I am an XP user who is exploring Linux OSs and apps - so I am not familiar with terminal commands and would like answers in plain English!

Using Rhythmbox 2.96 I can find and play the music tracks I have on my computer. Each track already has cover art originally associated with it by Windows Media Player. I don't know how the images are stored, filed or linked, but the album art images show in the My Music folder.

However..... when I play the music in Rhythmbox, the cover-art displayed in the bottom left corner of the screen seems to be totally random. The image displayed rarely corresponds to the track being played.

How can I ensure that the correct image is shown with each track?

EDIT: some further info. In my Rhythmbox screen when I click the Edit tab and look at Plugins, I see that Cover Art and Cover Art Search are listed and ticked - implying that both plugins are already installed. If so, where are they and how can they be activated or used?

  • Maybe that cover-art is already embedded in you music files by software you used on Windows? – Cornelius Apr 24 '14 at 13:16
  • Yes, Cornelius, I assume that Windows Media Player (through which I originally searched and found the album art image and other details for each track) has somehow linked or embedded the cover art with each track. The problem is that Rhythmbox seems unable to deal with the existing link. It "garbles" or confuses the images. I have some 500 music tracks. Track 1 is accompanied by the cover image from Track 342. Track 10 has an image that belongs with track 76.... and so on. Sometimes the same (wrong) image appears alongside a series of different tracks as they play in succession. – user273584 Apr 24 '14 at 13:42
  • Yes it happens to me too. Some players just display what is there and don't search on the internet for cover-art. – Cornelius Apr 24 '14 at 13:44
  • Sounds buggy, you could try another player? – fleamour Apr 24 '14 at 13:47
  • I also have Guayadeque and have experimented with that too. It plays OK, and searches and finds cover art. But in some other respects - like the way it lists and displays tracks - I find it less appealing than Rhythmbox. So if this one problem (of cover art displays) in Rhythmbox can be solved, it would be my preferred player... – user273584 Apr 24 '14 at 13:55


To explain why you have observed this apparent random display of coverart you need to understand what is happening behind the scenes.

The CoverArt Search plugin is the culprit here. It obtains coverart from a number of sources:

  • local cache (images in the track folder itself)
  • tracks themselves
  • lastfm
  • musicbrainz

However - it does this in a very "strange" way - it throws requests out to each coverart source provider all at the same time. As each source provider returns a result, it stores the coverart in its database cache located in ~/.cache/rhythmbox/album-art. Thus what you see is the result of all four searches - you maybe seeing coverart from tracks or you maybe seeing coverart from one of the internet providers. You have no control - its totally random.

To the solution

Out of the box, the only real solution you have is to disconnect the network when using Rhythmbox so to force rhythmbox to use either cached files or from the tracks themselves.

There must be a better way...

Well yes - there is and I know this, because I wrote it.


You need an external plugin called CoverArt Search Providers.

This has the key capability to allow you to choose where you want to download coverart from.

Even better - you can control the order - if you want track based art - just put your choice higher up the order.

If you are not interested in internet based coverart - dont add the internet based coverart providers.

If you are interested in coverart from a wider range of internet providers - well that's built-in - just look at the screenshot.

So have I sold this to you yet?

Lets install this. Its available in my Rhythmbox Plugin PPA as described in the linked question below. Add the PPA and install the package rhythmbox-plugin-coverart-search i.e.

sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugin-coverart-search

If you dont like to install PPA's, you can install directly using the instructions in my GitHub project page, reproduced here to complete the answer:

RB2.96 - 2.99:

sudo apt-get install git gettext python-mako python-mutagen python-requests python-gdbm python-imaging

rm -rf ~/.local/share/rhythmbox/plugins/coverart_search_providers
git clone https://github.com/fossfreedom/coverart-search-providers.git
cd coverart-search-providers

RB 3.0 and later:

sudo apt-get install git gettext python3-mako python3-requests python3-gdbm python3-pil python3-lxml

rm -rf ~/.local/share/rhythmbox/plugins/coverart_search_providers
git clone https://github.com/fossfreedom/coverart-search-providers.git
cd coverart-search-providers
./install.sh --rb3

cleanup coverart database

If you want a clean start to ensure that only the coverart from your tracks is remembered then delete the coverart database

 rm -rf ~/.cache/rhythmbox/album-art

Don't worry, next time you restart rhythmbox the database is recreated.

important point for RB2.96 users

Since you are using RB2.96, the Art Display plugin has a hard-coded dependency on the Art Search plugin. You cannot run both Art Search and CoverArt Search Providers at the same time.

To break the link (it doesnt do any harm!) then do the following:

sudo nano /usr/lib/rhythmbox/plugins/artdisplay/artdisplay.plugin

Change the line from Depends=rb;artsearch to Depends=rb

CTRL+O, and CTRL+X to save.

Alternatively, you can install the artdisplay plugin manually from this GitHub project

Linked Question:


It sounds like you need a good tag editor which also downloads cover-art from the internet.

Here is how to install it MusicBrainz Picard:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:musicbrainz-developers/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install picard

Now open it from the dash. Go toOptions - Options - Cover Art and check some Cover Art Providers. Also go toView menu and select Cover Art.

Now load your music collection in it by clicking Add Folder, select multiple files and press Lookup button. If it gets the tags and cover art as it should don't forget to save.

Now load your music in your favourite player and see the coverart.

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