Album Art Issue on Sonos iPad and iPhone app


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Downloaded the new Sonos app for iPad and also updated the 5 receivers and the Desktop controller. All went smooth without any issues.

Loving the new iPad app...really cool and slick.

Noticed an odd issue. Album art is not showing for some of the albums on both the iPad and iPhone app whereas it is showing properly on the Sonos controller and the Mac desktop app.

Any idea what's wrong and how can it be rectified?

42 replies

Is this something new, or could you be hitting the 256kB limit for the iPhone? (There may be a higher size limit for the iPad but if so the FAQ makes no mention as yet.)
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Hi, thanks for the reply. Ensured that the size is less than 256kb limit.

As I mentioned earlier, I am able to view that album art in the Mac Desktop Controller and the Sonos CR200 Controller. I am just unable to view them in the iPhone or the iPad.
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I had the same issue. In my case just re-indexing the music library from the ipad sorted it.
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Hi dhts, tried reindexing my music but the same issue persists.
shagun,

In addition to the size limit, there is a time limit. If artwork delivery is too slow, the controllers will revert to the default artwork display. I have seen this on congested wireless networks. If this were the case, I expect that artwork display would be intermittent for a given track.

One way to approach this sort of issue is to submit a diagnostic, note the confirmation number, and follow up with an email to SONOS support that references the confirmation number. While the iPhone/iPad diagnostic information is sparse compared to the SONOS units, if the network is struggling, there will be clues in the diagnostics.
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Same issue here on ipad and iPhone. No network congestion, files are good but they just don't show up.

Everything works fine with cr200 and desktop app.

Seems like a glitch in the iOS apps, hopefully resolved soon.
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Same here (iPad) except I see no artwork at all. It appears in iTunes on my mac but the iPad controller.
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I'm going to chime in here...

I recently noticed on my iPad if the screen is in multi-menu mode, album art is fine. But if I engage 'now playing' mode where the album art is displayed larger the art is blank.
Signal2Noise,

Interesting. What is the source of the problem tracks? Local? Music service? Do the expanded artwork always fail or intermittently fail? It is my impression that when the artwork is expanded, it is fetched again. If this is true, then a networking issue that slows the larger fetch could be involved.

You should report this to SONOS support. When the artwork fails, submit a diagnostic and note the confirmation number. Follow up with an email referencing the confirmation number.
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shagun wrote:

Ensured that the size is less than 256kb limit.
As I mentioned earlier, I am able to view that album art in the Mac Desktop Controller and the Sonos CR200 Controller. I am just unable to view them in the iPhone or the iPad.



Hi,

As mentionned by Buzz, it is mainly (and often) a size limit problem, as desktop controllers haven't got the same size limit than iphone or Ipad. That's why you can see artworks on Pc or Mac but not on your Ipad and you'll never have this problem showing on the other way.

The main question is how do you check the artwork size ?
If you look on the finder or file system on the PC, you will probably notice that most of the 500*500 artworks you can have are in the 40-150k range which is under the size limit of 256 k. But this is not true.
You must edit the tag, for instance with mp3tag, and be sure of the exact size of the artwork cover.
I had the same problems you mentionned and i was surprised to see that each missing artwork was showing more that 256k with this method. I changed the artwork from this place, to insure that the artworks were under the 256k limit and guess what, each artwork that was missing until then showed up instantly.
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I'm trialling a beta of Bliss which includes a size limit, so will ensure embedded artwork (or folder.jpg etc..) will be below the 256kb limit, and if set to 900x900 max then should be visible on CR100/200, Desktop & iOS devices. So far every single one that's been corrected has worked fine.
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rjlawson wrote:

I'm trialling a beta of Bliss.



Hi, thks for the link. I've tried a bit Bliss but i find it not so user friendly.
I will probably stay with my manual process with mp3tag.
It's kind of simple however , just put a rule like this one : %_cover_size% GREATER 256000 and you sort all the tracks above the limit.

Some thoughts so :

- Some of the covers are above 256 k (till 340k in my folders) and shows up in the ipad/iphone app.
why ?

- Adding a pictures (by copy/paste) won't lead to the same size depending the way: When pasting in iTunes, you can make a x2 size of the same artwork. I don't know the reason.

have a nice day
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I've been using the "folder.jpg" / "folder.png" method of adding album art to my collection, and I'd guess that I've got around 90% of the artwork displaying properly now.

The way I set up my library is to have all of the files (mp3s in this case) on a NAS, with iTunes managing the library by reference. I use one of Doug's AppleScript scripts (which I modified) to create a folder.png / folder.jpg file (it depends on the art source - for artwork that comes directly from iTunes, it's always folder.jpg... for most others that I have embedded, like from Amazon.com, it is folder.png) in each album's directory. Then, I have a saved search in the Finder which I use to find any files >256KB, and for those files I use a second application to try and resize them. Any leftovers from that get done by hand in Photoshop. (it's a lot of work, no!?!)

