How-To: Get MP3 Album Art on Your Nokia N95 (or S60 phone)

20 May

I’ve been wrangling with the N95 Music Player application for the better part of a night, trying to get album art, or those little JPEG files that you can embed into an MP3 file’s ID3 tags, working with a foolproof method. Whether you’re copying MP3 files to your device for the first time, or just making some sense out of the Music Player’s screwy-ness when updating, this mini-tutorial should clear up any problems.

The definitive guide to bringing the album art to your N95 or S60 or Nseries device.

MAIE: Most Annoying Icon Ever

An Introduction

Yes, you can change the Album Art on demand with the N95 and any other S60 phone. This is a very bad idea because the application does NOT embed the image in the tags correctly, so you won’t see the album art in Windows Media Player, your PSP, or wherever your songs end up.

What You Need: Mp3Tag, Album Art in JPEG format

The first thing you’ll need is a good MP3 tagging application. The best one I’ve used (and the one this tutorial is based on), is Mp3Tag. It’s free, easy to use, and it works. Good enough for me.

Embedding Album Art Into the MP3 Files

Skip this part if you’re happy with the art already embedded into your music files.

This assumes that the songs are stored on your hard drive, and that you’ll be copying them to the phone later. If this is not the case (the files are on the phone, and you’re directly editing those with Mp3Tag – MAKE SURE YOU READ THE SECTION “Some Things to Check For BEFORE Running Music Player” AFTERWARDS!

Once Mp3Tag is downloaded and installed, give it a whirl. You’ll see a panel on the left with some ID3 tag information, as well as the white main box that lists the MP3s that you want to update.

Open up the folder that has the MP3 files you want to tag with Album Art. Select the files, and drag them into Mp3Tag’s main box. Mp3Tag should display some default information (filename, song title, album) which you can change to your liking. Select all of the songs (Ctrl-A or just click and drag), and right click on one of them – then choose the Extended Tags option:

Get MP3 Album Art on Your Phone - Dialog

This should bring you into the Tag Editor, which lists the available meta tags for the album as well as the current cover art. If you’d like to add some extra tags (like Genre, Composer, Studio) you can do it here.

At this point you can drag and drop the JPEG image into the box with the record icon in it, like so:

If there’s already an image in the box that you’re happy with, check to make sure the text underneath says “image/jpeg”. NOT “image/png”, since the Music Player seems to have problems with PNG files.

[* Looking for cover art? The best place is Google – just do a search for the album in question, and click the Images tab on the top of the page to hit up Google Images. Pick one of the images that has a minimum 120×120 pixel resolution – just remember, the bigger the image, the slower the album art will take to load. Personally I wouldn’t go above 500×500. The actual image does take some space in the MP3 file, but it’s generally pretty small, around 15-40k.]

Hit OK and wait for Mp3Tag to save the music files. Then upload them to the N95.

Some Things to Check For BEFORE Running Music Player

First, if you are modifying existing files that are already on your phone (either updating them by copying from your hard drive, or using “Mass Storage Mode” via USB and editing the MP3 tags directly, you’ll need to make some minor changes. These changes involve renaming either the MP3 file name OR the name of the folder that it resides in. This way, you can fool the brilliant Music Player into thinking it’s a completely new file. Otherwise, Mr. Music Player will not recognize your changes and will keep displaying the old MP3 tags!

The best way to do this is just to put all the album songs into a folder with the group’s name and the album after it. (ie “Green Day – Dookie”) Renaming each file individually isn’t a fun prospect.

If you’re copying music files to your N95 for the first time, then you don’t have to worry about this.

The Final Test: Music Player

Okay, you got this far. Fire up the Music Player software on the N95, and it should give you an ambiguous “Opening” box for a couple of seconds. Hit the Options button (left softkey) and choose Refresh Music Library.

Now browse to your new album, and check to make sure that the album art loads. If everything worked out perfectly, congratulations! (otherwise head down to the troubleshooting section)

Troubleshooting

  • Duplicate songs in your Music Player: go back to the root/main menu and do another Options -> Refresh Music Library. This happens sometimes after renaming files and the Music Player doesn’t refresh the first time around.
  • Still no album art: Add the album art again but use a different picture this time around. Make sure the picture is a genuine JPEG, not a PNG or GIF or anything else. (AND you must rename the folder or files afterwards)
  • Do not use the N95′s built-in Change Album Art option! It does not add the correct tags to the music files!
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