August 30, 2010
When you're online and you use Get Album Artwork in the Advanced menu, iTunes fetches any album cover art you're missing for albums available from the iTunes Store, regardless of whether you bought the album from the Store or ripped it from your CD. And you can have it do that automatically when you add music to your library by checking "Automatically download missing album artwork" under the Store tab in the iTunes Preferences panel.
You can also add your own artwork choices via the Info Panel. Select a song in an album, use Get Info (right click, cntrl-click, or via the File menu), and click the Artwork tab. You can drag images directly into the artwork well, or use the Add button to look for eligible images on your computer. More, you can add more than one image to the well and drag images around within it. When you view your library using grid or cover flow mode or have Show Artwork turned on, iTunes will display the leftmost image in the well (topmost, leftmost if you've dragged in several images). This lets you use alternate images for special situations -- displaying photos of friends who particularly like the albums playing, for instance -- then switch back to the standard album art with a simple drag. (When you use Cover Flow to view your library, the Full Screen switch on the lower right toggles to a full screen display of the art for the album being played.)
August 23, 2010
Thanks to the Complete My Album Quick Link in the iTunes Store, you can buy most songs individually and know that if you later find yourself wishing you'd taken advantage of the album price to buy them all, you can still do so without paying extra. Clicking the link (in the Quick Links section on the upper right of both the main iTunes Store page and the main Music page) takes you to a page that displays all the albums you're eligible to complete and shows the price to you -- the regular album price minus what you've spent for the songs you've already bought. Albums remain eligible for Complete My Album for six months after you've first bought a song from them, and sometimes longer. For additional information, see the Complete My Album FAQ.
August 9, 2010
Last week we asked iTunes fans on Facebook to share their most helpful user tips and promised we'd pick one to showcase. Ian Ross and Shelby Lee Engels get joint credit for shining a fresh light on a familiar item: gift cards. They each tell their friends who prefer not to use credit cards online that they can simply buy themselves gift cards and use them instead. Frankly we'd never looked at gift cards that way, so the tip surprised us with its simple usefulness. Thanks, Ian Ross, Shelby Lee Engels, and everyone who contributed.
August 2, 2010
When you visit the iTunes Store on your computer, the triangle next to the Buy button for individual songs contains an Other Versions option when additional versions of that track are available in the Store. Choose it and you'll be presented with links to these other versions. "Stardust" by Willie Nelson, for instance, produces two lists -- one with all the recordings of "Stardust" by Willie (currently nine), and the other containing the 196 recordings currently in the store by the amazing range of vocalists and jazz instrumentalists you might imagine. (Warning. Browsing among versions and listening for what's special about your favorite songs and performances is seductive. "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" 69 recordings...)
As a related convenience that can be particularly useful for soundtrack albums with many songs tagged "Album Only," iTunes adds a View Songs Available for Individual Purchase button above the track list whenever possible. Click it, and when you're done with it, click "Back to the Album Page" just above the list.