songs from differently mastered albums! So Track 1 may be from a newer louder remaster and Track 2 will be from an older softer master. On my iPad I'll sort by artist and will see 1 Badfinger album, even though there are 3 Badfinger albums (I can find them if I view by album - all metadata is correct in iTunes).
I realized the other day that I never expect to see artwork on my iPhone anymore - and there rarely is any artwork - seems like it has gotten worse! The terrible new iPad Music app looks really terrible because of all the blank artwork and the lack of list view on all screens.
I love iTunes. I'm just not having as much fun with it trying to trick Match into working the way I want it to. iTunes (without Match) + MOG or Spotify seems like a better solution.
This sounds very similar to my problem. Yours is graphics, mine is other metadata. Regardless, I keep seeing people posting that iTunes Match service does not change Song metadata which is total B.S. Match IS replacing metadata as it see's fit, and it's quite annoying.
FWIW, here is my thread...
I realize there are some (partial) workarounds. I just came to the conclusion that iTunes Match isn't worth the trouble. It served it's part by upgrading some low bitrate files (but I don't like that I don't know WHERE the iTunes Plus versions came from - original release, remastered version, greatest hits collection???).
I've turned off Match - wow, not easy on my iOS devices - they didn't want to let go! Now I have my beautiful consistent artwork, metadata, etc on my iPad and iPhone. Feels good! I'd forgotten what it was like to modify artwork without following a 12 step process...
This thread is about changing existing artwork. The thread you linked to is about adding new artwork where it is missing.
It seems that the only solution to this (multiple people have given this same solution here in this thread already) is to delete the tracks from the cloud and then re-upload them with the new artwork in place.
PITA when you have over a hundred tracks whose artwork you want to change.
Even after a few weeks I still haven't finished uploading all of my tracks to the cloud (I have lots of house, techno, electronic and personal music in my library that the itunes store doesn't have), so having to delete and re-upload hundreds of tracks just to change artwork doesn't make me happy.
So far I've had success with a different workaround. Not really any less cumbersome, but when using the other work-arounds and deleting songs out of iTunes, I would lose Last Played and my Play Count, which are big deals to me as well.
I would Get Info on the song or album and delete the artwork, then Update iTunes Match. The old artwork reappears. I then reselect the song or group of songs and right-click. Whereas before, there was only an option to Download Artwork, now an option appears to Clear Downloaded Artwork (since iTunes "downloaded" the missing artwork during the sync - I do have the artwork auto-download setting turned off). I then choose Clear Downloaded Artwork and Update Match again and the song/album remains clear - no artwork is added back via Match.
After that, I can add my own artwork and whenever I Update Match again, my added artwork remains in place.
I've managed to force iTunes to keep the new artwork I've added. However that's only half the story.
But try this on one of your albums... (sorry if I'm repeating anyone else's method)...
1) With iTunes Match ON, ensure your test album has either been fully uploaded or matched. If it's been matched and your copy isn't the 256kbps copy, then just delete the album from your library (be sure NOT to delete it from the cloud) and then redownload it. This step is simply to ensure that you aren't tempted to re-download it later after you've gone to the trouble of updating the artwork.
2) Now turn iTunes Match OFF
3) Make your changes (e.g. deleting the artwork from all tracks of that album, and pasting a new/better image into that album)
4) Now turn iTunes Match back ON. Let it go through it's whole update process. The newer copy of your artwork should now remain unchanged in your library. Try waiting for a bit and see if that's the case.
You can even "Update iTunes Match" now, and your library artwork still shouldn't revert back to the old version.
All of this is still useless if iTunes Match isn't actively updating the artwork in the cloud, and then sending that new artwork to any iTunes Match enabled devices attached to your library. Because that's the problem I am still having. My iPhone never gets the newer artwork.
Totally weird, Apple. Please hurry up and fix this kind of BASIC editing functionality in iTunes/iTunes Match. Otherwise, what's the point? How could the Match service go live with such an unrefined/confused editing ability? It's a service for music fans and collectors after all, and such problems were never going to go unnoticed by the types of people likely to need 25,000-song cloud storage.
I spoke too soon...I tried it with 3 albums that did not have artwork in the cloud, but did on my local library. So for those 3 albums I did what fewpix suggested and got those to have artwork on my iDevices. However I had HUNDREDS of albums that had very low res artwork and I tried his trick and it did not work.
I don't think there is a solution for "upgrading" your artwork for tracks that already have artwork. What I am doing for new tracks is making sure the artwork is hi-res before adding into iTunes and then it populates in the cloud fine and works on all iDevices.
Sorry I posted prematurely on a "fix"...I was just too excited it worked for 3 albums and thought we had a fix. Bummer.
You are EXACTLY spot on man. In order for your local iTunes Library to get new updated artwork and NOT change you have to turn off itunes match > update > turn back on itunes match. I figured that out the hard way and spent tons of time fixing and refixing songs. I wish you had posted that like 2 days after iTunes Match was released...:-)
I think we are all in the same boat roughly...local library is 100% right but nothing gets updated to the cloud.
