Replacing cover with identical quality but smaller file size?

hello there. in my workflow of adding new music to my collection I always check the existing cover on MB. sometimes there is the situation where the best image I could find has the exact same image quality (down to compression artifacts) but smaller file size than the one on MB. I’m wondering if I should replace the image in these cases.

I think I’ve read somewhere that the cover art archive actually doesn’t delete any images when they are removed on MB. is there even any point in this then?

usually when this thing happens the image that is already on MB was sourced by Itunes. which in my experience are often guilty of blowing up file sizes without any difference in image quality. it seems like they simply recompress the image with 100% jpeg quality.


Even if CAA doesn’t delete old versions, you’d save bandwidth and storage for future users of the image.

I wouldn’t dare to judge jpegs myself, but even then it would still be valid for optimally compressed pngs or other cases of lossless compression.

1 Like

Complex issue. You will potentially upset someone. :laughing:

I upload 85% compressed JPGs of my scans as I don’t want my artwork taking up more space than my music. Other people upload 40MB PNGs.

Different monitors show up different image quality.

If you are talking about swapping a digital media shop image for a different shop’s image then I guess you’ll get less complaints.

If you download an iTune image, compress to 50% and upload then you will get a complaint.

Generally people seem to like bigger the better. The main point is the user can always compress\resize their local copy, but can never put back what someone else had compressed.


That’s the reason I like the big ones!

That and because the Internet Archive/MusicBrainz already offer resized JPG’s for anyone:

Related ticket here for a 3000x3000 jpg auto-resize, for those who want big resolution images but still want to avoid a 40MB PNG.


I’m also a fan of large cover art, doesn’t bother me because I got the disk space for it. Just like @aerozol mentioned, if someone doesn’t want to save the original file, they can always get one of the resized options.
I’m not too savvy about image compression but I’m assuming it’s similar to audio files, you can’t recover data lost to lossy encoding!


just wanna mention that my initial question was not about replacing existing covers with visually more compressed ones. my intention is quite the opposite: I wanna archive the best version of a cover on MB, even if this might mean dealing with big file sizes.

but there are these situations where I come across two different versions of a cover which are visually identical (again, down to compression artifacts) but with different file sizes. here is an example.

the current one listed on MB is from Apple Music and has a file size of 4,22 MB.

while this one from Bandcamp has a file size of 2,05 MB. notice that this one is visually indistinguishable from the one currently listed on MB.

PS: use an image viewer which supports nearest-neighbor-zoom to judge. I recommend FastStone which has a neat compare feature where you can zoom in on the same part of different versions.


In these cases I don’t use the bloated one (if I’m sure it’s the same resolution quality) - interesting that you mention Apple, because I usually notice this problem with Deezer releases :thinking:

Personally I would not bother replacing large images in the cover art archive, mainly because there are so many releases without cover art that I could be working on instead. But if you do it, and you show that you’ve really (really) checked that they are the same quality, then I wouldn’t vote no.


Apple and tidal provide the file they are given, assuming you access it (on apple) with the proper URL. If you use the URL provided by atisket it will be recompressed and possibly resized. Example URLs:

The Enhanced Cover Art Uploads userscript gets the proper cover (the second one), but the one provided by atisket you can see in the URL it is passed both dimensions and JPEG compression level(Change them to whatever you want to see the changes).
Sometimes the image apple gives is recompressed, but not by apple. It seems some software or service labels/artists use to distribute to various streaming services recompresses and resizes coverart before sending them. You can tell because if you inspect the file it will have been created using the GD Library (rather than say photoshop) and the exact same recompressed file will be served by apple and tidal.
Deezer also always gives recompressed files, you can again see the parameters in the URL and there is no way to access the original that I have seen
I always avoid using deezer as a source myself because of this.

As for the question: If you can show that the one you are in fact replacing it with is the original or at least been recompressed fewer times I say go for it(But be ready for people questioning your edits). But just because a file is smaller, or larger, doesn’t point to it being the original.


It would be helpful if you could say which script. :wink:

1 Like

Sorry, morning brain. Edited

1 Like

thanks for the detailed insight. just wanted to add that I use the musichoarders cover search. I just checked it and it does indeed give you the proper links to the non-recompressed images. I think this site is also listed on the MB resource site but if someone doesn’t know it:

I created a “tool” in MP3Tag with these settings to easily start a cover search for an album:

C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe

(or any other browser of your choice)