Re-tag without losing current cover art?


** repost from **

I’ve already tagged my albums via Picard, but now I’ve changed some settings, so running albums through again. For some albums, Picard was unable to provide cover art, and so I add manually via Picard (drag and drop). The problem I’m having now is Picard keeps deleting, or rather refuses to keep current art work for those albums where I had to add manually. I tried disabling ‘Cover Art’ options one by one, until now nothing is selected, but still art work is removed.
Is there anyway I can re-tag and keep currently art work please?



Not sure. But next time, instead of just adding the local cover art to your files, consider adding it to the release on That then means other people have use of it, plus Picard will use it every time you retag.
Having said that, I also don’t know whether cover art adds are auto-edits for everyone, and if not, whether the edit has to go through for picard to use it.


Did you try adding “APIC” to the list of tags not to be overwritten?

( Tags / preserve tags )

Also: If you add covers online as normal user and uncheck the “download only approved” option, you should get it right away in picard after reloading the release (A few days ago, something was broken and it took up to 30 hours, but I think now it works almost instantly again).


Not 100% sure, but that Picard removes the cover art even if you have disabled cover art sounds wrong. Do you have “clear existing tags” enabled? That would explain it (even though this is not ideal).

It might also be worth trying the development version, there were quite a few changes regarding cover art.


Thanks for your replies. I am quite active in adding coverart, but this is not the full solution. Sometimes I prefer a different cover and the ASIN to digital copies does not pull the coverart.

Yes, I have “clear existing tags” enabled, but I still do believe this is a bug. Also, if you take a look at the other thread that I have linked, it is confirmed that there is a bug.

I am working based on a nightly built, which includes fantastic changes to coverart. Unfortunately, it does not solve the issue I am describing here. As you can see from the other thread, there may be a fix available, but it requires someone to test before it goes to the nightly built. I would be happy to do so, but don’t know how to compile.

I have not tried adding APIC. Does this address the issue?


A big issue is that clear existing tags does not what most users expect. It is currently a very technical option, that completely deletes the tag data from the file and adds completely new tags. People usually don’t expect that this also removes the cover art (but technically the cover art is just another tag). There has been some improvement with the keep tags option, but it is still not very satisfying for images. Luckily @zas is working on this, but it has not yet been merged into the development version:

In the meantime the best workaround is to disable “Clear existing tags”. If you are retagging files you had previously tagged with this option enabled this should not really be an issue, as tags unknown to Picard had already been removed.

Update: After re-reading the linked discussion in the old forums I see that it has already all been said there, summary:

  • The option “Clear existing tags” will clear all tags, including images. Disable it and images will not be removed.
  • You can already choose some tags that get preserved, unfortunately this does not apply to images
  • There is work in progress on PICARD-257 to add a new feature to preserve images when “Clear existing tags” is active


Yup, Picard-257 is trying to solve the issue. Can anyone compile what Zas did and try whether it solves the issue. If so, I understand the developers would be willing to include into the nightly builds. Thanks in advance!


It adds an option “Preserve image tags”, that will preserve existing images if “Clear existing tags” is selected. Yes, this will solve the issue. It looks clean and solid so far, but @zas expressed concerns that it should be tested by somebody. Once this has happened it will be merged and made available in the nightlies.


Thanks a lot. Does your email imply that you have tested it? If so, could it be merged? Also, if someone can provide me with a compiled test built, I am more than happy to test it.


Quick follow-up. Given this may now be tested by outsidecontext, could this be merged into the nightly builts?

I am waiting to retag my library, but this requires this features.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Anything still required to see this being merged? This has been tested by outsidecontext now.

Thanks in advance!


No, it hasn’t, yet. And posting here all the time won’t change that, as I don’t have the time at the moment. Why is disabling “Clear all Tags” not an acceptable workaround in the meantime? I mean that functionality has been this way since Picard exists, I am not quite sure why it suddenly is that urgent :slight_smile:

Update only selective tags

The ticket is open for four years (, so I thought it may be about time to get this sorted out :wink:


In my experience turning off all the cover art features in the preferences prevents this. I prefer to manually add cover art when I know I have good tags.


I am still facing the same issue that coverart gets wiped out when retagging. There seems activity in development, but not approved yet. Let me know if you need anyone to test. Thanks!


Can’t help you if you’re (still?) using the “Clear existing tags” (I never touch it myself – I frequently don’t want what MB has, and it really helps to keep my edited fields around), but if you aren’t, you can right-click the artwork and select “Keep existing artwork”. You have to do that for every track every time you load it, but it works.


Thanks for the message. Yes, I’d like to have the option to preserve artwork when selecting “clear existing tags”. As in feature request 257 from 2012. It wasn’t opened by me, but I agree this is a good feature request (and received 17 votes). There is even a PR ( and another user offered to test.

Is this something the developers are considering to implement? I am happy to test, but cannot code.


I’ve never tried it but there’s a plugin called Keep tags that sounds like it will do what you want in terms of keeping selected tags when Clear all tags is selected.


I think $keep would be overkill, but in any case it’s not possible to use scripts with artwork, so far as I know.

All we need is a way to add artwork to the “preserve these tags” list. I assume that hasn’t been done because of some technical barrier.


Keep is a misnomer. What it does is clear tags that are not marked to keep. So it shouldn’t clear artwork, but I haven’t tried it.