Oh... one other quirk about the way I do things... I only set album art on track 1 for any artwork that I have to download outside of iTunes. Long ago, before I had Sonos, this was all I really needed to get artwork to show up on my iPod and in iTunes. I didn't care if I didn't see art for every track, just for every album when browsing.

This has led to me discovering a bug in the way Sonos handles artwork. The scenario unfolds like this: if you have embedded art in only track 1 in a given album, _and_ you have a folder.jpg type file in the same folder, then Sonos may not show the artwork. When browsing on the iPhone / iPad, you will not see the artwork for the album until you get to track 2 and beyond. I suppose if you have embedded art in those tracks too which doesn't match the folder.jpg file, that may prevent any artwork from showing for that album. Note that I don't know the exact reason why this happens, only the scenario, and even then, there are instances where the artwork shows correctly for me.

Another quirk I've noticed with the way Sonos fetches the artwork on the i* devices is that, when you have just a folder.jpg file, Sonos does not cache that image at all when displaying art next to each track's name in the queue. It appears to load the same file over and over again for each track, taking quite a while to fully load all the identical art for the tracks. Seems silly to me - why else would I have put a folder.jpg file there if not to indicate that that artwork applies to every file in that folder, so I chalk this up to another bug that should be addressed.
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Downloaded Bliss today and it's sorted my artwork issues out totally.

My setup: 40Gb of music sorted on my macbook, all mp3 or mp4 files with artwork embedded. NAS drive which syncs once a day with my itunes library (chronosync), plus there are some additional albums in FLAC format. Sonos updates with the NAS drive once a day to keep current.

I have set Bliss rules to embed artwork to files on the NAS drive, plus create a file named 'folder.xxx' with the artwork image, plus a rule that the artwork is a max size of 900 x 900 so that the file size is under the 256k rule.

Set Bliss going and a couple of hours later all my files were embedded with artwork and each album has a folder.xxx file with the artwork, amazing. It only failed with about 10 albums, all of which were thinks like live recording, books etc.

The limited factor with my ipad and iphone is the connection speed over my network, but now at least all artwork is there and can be read be the Sonos app.

Bliss will now scan my music folder and do the same for any new music added, great stuff.
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That all my artwork shows up fine on my controller, in iTunes, on iPods and iPads, but not in my sonos apps, indicates a defect. Don't make your customers go to the lengths described in these posts. That is not in keeping with why I paid the sonos premium for ease of use. Please fix -- don't make me change my mp3s!
Rgfcpq wrote:

That all my artwork shows up fine on my controller, in iTunes, on iPods and iPads, but not in my sonos apps, indicates a defect. Don't make your customers go to the lengths described in these posts. That is not in keeping with why I paid the sonos premium for ease of use. Please fix -- don't make me change my mp3s!



The defect is with Apple. They use a highly proprietary scheme to display art, while every other music manager and/or playing device uses the MP3 standard. Matter of fact, the Apple method is so proprietary, they eventually had to change iTunes to support the standard method, rather than vice versa.
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jgatie wrote:

The defect is with Apple. They use a highly proprietary scheme to display art, while every other music manager and/or playing device uses the MP3 standard. Matter of fact, the Apple method is so proprietary, they eventually had to change iTunes to support the standard method, rather than vice versa.



I get that, and appreciate that this is a pain point. That being said, it's still not a good excuse, seeing how apple products are able to support it and are the most ubiquitous. Second, the art where there is an issue came embedded from napster and my own rips, not just from apple, so I think the 256k limitation noted previously is still a factor here as well. Not sure why that has to be the case and they can't lift that limitation on graphic file size.
Rgfcpq,

Note that, while SONOS management reads these posts, this is not an official support channel. SONOS does not dialog with users on these user forums.

I disagree with your claim that the SONOS artwork support is broken. SONOS is not an iPod accessory gone wrong, SONOS is a unique product that offers unmatched features. As a courtesy to and acknowledgment of the iTunes community, SONOS maintains some compatibility with iTunes. In terms of supported music and artwork formats, SONOS supports popular, standard formats and tries to be as platform agnostic as practical. In fact, SONOS does not require any software or computer. All that is required is an Internet connection and with a little geek jiggering, this requirement can be relaxed.

While I have no inside track at Apple, its practices indicate to me that Apple is trying to lock everyone into Apple hardware and software, such that there is no practical exit. Further, older products are orphaned and must be replaced with the latest and greatest. In contrast, the earliest SONOS products are still supported (at no cost to the user) as new features are added.

The early iTunes embedded artwork in an industry standard format. SONOS supports industry standards. This original iTunes format was not very convenient for the CoverFlow feature and a newer release of iTunes stripped the embedded artwork and moved it to an iTunes proprietary area. Lots of 3rd party players "broke" at that point.

Since I am not an iTunes fan, I would not miss the program or the players if they all disappeared tonight. But, I don't live in a vacuum; I know that tens of millions of iTunes users would be devastated.

I believe that the 256KB artwork limit for the CR200 is a performance choice for SONOS. SONOS will make compromises that enhance performance while Apple compromises for style. Large artwork files would slow down the SONOS user interface because of the extra wireless traffic. Apple does not need to do this because their players include local storage -- no wireless traffic is required for artwork display. SONOS controllers cannot store anything.

