Cover Art Replacement Etiquette?

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I’ve been on a tear finding original CDs from Ned’s Atomic Dustbin and ripping them, updating missing MB data, and in general just doing “improve metadata” scutwork. I have done 600dpi scans of all the CDs I’ve gotten and cropped and color corrected them in Photoshop. In pretty much all cases, they are better quality scans than what’s in the MusicBrainz metadata now (over 2000 pixels in size, cleaner scans, etc.)

I’m pretty new to doing anything with MB other than letting Pickard update my MP3 tags, so I don’t want to step on any feet. Should I just do “Add Cover Art” and move the image over to be the first one? Or is there something else that should be done before wholesale messing with other people’s existing uploads?



If someone else actually scanned cover art for these CDs, maybe leave it with a descriptive comment on it? Otherwise I’d say delete duplicates when you add a better version. Often they’re just sourced from the internet.

You might be interested in this discussion from when I was in a similar boat: Advice on scanning cover art

As a first step, I say yes, do that. If someone thinks your scanned images are not well “cropped and color corrected in Photoshop” there is still a choice.
Just my 2 cents.

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I’ve also been doing lots of scanning of art this last year or two. And here are my main methods.

This is powered by wanting to see exact images, trying to stick to guide lines, but not having lots of clever editing abilities. Levels of OCD also kick in as I want this as correct as possible. There are also guidelines to follow.

First I am not a heavy photoshopper (can’t afford a licence) - so generally upload what I scanned at 600dpi but carefully cropped and saved as an 80% JPG. I don’t think an image should be changed or “improved” from the original, but I have sometimes painted out the odd tear.

The point of artwork here at MB is not to be pretty, but to help identify different editions. (But I am using this in my media centre too)

Even on my 50" TV screen it is hard to spot the difference between 80% JPG and a PNG - but some prefer the PNG, but I prefer my disk space.


When I look at a Release first I will carefully read the edit notes. See when artwork appeared.

Was the artwork all uploaded at the same time by the same person? Or lots of random sources?

If artwork is uploaded and NO comment added by that artwork uploader, then I delete it and replace with my scans.

If the artwork is under 1000x1000 - I am likely to replace.

If it came from Discogs - I’ll replace with scans.

If it is someone else’s scans, then I am likely to leave it alone. I’ll check they have everything - maybe I can add a few pages of the booklet.

ALWAYS add lots of notes to your scans. Make the source clear.

You soon get to spot the names of the better uploaders. :wink:


The BIGGEST issue I see though is many people don’t actually look at the details. Some artwork is thrown up here as it “looks close enough”. This is why I can be aggressive at replacing artwork without upload comments. No comment - then I’ll assume it wasn’t checked at upload time.

If it is scanned by someone else - I will rarely replace it. (Think of how annoyed you would be if you had your scans replaced for no real gain…)

Much more important is actually LOOKING at what the artwork is. Really close. I mean stupidly close at the exact details. Read every word on both back covers. Maybe even flip back and forth with them both on screen. Albums that have been re-released many times have all kinds of stupidly subtle differences. Changes of Label, Price Codes, just subtle tiny changes in that small print. Or a change of a price code.

This is worse on an album like Pink Floyd’s Animals that has been around for almost 50 years, and constantly changing copyright owners. You should be in a better place with NED.


OK cool. After reading some of those threads and other comments I actually want to go back and re-scan what I did with an eye towards doing a better job of eliminating moire with technique, but otherwise leaving things alone. The photoshopping I did was only really removing a couple of dust bits here and there and messing with levels to match the eye test… the scanner tended to wash out blacks a bit and such.

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.


Oh wow, tried the double-scan technique on Ned’s Atomic Dustbin - Shoot The Neds! and holy crap it turned out nice. The scanning takes a bit more time, but you make it up on not having to edit so much during cleanup.

What is the double-scan technique?

A method of doing something different when scanning, merging two images?

My google results give me lots of medical / prosthesis related results.

Scan it, turn it upside down, scan again, merge the images.

By doing this it improves the lighting of paper texture on the image.

Problem is I think you need something like Photoshop to really make it work as I can never line things up well enough in Paint.NET.


It seems like a tedious way to obtain blurry images. :wink:
I prefer sharp pictures, be they with small defects, than interpolated stuff that hides the paper texture and/or blends the printed colour dots (quadrichromie).


I agree with you @jesus2099 - the images are more real if they still have imperfections.

The worst ones are where you see someone has adjusted the colours so much that all the whites are now unnaturally white whites and you find yourself looking at something created in MS Paint instead of having spent 40 years on a shelf.

MB images are about identification of the product. If over edited art is required, that is where sites like come in.