I’ve recently been working on the album art side of things, and wanted to share some thoughts for some feedback and to see what others are doing.
First I should say that the following is based on having the correct version of an album identified in Roon. Some albums have tens or even hundreds of different releases (for different masterings, regions, formats, special editions etc). I’ve been keen to have this correct version identified and labelled in Roon. Most of the time I have to check this myself (e.g. via Discogs) as Roon doesn’t always pull up the correct version.
This leads onto my system regarding album art. First of all, I try and make sure that the front cover corresponds to the exact version/release. I then try and do the same for the back cover and any liner notes as far as possible.
What I have also been working on is having a visual cue as to what the media type is - i.e. CD, vinyl, cassette, digital download etc. I’ve been trying to make the image as true to the original as possible. For example, CD releases are usually in jewel cases though may also be in a digipak, box or a range of other packaging. So for CDs in jewel cases, I use a Photoshop jewel case template image and put the cover inside:
I try to make the jewel case just like the original, e.g. for this one I tinted it blue:
CDs that came in an outer cardboard sleeve are represented as such:
For vinyl, it’s simply the correct vinyl album cover, sometimes with the obi strip:
For cassette, it’s similarly the front of the box, with the rest of the case available as other scans:
Digital downloads were tricky; I wanted some visual cue to differentiate them from vinyl. In the end I took some artistic license and am using a transparent plastic sleeve for the cover:
For box sets, I use the front cover of the box set; depending on the shape this can look like a square CD cover, so I use a subtle template to make it look more like a box (if it doesn’t look that way already):
So this way, when browsing through albums (or different versions of the same album), you can immediately see the music format (i.e. what it was ripped/downloaded from) as well as the correct artwork. I think this makes your music collection look more unique, accurate and personalised. I also put the original media in the album version tag.
I found the default setting, i.e. all the album art being similar square pictures, a bit too homogenous and looking more like computer JPGs rather than the original media.
It will be quite a large job to do all the albums this way, and it might be impractical to do all of my 9500 albums, but it is nice once done. Keen on others’ thoughts or suggestions.