Also some of my playlists don't get updated on my iDevices and not sure why...
I know I'm getting a little off-topic here, but.... I have to warn anyone who is picky about their iTunes library (everyone who would be posting here!) that iTunes Match can really screw things up. I have turned Match off, but that was not so simple. I realized that lots of artwork I hadn't touched since turning on Match had also been screwed up. A number of tracks I upgraded with Match were corrupt (can't change artwork, or won't play on iPad, etc). I still had iCloud icons on some artists on my iPad after turning off Match - this required restoring my iPad and manually deleting some tracks from iPad, and reimporting some corrupt tracks to iTunes. Match corrupted some playlists: after turning off Match I couldn't add tracks to some of my playlists because it said they were "In the Cloud". A number of playlists I had worked on for years just disappeared. Supposedly the "playlists in the Cloud" bug requires Apple wiping out your Match/iCloud music on their end (even after you turn off Match your Match libary is still in the Cloud and can somehow mess with things!). I really can't imagine ever taking a chance on Match again - I have literally spent days trying to fix everything it screwed up.
Just to continue (and thanks for confirming Jeff)....
I actually think the symptoms of this problem may have changed a little.
Recently I have found that, even with iTunes Match turned ON and after new additions to my library have been "matched" and already appear on my iDevice, I can now change the cover art for those titles in iTunes and not have it automatically change back to whatever Apple/iTunes thinks it should be, in iTunes.
My experience as of today is this:
1) Turn off "automatically download missing artwork", under iTunes Preferences - General. (Let's face it, if you are fiddling around to ensure your artwork is nice high resolution, you don't need this feature turned on - just search www.albumartexchange.com for all your artwork needs and paste it in yourself).
2) With iTunes Match turned ON, now add a new album to your library (from either CD or existing MP3 files)
3) Now make your changes to that album's artwork as necessary (e.g. adding it, or deleting the existing artwork from all tracks of that album, and pasting a new/better image into that album)
4) Trigger the update process (Store menu - "Update iTunes Match")
5) At this point your new artwork will no longer change or revert back to some earlier version at all (like I think it was for me about a week ago).
6) Furthermore, if you DO NOT view this new album on your iDevice (viewing the album triggers it to download to your iDevice) UNTIL you have already done Steps 3 and 4, your iDevice won't ever get the crappy/blank artwork for this album, and will in fact only download the updated artwork you pasted in during Step 3.
It currently seems to me that once an iDevice downloads artwork, it holds onto that artwork. It won't update that artwork later, no matter what you do in iTunes. So this is obviously still a stupid bug.
Even if the artwork was initially "blank"... if you viewed the item whilst it was blank (even just scrolling past it in your Music app etc), it will continue to remain blank even if you go changing the artwork later.
However, if you do all your artwork updates in iTunes BEFORE viewing it on your iDevice, you should actually end up with only the artwork you settled on.
Crazy, but that's my theory at the moment anyway.
And actually, some more bugs related to my iPhone simply not updating with fresh changes...
I recently imported 3 albums into iTunes (with Match turned on), called:
Volume 1: Sound Magic
Volume 2: Release
Volume 3: Further In Time
(all by the band Afro-Celt Soundsystem, in case you're wondering)
Except at the time I imported them, Volume 1: Sound Magic was incorrectly titled "Sound Magic" (my mistake).
After updating iTunes Match and viewing these albums on my iPhone BEFORE fixing that incorrectly titled album, "Sound Magic" of course then appeared under albums beginning with "S" in my Music app, while the other two albums appear under "V".
But then I changed the title to "Volume 1: Sound Magic", updated iTunes Match, and what happened? The title actually updated correctly on my iPhone, but STILL APPEARS UNDER "S" in the albums index.
I have a load of music videos. Most of them did not have an "Album Artist" specified in iTunes, and therefore appear on my iPhone only in the Video app (which is correct).
However, a couple of them did have the artist name in the "Album Artist" field, and therefore when they reached my iPhone via Match, I ended up with some album entries called "Unknown Album" in the album index of the Music app. Open one of these entries then shows a list of music videos belonging to a particular artist.
So of course, I cleared both the "Album Artist" and "Album" fields for these entries in iTunes, to make them the same as all the other music videos. And then updated iTunes Match. But of course, Match just ignores this change and my iPhone continues to show these items listed under Albums in the Music app.
And on it goes. Both bugs are perhaps further evidence that, once the music app initially gets a new entry, some aspects about that entry can't be changed. (unless you delete the content completely from the Cloud and start again).
I have the same problem. I made sure to embed the newly changed artwork to the individual music files on my original Mac, but iMatch keeps changing it back to previously uploaded artwork. So NOT only in the Cloud, but also on my originating device. This is very frustrating and lost me a lot of time! Let's hope Apple comes up with a fix.
The funny thing is that many users might actually appreciate the 'service' of providing artwork, but if you're interested in optimising it is clearly unwanted for iMatch to mess with the files on your device!
(btw: the change to 10.6 did not solve this problem)