Really enjoying using MB and Picard to tag and organise, and fill in the blanks for others where I can. Finding the best cover art is proving a heavier going though.
When pulling the correct release into Picard to tag, the associated cover art might be missing or low qualty. It’s easy enough to “pop up” to the release group in the browser and see if that’s better. Most often though the best artwork is lurking down a level in another release that I need to search through.
I’ve written a small script to grab all the artwork for a release group so I can pick the best and drop in from a local file as “cover.jpg”. That doesn’t address what seems to be a database quality issue though.
It feels like the best artwork should be pushed “up” to the release group where possible and lower quality versions removed from individual releases. The release could then offer the implicit artwork of the release group if there is nothing more specific (like it way it does if there is an Amazon link now). A hierarchy, sort of.
However, I know people get nervous about deleting things, and what artwork might be best will be subjective. Are there any strong thoughts or opinions on this?
The Release Group cover can already be set from the Release Group page, but it is supposed to use the same art as the original release. Some releases get very different covers later in their life so automated options will not work.
As @jesus2099 points out - MB art isn’t about “best”, it is about “most accurate for that specific release”. Rear covers and Mediums are often very different between Releases. For example, you should not swap a low quality image for something found online unless you can show for certain it is the same image from the same version of that Release. Sometimes the differences can be subtle.
To be honest @highstrung, I don’t know. I assumed it was supposed to be based on the original release as that is what we do with Recording names, etc. But maybe it is the most common image? Or most recognised image?
I’ve been working on this Crass - Feeding of the 5000 and assumed the Release Group should be that original cover and not the more commonly recognised cover with a border. Every reissue of that album has changed what appears in the right hand margin. (Stands out well if you use @jesus2099’s must have FUNKEY ILLUSTRATED RECORDS)
Yeah - that’s what I mean. I look at the original release, and then find the best quality image that matches that. Which I agree is often a digital one (Bandcamp can be good for this). When it gets a puzzle is like the album I threw up as an example as the original release image is different to the more famous images of the album.
For the crass one I personally would a use a newer ‘cleaner’ cover, even if it’s had some elements added.
Just based off what people seem to want (based off forum visitors) when they’re tagging with the Release Group image. It’s usually not too complicated - a big square image that is recognisable and looks good in my player/a big screen.
Usually MB is all about strict rules but imo the Release Group cover art function feels a bit more ‘go with what looks nice’. But I don’t think there’s guidelines so ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Cover art for my Aussie release is highlighted red. It’s not great - 350x350px. Release group is yellow. That’s better - 2840x2834, but a little dark. The one highlighted green is the best IMHO - smaller at 1400x1400, but great colours and sharp. But it’s on a totally different release to mine, and there’s no way Picard would have ever found it.
To @jesus2099 's point, I’d argue all the artworks in those top three rows are the same, and correct for all those releases. It’s only the quality that differs, due to scanning technique, what “good enough” meant for whoever uploaded it, etc.
So, if we are happy to replace poor quality versions on releases with better quality, what’s the best way to do that? Do I upload 11 more copies of the same image (creating 11 more unique entries in the CAA)? Or can we move to a principle of least redundancy and have one copy of the file that several releases refer to?
Which brings me back to the idea of using RG artwork kind of like Amazon art. Make it it’s own entity, and if there isn’t anything specific defined for a release, present the RG artwork transparently through the MB backend instead. That way it doesn’t matter which order cover art preferences are set in the client (thanks for the tip @aerozol). The server will figure it out and the client will get something useful.
Or alternatively enable “Release Group CAA” by default. Is there a reason it’s not?
Either approach would allow for the guilt free cleanup of poor quality artwork, because if the RG artwork is better quality you can remove the crumby release artwork and the client side would still get something useful. The better RG artwork would still get suggested because there is no poor release artwork “blocking” it.
As to @aerozol and @IvanDobsky 's points about whether the RG artwork should be the original release or the best known, that’s probably going to remain a judgement call.
One of those options would be what I’m proposing. Keen to hash it out further if there’s interest.
This seems like the only workaround I can see to make sure no one is stuck with poor or no artwork if they don’t have “CAA Release Group” checked. Not suggesting I would actually do that - more using it to illustrate a usability gap for new users.
With that at least now a new user would get the better RG artwork so long as poorer quality artwork was removed from the release they had as their entry point. Otherwise Picard is going to suggest the crumby art first.
It is ‘enabled’ by default, yeah. But as you noticed, the default order is below the ‘release’ cover. So a new user needs to drag it to the top in the Picard options screen if they want the most ‘taggable’ art vs the correct art for their version.
To reiterate: (correct) artwork should never be removed from a release on the basis of quality, unless a better image of that exact release is added.
btw, just double checking that you have now dragged the ‘CAA Release Group’ to the top of the list (in Picard’s options) for your needs?
jimmy2bob wrote, " … ’ I’d argue all the artworks in those top three rows are the same, and correct for all those releases …"
If those are physical Releases and you have them all physically in front of you then you’d be well placed to make a sound judgement on that. Without the physical object however you would not be able to tell whether the screen image differences were due to different scanning technology and method, different printer inks, different environmental degradation of the print or different images being printed. (Unless you were the printer.)
A Release is defined by its coverart - if an Editor sees any difference in Coverart then they can create a new Release. If any of the Releases in the top 3 rows were created on the basis that its front coverart was different then ignoring that difference would introduce errors into the database and open a way for a duplicate Release to be added.
Just wanted to note that if the goal is to have high quality artwork that represents the release group or “album” best instead of having an exact scan of a specific release, then you might also look into the Picard plugins for fanart.tv and TheAudioDB.com . Both focus on giving you high quality images that best represent the general release. E.g. here is the cover art for Pink Floyds “The Dark Side of the Moon” on theaudiodb and the scan of the original Vinyl release on MB.
There are of course many possible cover art sources on the web. The reasons why I find both fanart.tv and TheAudioDB.com very interesting for Picard users is that both projects are also community driven and they both make use of MB metadata, that means those images are directly linked to a MB release group. With that different approach to handle cover art (cleaned, idealized artwork in standardized sizes) I think they both complement the CAA nicely.
Remember - MB is about identification, not tagging. It just happens to be a good place to find images. As @outsidecontext suggests, for tagging places like fanart.tv and theaudiodb.com give much prettier options.
@aerozol I was wondering about that Crass release as the iconic cover would be the Second Sitting LP with “Pay no more than £2.00” on the side. Trouble is many of the alternate images are sourced from Discogs and quite small. The only large images are reissues from 30 years later which would not be right. Also a search online brings up badly blown-up images only.
Before I started working on this Release Group it was suffering badly from “upload the same image to all the releases” issues. Too many of these incorrectly had that same wrong image attached.
I don’t know. I’d expect to see a recognisable cover, not something that was created 30 years later. The text on the right hand border is too different to the iconic cover. Same with the text at the bottom - a dash\hyphen has been added that didn’t used to be there.
My cover is a 1990s edition, meaning it is blank on the right. Otherwise I’ll get that photographed at a higher res and use it. And I ain’t going to EBay for this one as “Pay no more than £2.00” copies go for £100!! Woo! Capitalism!!
You have started me on a mini-mission now to find the best image I can of a “Pay no more that £2.00” edition.