Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

iTunes Album Art from a Shared Playlist

iTunesArt.jpgEver since I moved my iTunes library to a server (where my photo albums also live) and just connect to it as a shared library from my laptop, I’ve always lamented that the album artwork isn’t visible—only when you’re playing the music locally. Or is it?

I was playing music from my server to my laptop tonight (and then streamed off again to an AirPort Express) with the brand new iTunes 7, and something happened. I just selected my entire library (no specific genre or playlist) and set it for shuffle. Eventually, a video podcast turned up in the shuffle. Since I have iTunes set to show videos in a separate window, that window dutifully appeared to start playing the video. I hit my key shortcut to advance to the next track, fully expecting the video window to go away. It didn’t. Instead, it refreshed with a visual of the album art for the next song—albeit a lower resolution version than what I know is saved with the song. And that window keeps updating with the current artwork! Unfortunately, I know of no way to invoke that album art window without playing at least one video podcast from a shared library, first. And, of course, you also have to have the “separate window” option enabled for playing videos.

Clearly it’s possible for iTunes to pull album artwork from a shared library. So why can’t it simply show up in the little area in the bottom left corner like it does when the music is local—on the same computer from which you’re playing it? And if it can, am I able to choose whether it shows the selected song or currently playing song—just like local.

In the graphic (click the thumbnail to blow it up), you’ll see a screenshot. The big window is the leftover video playback window that is now showing the album art, and you’ll see in the main iTunes window behind that I’m using a Shared library playlist and even have the currently playing song selected, yet the area in the lower left where the art should be still says Album Artwork Not Modifiable.

Tiny Update: I’m wrong about the low-resolution cover art. I just didn’t have high-resolution art for the song that was playing when I took the screen capture. I thought I did.

Anyhow, not exactly on the same topic, but since I’m referring to iTunes 7, I’ll also mention that in spite of all the talk about having to do things like make sure IPv6 is enabled and turning off some option in iTunes’ prefs about controlling from remote speakers (what’s that about)…I’ve done neither, and I can still connect to my AirPort Express just fine. Whether or not the fact that my APE’s router function is presently disabled and it is only configured to accept music streams has anything to do with my apparent immunity to the APE connection problems people have described remains to be confirmed.

» Posted by ALBj at 11:59 PM (ET)
Category: Mac


Hey, can you describe all the programs you have running on the right-hand side of the menu bar? I know some of them, but have been looking for some of the others. Thanks!

» Posted by Tanner Lovelace
September 14, 2006 02:43 PM


Adium Menu
Yahoo Mail Menu
Slim Battery Monitor
Timbuktu Menu
Sharing Menu
Date/Time module from You Control
Standard Bluetooth menu
TCP Monitor from Menu Meters
Standard Apple menus for volume, displays, modem, airport, and international…
You Control: Desktops
Apple Spotlight

» Posted by Lee Bennett
September 14, 2006 03:50 PM

If you click on the “Selected Item” bar at the top, it changes to “Now Playing”, and will display the cover art for a shared library song. More details at the url linked on my name. Also at your macosxhints hint:

» Posted by Hiren
September 15, 2006 11:21 AM

Sorry, due to comment spam abuse, new comments on this entry are closed until I find time to upgrade Movable Type and enable registration and moderation.