[Rbrainz-users] Cover Art and rbrainz

Philipp Wolfer phw at rubyforge.org
Mon Feb 9 15:57:00 EST 2009

Hi Charlie,

some notes in addition to Nicks great explanations.

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM, Charlie Hubbard
<charlie.hubbard at gmail.com>wrote:

> I know I can use the ASIN to find the cover art through amazon's cover art
> service, but I was hoping by using musicbrainz I could use all of the cover
> art services through it's advanced relationships (
> http://musicbrainz.org/doc/CoverArtSites)<http://musicbrainz.org/doc/CoverArtSites>.
> Is that not the case?

It's a little bit more complicated then it should be, and that alone would
be a good reason to put this functionality into some small library.
Currently if you want to get coverart from MusicBrainz you have to check
several sources:

1. If the release has an ASIN attached you can use Amazon as a cover art
2. If the release has a coverart AR you can use that in one of the following
2a. Cover art from cdbaby.com: The AR contains no direct URL to the image
file but to the release page on cdbaby.com. The URL to the image file can be
derived from that release page URL
2b. Cover art from jamendo.com: Same as cdbaby.com
2c. For other cover art sources the AR should point directly to the
downloadable image file

Have a look at the source code of the Picard cover art plugin at [1], it
shows how the different sources can be accessed and how you can create the
image URLs for Jamendo and CD-Baby.

Since this process is unnecessary complicated I think it would be good to
have the cover art functionality encapsulated in a library instead of
duplicating it in each application. And I think it could fit nicely into
RBrainz overall design. The reasons why I stopped working on this are

1. With the growing number of cover art sources in MusicBrainz and the
special cases like Amazon, CD Baby and Jamendo and often no properly defined
APIs this is a rapidly moving target. And I didn't want to maintain it.
2. I was not sure how to properly integrate this. It should be easy to get
the cover art with the library, but at the same time the user of the library
must have a way to specify the preferred result. All those sources provide
cover art in different formats and quality and under different licenses.
3. Cover art is most often subject to copyright limitations. I'm don't think
that this would have a real influence on RBrainz but rather on the program
using RBrainz, but I'm not entirely sure what implications this can have

The first point was the most important reason why I removed the cover art
functionality from RBrainz before it got released. If you are interested
have a look at revision 173 in SVN. It's lacking cdbaby support but should
otherwise work.

In general I would love to have a simple way to fetch coverart. If there is
demand for this function and point 2 gets fixed I would have no problem with
getting it back.


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