Announcing the Cover Art Archive

In a server update last April we quietly said that “we’ve also improved cover art support slightly.” What we actually did was release the first version of the Cover Art Archive, a cooperation between MusicBrainz and the Internet Archive. First, a little background:

Cover art (the images associated with music products) adds a great amount of value to the digital music experience. Many projects and apps on the net use these images to add color and depth to their music tools. However, there isn’t a cleanly organized, publicly available resource where everyone can access these images. You can use Amazon product images, but your project needs to be able to abide by their Terms of Service, which doesn’t work for everyone. Many projects use Google Images to source their cover art, but that is an inexact science since they may not always find the right image.

The Cover Art Archive aims to solve these problems by making these images available to the public. But since we are not lawyers, we can not say what can and can not be done with these. So use them at your own risk! That said, everyone on the internet is using these images anyway and the common understanding is that if you’re selling music you’re pretty safe. We suggest that when you try to figure out what to do, make sure that you respect the artists and their labels and make the music world a better place.

All images in the Cover Art Archive are indexed by the release’s MBID, and all metadata can be parsed by a JSON document. For instance, to fetch the front cover for any given release, construct this URL:

http://coverartarchive.org/release/76df3287-6cda-33eb-8e9a-044b5e15ffdd/front

Once you GET this resource, you will be redirected to the proper Internet Archive URL that yields either an image file or a 404 error if we do not have this image. For lots more details on how to use the Cover Art Archive, please take a look at our API documentation. So far, there are Java, C and Perl bindings to the API.

For some stunning examples of what people have already done with the Cover Art Archive, please take a look at these links:

So far, we’ve collected nearly 100,000 images that are attached to 54,000 releases for a 5% coverage in MusicBrainz. The largest file we have clocks in at 23MB and the largest image is 16,000 x 7842 (125 megapixels!). For all of the juicy stats on this project, check out our cover art statistics page.

We’ve just gotten started and we need your help! Won’t you please consider uploading some images to this archive? To get started, log in with your MusicBrainz account (or create a new one) find your favorite release and then click on the cover art tab to view the existing pieces of art and/or upload new ones. For more details, see our How to add cover art guide.

Thank you to everyone who has worked hard to make this project a reality! And thank you to Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive for fostering this project!

Server update, 2012-10-01

We’ve just finished pushing out an update today, which will be the last update before the schema change, which is now due in 2 weeks. Sadly, this release doesn’t feature the much anticipated relationship editor, which had to be reverted at the last minute as we still think it could do with more user testing. Hopefully it will make the next release!

This release features work from Aurélien Mino, Nicolás Tamargo, nikki, patate12, Pavan Chander, Ulrich Klauer and the MusicBrainz developers. Thanks for your work everyone!

Bug

  • [MBS-3825] – Release Editor is not displaying the release title on the tracklist tab
  • [MBS-3866] – Disambiguation comments can be the same
  • [MBS-3902] – Database allows artist type group with a gender set
  • [MBS-4614] – Country dropdown is sorted by English name
  • [MBS-4670] – "Relate to…" maybe should not add #relate_to hash to address bar URL
  • [MBS-4861] – Data loss: Changing release artist revert track numbers
  • [MBS-5019] – Release group with no name created
  • [MBS-5089] – Statistics: "unique" number of ISWCs is higher than "all" number of ISWCs
  • [MBS-5111] – Editor statistics data regularly falls out of cache, and cannot be recomputed
  • [MBS-5199] – Recording disambiguation comment is not removed when it should in RE’s recordings tab
  • [MBS-5240] – Adding an IPI code to an artist with IPI pending fails
  • [MBS-5241] – Add Medium/Add Release do not show up in recording edit histories
  • [MBS-5242] – Add Medium edits don’t always link recordings, even those that exist
  • [MBS-5250] – Non-specific dates create negative ages
  • [MBS-5264] – Track Parser results in edits changing durations on tracks in mediums with discids in some cases
  • [MBS-5295] – Webservice should distinguish between "" and NULL as a value for release->barcode.
  • [MBS-5298] – WikiDocs links are not scheme-independent
  • [MBS-5301] – gravatars do not get loaded over SSL when they should be
  • [MBS-5315] – ISE moving a discid
  • [MBS-5319] – QUnit testrunner is not compatible with current phantomjs versions.
  • [MBS-5335] – $entity is undefined in WebServiceStash.pm

Improvement

  • [MBS-1579] – Add Release editor: option to swap track title <> artist
  • [MBS-4066] – Simple RE parser speed boost
  • [MBS-4539] – Add h1 to release editor
  • [MBS-4831] – Exclude releases with pending art edits from the CAA report
  • [MBS-5152] – Allow removing a disc ID from the disc ID page
  • [MBS-5281] – Display relationships on release-group overview page
  • [MBS-5282] – language switcher should appear when number of languages > 1, not > 0
  • [MBS-5337] – Add more classes to entity pages and when displaying edits

Task

  • [MBS-2404] – Private mb dump files to be encrypted
  • [MBS-5169] – Add "Rock in China" to the "Other Databases" whitelist

The Git commit SHA for this release is ce2da4b67e39821348cd849ca1957b8e15c33f52, tag is v-2012-10-01.