Cover art uploads when proof is impossible

heya!! i am brand-new to MusicBrainz uploads (although i have used the site for years) and i have folders upon folders upon folders of cover art sourced from various places like Bandcamp, band websites, iTunes, music news/review sites, forums, etc. and i would like to upload them, not only to get them off my hard drive (they are taking up SO much space), but also to archive them. all of these covers are the highest quality i could possibly find anywhere on the internet, so i think they would be valuable to the site, but i don’t think it would be possible for me to provide proof for most of them, since i have been saving them for years (like this enormous scan of C A L M by 5sos that i’ve had since October 2020). i don’t remember the specific places each individual cover came from, and i’m not sure what to do about that. are all of my covers worthless without sources? i know i could upload them without any proof, as it isn’t required, but i would like to know the opinions of other community members before i do anything i maybe shouldn’t!!

thank you :^)))


hello and welcome to the community! :smiley:

They’re not worthless without a source, if you can explain where you got them from then that is helpful. If they already match (but are in a higher resolution) the existing artwork then that would be enough “proof”. Also if its possible to see that the same artwork is used on a streaming platform then that can be helpful too.

If you upload fan cover art, you do need to make a note that it is so; and if you’re uploading artwork for physical releases (such as back, medium scans etc.) you just wanna make sure they definitely match (correct label/cat numbers for example)


thank you !! i feel a lot better abt uploading things now :^))

i have a question abt this, though: there are a few scans i have that previously had either watermarks (like STEREO labeling) or dust/dirt/whatever, and some digital covers with explicit content labels or egregious artifacting that i have either edited out or cleaned up with Photoshop and/or other software, and i assumed those would just be inadmissible. would those count as “fan covers”? could i upload something like that?

also, all the scans that i have are just standalone front covers. they’re a minority of what i have saved so it’s not a big deal, but i’m assuming i just shouldn’t upload those at all (unless the edited ones, if they’re considered “fan covers”, wouldn’t need that information?? since technically they aren’t real? idk lol).

thanks again!

Just put “edited” in the Comment field if you have many any alterations.

This is a type (attribute) selection when uploading artwork, and is usually used for any cover artwork that has a big ol’ watermark slapped over it (some of Amazon’s artwork have a slightly transparent A marked across them) - of course if you can avoid uploading cover art with watermarks like these then the better.

Cover Art / Types - MusicBrainz is a good reference (although could do with some more examples, something I could look at some point)

I’d still upload them, if you’re concerned about size/spanking the bandwidth then worry not too much; the artwork presented on MusicBrainz is kindly hosted by The Internet Archive and they can process most images pretty quickly.

I’d say just upload what you’ve got, if you have anything you’re unsure of, come back here and drop the link to the edit you make and we can have a look :slight_smile:

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sorry!! i should have been more clear abt my concern; i have no way of knowing which particular release a scan is from, since the front covers don’t have info like that on them, so i wouldn’t be able to know which is the correct one to upload it to. i just don’t want to make incorrect contributions.

ty for the other info though !!

In that case then I’d try and do a bit of research on other databases/websites to see if that release had covert art variations; if the answer is no then you’re safe to upload, if the answer is yes then likely best to leave it

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If a lot of your stuff is digital sources, it should be possible to cross reference back to that source.

Loss of “parental guidance” and “stereo” flags can be tricky as now the image is not really the actual cover.

If there are links on the page you are uploading to for Digital Shops and\or Discogs - please use them.

The trickiest can be CDs. Different shape covers should not be uploaded. A classic error is CD Jewel case artwork used for a Digipak.

Artwork is used to identify versions. This is not a tagging website. So please be careful. If there is no art at all on the release, then there is no real harm adding yours - just make sure there is a note of “unknown source” or anything in the edit notes and\or comment. This then lets someone who is holding the true artwork now to double check.

A simple example popped up today:

That image looked close… but when compared to the real artwork (as found at Discogs) everything in the top corner is very different.

It may seem fussy, but MB is about accurate identification of a version of an album in your hand. And more popular a Release is, the more versions on CD\LP\etc world wide, the more those details are important. And the little details then really do matter.

