I have a well structured music library in Banshee. I used to just use folders for years so I've always been pretty good at maintaining a strict filing system. I say this not to brag (it did waste a lot of my time, after all) but to explain that my end-game should be possible.

Until Banshee, I never really had any use for album art so when I started using it, I used its Album Art Finder to (painstakingly) go through all 8000-odd albums. My understanding is that Banshee has these files scrobbled away in a cache directory somewhere with a meaningless name attached to them.

I've recently moved into the world of the Squeezebox. It's awesome but I'm having problems getting it to see the existing album art because Banshee has it locked away in its own directories rather than putting it in the "right" place.

So I'm looking for one of two solutions, both parsing Banshee's database to:

  1. Preferred: Copy the art file out as /artist/album/cover.jpg (the Squeezebox server will understand this).
  2. Embed the art into each MP3/FLAC/OGG/etc (this requires all formats to support blob metadata)

Edit: Just found all the art in ~/.cache/media-art with names like album-f952aa94b80de0b31b8979d70d5605e2.jpg as I suspected.

If there's a good way of correllating "f952aa94b80de0b31b8979d70d5605e2" to an artist, that's what I'm really after.

  • The naming follows the Media Art Storage Spec: live.gnome.org/MediaArtStorageSpec. Since the spec uses the MD5 of artist/album metadata, there's no good way to reverse the filename into meaningful information. Your best bet is to come up with a script that looks through Banshee's database. Oct 11, 2011 at 18:51
  • Well that's what I thought (says it just before the two options) but actually reading that link, as I have a good file structure to my songs, I could parse each directory, generate MD5s for artist and album, see if there's a cover for that in media-art and then copy it over. I sense a simple bash script in this.
    – Oli
    Oct 11, 2011 at 19:17
  • I just noticed that Banshee doesn't appear to follow these guidelines. The files in media-art only have a single hash rather than two hashes.
    – Oli
    Oct 15, 2011 at 23:57

4 Answers 4


Based on the MD5 lookup in Oli's script (thanks!), I've written a Python script that uses the eyeD3 module to find MP3s, look up the album artwork from Banshee's cache, and embed the artwork inside the MP3s. It skips any files that already have artwork embedded.

It's not perfect, but it worked on about 90% of my MP3s, and you can manually handle any exceptions using EasyTag. As it stands the script expects the MP3s to be two directory levels deep from the target directory (music root/artist/album). The script prints a report once it's done highlighting any files it couldn't process or for which it couldn't find artwork.

Obviously you need to install Python and the eyeD3 module to use it:

#! /usr/bin/env python

import os, sys, glob, eyeD3, hashlib

CACHE_FILE_PREFIX = os.getenv("HOME") + "/.cache/media-art/album-"

def embedAlbumArt(dir = "."):
    artworkNotFoundFiles = []
    errorEmbeddingFiles = []
    noMetadataFiles = []
    mp3s = findMP3Files(dir)

    for mp3 in mp3s:
        print "Processing %s" % mp3

        tag = eyeD3.Tag()
        hasMetadata = tag.link(mp3)

        if not hasMetadata:
            print "No Metadata - skipping."

        if hasEmbeddedArtwork(tag):
            print "Artwork already embedded - skipping."

        artworkFilename = findAlbumArtworkFile(tag)

        if not artworkFilename:
            print "Couldn't find artwork file - skipping."

        print "Found artwork file: %s" % (artworkFilename)

        wasEmbedded = embedArtwork(tag, artworkFilename)

        if wasEmbedded:
            print "Done.\n"
            print "Failed to embed.\n"

    if artworkNotFoundFiles:
        print "\nArtwork not found for:\n"
        print "\n".join(artworkNotFoundFiles)

    if errorEmbeddingFiles:
        print "\nError embedding artwork in:\n"
        print "\n".join(errorEmbeddingFiles)

    if noMetadataFiles:
        print "\nNo Metadata found for files:\n"
        print "\n".join(noMetadataFiles)

def findMP3Files(dir = "."):    
    pattern = "/".join([dir, "*/*", "*.mp3"])   
    mp3s = glob.glob(pattern)
    return mp3s

def hasEmbeddedArtwork(tag):
    return len(tag.getImages())

def findAlbumArtworkFile(tag):
    key = "%s\t%s" % (tag.getArtist(), tag.getAlbum())
    md5 = getMD5Hash(key)
    filename = CACHE_FILE_PREFIX + md5 + ".jpg"
    if os.path.exists(filename):
        return filename
        return 0

def getMD5Hash(string):
    string = string.encode("utf-8")
    md5 = hashlib.md5()
    return md5.hexdigest()

def embedArtwork(tag, artworkFilename):
    tag.addImage(eyeD3.ImageFrame.FRONT_COVER, artworkFilename)
    success = 0
        success = tag.update()
        success = 0
    return success

if __name__ == "__main__":
    if len(sys.argv) == 1:
        print "Usage: %s path" % (sys.argv[0])

I wrote this little script that follows what Banshee does (which is slightly different to the proper specs).

In short, this loops my music directories and, forms a hash based on the artist and album (from directory names), looks for a file with that hash in and if it exists, copies it into the album's directory. Simple.



cd /media/ned/music/

for f in *; do 
        cd "$f"
        for al in *; do
                THUMB="${TPATH}album-$(echo -ne "$f\t$al" | md5sum | cut -b1-32).jpg"
                if [ -e $THUMB ]; then
                        cp $THUMB ./cover.jpg
                        echo "/media/ned/music/$f/$al/cover.jpg" >> ~/coverlog
        cd ..        

The echo to ~/coverlog is just there to catch where files have been copied to (in case something goes wrong and you need to delete all the cover files this writes.


To make sure I found all albums, I needed to normalize the string to NFKD before hashing. I solved it in python by:

def strip_accents(s):
    return unicodedata.normalize('NFKD', s)

My whole script is based on alphaloop's solution, yet i switched to mutagen to also deal with flac and m4a:

def getArtistAlbum(musicfile):
     """ return artist and album strings of a music file """
     import mutagen

     # key of stored information per file extension
     keys={'flac': ('artist','album'),
           'mp3': ('TPE2','TALB'),
           'm4a': ('\xa9ART','\xa9alb')}

     # read the tag
     tag = mutagen.File(musicfile)
     # get extension of musicfile
     ext = os.path.splitext(musicfile)[1][1:]

        return tag[keys[ext][0]][0], tag[keys[ext][1]][0]
    except KeyError:
        return None,None

I've used alphaloop's script and it worked fine, but it works just for MP3's and my music library is mostly FLAC and OGG, so I wrote a little Java command line tool to migrate all covers regardless of the file type.

You can find it here: BansheeArtworkWriter

It took aproximately 11 minutes in my 2.7k files music library and it migrated all of the covers, follow the instructions in GitHub's readme and it should be easy for anyone to run it.

Hope it helps someone else.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.