Apple Music uses moving images as artwork/cover art/release art. Can we adopt?

So i recently noticed, that Apple Music’s cover artwork is moving. You might have already noticed that. I tried to search the MB forum for this new development, but couldn’t find a discussion. So i used a lot of synonyms in the topic name to be able to be found again. Below are three examples.
Since i am not familiar with web coding i do not know if it is possible to save these moving images and i do not know in which format they appear. But i sure would be in favor of reflecting these on MB.
Questions appear:

  • Is it possible by law?
  • Is it possible to copy these moving Apple Music thumbnails or larger versions?
  • Can the MB Database reflect these images?
  • Does MB want to display these artworks?

(the Lorde one needed to load a bit, maybe that differs)


None moves for me (Firefox for Android 68.11.0).

ok maybe it’s not working in your environment. i have Firefox 91.0.

news from 2020-12: Apple Music adding animated album artwork with iOS 14.3 and macOS Big Sur 11.1 - 9to5Mac

edit: i do not use an apple account and i am not logged in

I made a thread on this a few months ago. I think the answer was that CAA needs to adopt .webm for this to work.


Which would be a pretty huge undertaking, as working on videos (which these “animated pictures” are) is a lot more complicated than simply processing static picture files.

I only see them if I open up a release on my iPhone in the Music app. Looking at them on my laptop, they are always stationary. Tidal does this too now on some releases, but they are actually videos, which we can not upload currently as artwork.

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I haven’t seen something like this before, but it’s html5 trickery. If you download the image, it will not move at all. Integration of webp would be great, but it will not help in this case.

It’s a video element that’s manually taken out of the regular document flow using pointer-events: none. For example, the video for the first link is at this url.


Tidal also have videos on some releases…


a very late reply, but it seems the animated covers have now been added in-browser! i just don’t know how we’d retrieve them, because clicking “open image in new tab” just leads to the regular album cover.


It’s worth noting that Spotify has this too. I think it only works in the mobile app, though.
I know for a fact this release has animated cover art in the app:

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Last year, I’ve created a small userscript to extract these videos (in the highest possible quality), it adds download links on each Apple Music page with animated cover art for “HD” (1080x1080, H.264 video codec) and “4K” (2160x2160, H.265 video codec, has little/no(?) browser support) downloads:

It has two minor issues (because Apple Music is a single page app) which haven’t been fixed yet (as I don’t know how to do it without wasting more time to research them):

  1. It only works on page load, but not after you navigate the Apple Music website. Currently it requires a page reload to inject the links again for another release.
  2. You can’t simply click the links, you have to open them in a new tab or directly download via “save link as…” because the app intercepts external links.

i think you’re referring to canvases? i don’t know if this is good for musicbrainz though, because the artist can change it in their app very easily at any time. it’s used for promotion a lot. pop artists like to add it to every song in their discography so that anyone who listens to them will see “new song out now” or something in the now playing screen.

for example, on taylor swift’s birthday, she changed all of her songs to display confetti, but then changed it again a few days later.


I don’t think that’s what I was referring to. The animation I had in mind only appears when playing a track from that particular album.
Unless Spotify allows artists to use a canvas on one album at a time or something…

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it does! :smiley: it might even let you do a different canvas for each track, but im not positive on that, ive never tried it myself


That was already the case when I filed the two tickets above.

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Apple’s official name for animated cover artwork feature is Motion Album Artwork

Apple nowadays provides two version, square and portrait format.
But here comes the twist. File format is MP4 (what else) but videos are published as Apple’s HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) streams. Which is also expected, since they want the quality and size of the video to be adaptive to screen size and bandwidth of the user. But they used it for a tiny trick too. It seems Apple wanted to protect themselves from simple video file ripping. If one simply downloads the the MP4 file referenced in HLS files, a good eye will note video “jumps” and “skipping”, while the browser shows perfect endless loop. It’s because the HLS instructs browser to read parts of the video file in a special order to form the correct video :wink:
I’ve written a script which fixes the video files.


Probably old news, but I came across this while looking for artwork sources
Apple Music Artwork Finder by Ben Dodson which can return animated covers, if available
iTunes Artwork Finder by Ben Dodson which only gets you a low res image, and a high res image
Source for the second is available GitHub - bendodson/itunes-artwork-finder: iTunes Artwork Finder

Also these

I don’t know if any of these projects could assist someone who knows what they’re doing in putting together a plugin that can grab images from Apple Music?

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