And don’t get upset if you find an editor pounce on your artwork and go through a lot of it. See this as a Quality Control check. It is very common for some people to just Google any old random image and upload it. (Had a noob last week upload 10 images - and six of them were totally wrong) This is the last thing that MB wants or needs. Better to have no art than totally incorrect art. :slight_smile:

Don’t let us put you off, but expect people to be fussy. :slight_smile: You are likely to be safer with your digital art than physical art - but please do some research.


in these cases, do you think it would be appropriate to add these sorts of things as supplementary artwork? despite my hesitance, i do think it could be worthwhile to archive them alongside their original counterparts, as often the labels are not part of the artwork, which i think is just as important as the rest of the cover.

this was my original thought, anyhow. i may just refrain from uploading scans of any sort, at least the ones i currently have. the covers i have saved have all been for my use until now, which means they have mostly been scrubbed clean of anything that is not the actual artwork.

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If it was never on the product like that, then someone will come along and delete it. I have seen some editors delete promo and marketing images.

If there is no artwork at all on that Release, then an edited version is better to have than no image. I would add a comment to note “parental guidance logo removed”. It then guides people into what it generally looks like.

Some physical CDs do differ in audio content when those labels appear. The label tells people if the content still has sweary words in it or not.

The example single I linked above has all kinds of subtle variations on the CD, 7", 12", Digital Media and other versions. And those differences are important. There may only be seven versions in the DB, but each one has a subtle variation of the art, logos, font sizes and cropping.

I don’t want to put you off, but if you know you have altered the artwork then it is now not really the cover art. Instead it heads into the Fan Art territory of places like and TheAudioDB.

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i’m not put off!! this is what i figured would be the case when i first considered it. i still have plenty to upload, anyways :^))

ty for the feedback !!


It is all about the edit notes. The more accurate the detail the better. Even if it is “something I have had for ages and I think it pretty accurate”. That way if someone else is looking at it in five years time they can decide if your art is correct, or if the can replace it with a more accurate copy they know they hold in hand.

“found it on the internet” is as good as saying “delete me” :wink:

“Looks the same as the image on iTunes” means it is more likely to be trusted.


Fan made cover art should not be uploaded at all.

IMO these modified images should not be uploaded.
They are no longer representative or faithful.


OK not in the documentation, have updated this document with a section regarding… hopefully it makes sense

6 Likes If you are updating that page, it may be worth adding a better note about how MB art is for identification of the release. It is what I was taught early on and needs to be clearer. Many new users think MB is a tagging database and it would be good to get that reference in there.

I know I waffle too much and say things in a negative way. Never meant. Just the way my head works. But that post with the images up there was going some way towards doing a “spot the difference” and why it is important. Haha - could almost make a game of it with those two images. Even without touching the colours there is at least six differences between those two images.

(Sorry - have spent way too many hours on little differences in release images \ CD…)


Welcome to MusicBrainz! I am glad you have found value in what the contributors have added to the database over the years. I am even more glad that you are ready to make your contribution.

Well, the Cover Art Archive, which is hosted by the Internet Archive but is accessed via MusicBrainz, is one place to upload them. However, as other replies are pointing out, the Cover Art Archive is not just about the cover art, but about its relationship with a specific Release. It sounds like you do not always have information about that relationship. Thus, one way to think about it is, from a MusicBrainz database point of view, your collection is incomplete.

Another option is to upload this artwork directly to the Internet Archive. That preserves the artwork, but does not make claims about relationship with Releases that you aren’t sure of. Maybe start with their Uploading – A Basic Guide page.


Super nice Fan art addition to the cover art doc! :grinning:
Thanks very much!

Welcome! Wooo, cover art!!

As previously stated:

  • Be cautious with cover art if you don’t know what release it belongs to. With scans that include the back cover and disc etc there’s usually no doubt though.
  • Edited images do not belong on MB at all, but is a great place for it! It’s not that we don’t appreciate the hard work that goes into ‘cleaning’ images etc, just that here isn’t the home for it. is accessed by lots of applications and is a great way of sharing your editing work. And Picard supports tagging with pics

On that note I have added where to put fanart/edits to’s wiki changes, further edits welcome


I’ve added a new section that should hopefully explain that somewhat