I doubt if SONOS will raise the 256K limit for artwork displayed on the CR200.
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"As a courtesy to and acknowledgment of the iTunes community, SONOS maintains some compatibility with iTunes."? I don't think they are doing this as a courtesy, but as a necessity in a market that is completely dominated by Apple (80% share). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_music_store

Much like Apple's own strategy, ease of use and nice design are hallmarks of why Sonos can charge a premium. They therefore need interoperability with the most dominant music "ecosystem" or they will become irrelevant. I like the Sonos platform and have spent a lot of money on it, but if they diverge from supporting the Apple environment, I will drop them, and not my ipads, ipods, iphones, macs, and itunes. And I am no great fan of itunes, but the reality is it's the glue that holds all my devices together. Nobody else in the market comes close.

Meanwhile, others like logitech and even apple are closing in on Sonos's territory. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that Sonos needs to keep up and figure out how to "play" with Apple. Making me go through all kinds of motions to get it to work like it should defeats the purpose of going with them in the first place.
Rgfcpq wrote:

That being said, it's still not a good excuse, seeing how apple products are able to support it and are the most ubiquitous.



It's an explanation - not an excuse. As Users, we have no need to make excuses. In my mind, neither does Sonos Management.

As buzz and jgatie explained, Apple went off of an industry standard for artwork tagging. Not all (or many) other equipment manufacturers may follow. Get over it and just embed your artwork as normal.

If you used larger than Sonos standard filesize pictures, then you'll need adjust for that as well. It's been a documented attribute (or bug/annoyance/quirk if you want to use a pejorative) of the Sonos system and is not and was not hidden from prospective users who researched their needs prior to purchase.

I am a longtime user of iTunes and have had no problems migrating my music to Sonos. Some early decisions I made concerning artwork fell in my favor (smaller size for smaller overall song filesize, and always embedding artwork even with the announced Apple/iTunes artwork change).

Sonos is a premium, whole house music delivery system that suports many of the industry music standards -- Not an Apple/iDevice/iTunes support center, no matter how large a market penetration Apple may have. This is not s Sonos issue, but there are some easy fixes if one cares to do the work.

Best of Luck
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Just discovered that album art created with iTunes 10.4 on OSX Lion does not show up on my ipad nor my iphone. On the controller is does show up. Never had any problems before, so i started to inspect the m4a files using mp3tag. It appears that iTunes converts my jpeg image to png and the size is increased. Example: an jpg image of 600x600 and 141 kBytes is embedded as a png of 603 kBytes, which exceeds the limit of 250 kBytes.

I hope someone can tell me how to configure iTunes to keep jpg.

Regards,
Rob
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Sat down to start some music maintenance and discovered this very annoying bug. Persuading the Sonos controller is one thing, getting Finder to even see the embedded jpeg in mp3s also very difficult.

There doesn't appear to be a decent workaround, though if you fancy going to "info" and changing file associations (between Quicktime and iTunes) for each individual track it seems to do the trick.

What's that phrase again ...er... oh yes, it just... works!

Or not.
kg28 wrote:



I hope someone can tell me how to configure iTunes to keep jpg.



It is not the PNG, SONOS will display PNG, it is the size.

Probably, iTunes fetched a new, higher resolution copy of the artwork.

Conspiracy theorists will claim that this is a deliberate attempt to cause grief for 3rd party products. Or, to force owners of older iProducts to upgrade to newer products with more storage capacity and faster processors.
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I was experiencing this same problem with artwork not displaying on the iPad app and believe I have the solution.

The basic problem is that artwork that is copy/pasted into iTunes via the clipboard (on a Mac - don't know about Windows behaviour) is converted to png regardless of its original format. However, artwork that is dragged on directly to the lower left artwork area will remain in its original format. Thus, I (and I imagine the others here) were experiencing a problem whereby we would copy/paste a complying jpg image (less than 256k) into iTunes and getting mystified by why it wasn't showing up. If you drag the artwork file onto the cover image area in the lower left (but not, for some reason the get info dialogue) it will remain in the same format. If, however, you copy paste or use the get info dialogue it will get converted to png and possibly exceed the 256k limit.

You can check what format iTunes is storing the artwork by dragging it from the lower left artwork area to the desktop. If it is stored as a jpg it will be a jpg on the desktop and likewise for png.

So, bottom line, make sure you drag images directly into iTunes and the lower left album art area from the source file rather than copy/pasting them or using the get info dialogue and, provided the source file is under 256k, it should all display properly on the iPad app.

I hope this works for others. Let me know if it helps or not.
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Excellent point Skippy, and when I compared those albums which weren't showing up on the iOS app using your method it appears to be 100% correct. PNG format is ghastly, the resulting file sizes appear 5 or 6 times larger than the original JPEG.

Looking on the Apple forums, they have been of no help, expecting us to simply work out what's wrong. Ironically, this problem has only arisen with recent versions of iTunes. Let's hope the next one (presuming 10.5) works as well as 10.2!

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