Missing Artist Images in iTunes and the iOS 10 Music App

Missing artist imagesA funny thing happened when I upgraded to iTunes 12.5 and iOS 10. Most of the artist images in my music library disappeared, to be replaced by a herd-like column of multi-colored microphones.

No I always found it weird the way iTunes and the iOS 10 Music app picked a random album cover to illustrate certain artists – the ones for which they don’t have photos in the iTunes Store – but at least there was something that enabled me to spot artists at a glance. Now, I see long columns of microphones that look like they’re on acid.

iTunes has never allowed you to add your own, custom images for artists, and that’s a shame. Though, to be honest, with 465 artists in my iTunes library, I really don’t want to spend the time doing that.

The new display just looks ugly. They took away some variety, probably thinking that it wasn’t just exactly right, and replaced it with monotony. If something is wrong, it’s best to think of a way to fix it, rather than just get rid of it.

40 thoughts on “Missing Artist Images in iTunes and the iOS 10 Music App

  1. I’ve seen something similar in my list of playlists on my iPhone. None of the smart playlist artwork (which you can assign) is appearing – I just have row after row of the gear icon, with the same colour scheme as the microphone icon you show above. Ugly and consuming space for no good reason. If I select through to the playlist itself, the assigned artwork appears in the top left corner, but it’s nowhere near as useful at that point.

    The “dumb” playlists seem to be displaying the correct art. Ironically, the only dumb playlists I’ve got are for audiobooks, and although the playlist is appearing in the Music app, the playlist itself is actually empty. (Unrelated note, but wow have the iPhone’s default apps become appalling for audiobook files.)

    At least the Genres view has abandoned artwork entirely – just an alphabetical list, without the annoying “assigned and meaningless artwork for what iTunes knows, no artwork for what iTunes doesn’t recognize”.

  2. I’ve seen something similar in my list of playlists on my iPhone. None of the smart playlist artwork (which you can assign) is appearing – I just have row after row of the gear icon, with the same colour scheme as the microphone icon you show above. Ugly and consuming space for no good reason. If I select through to the playlist itself, the assigned artwork appears in the top left corner, but it’s nowhere near as useful at that point.

    The “dumb” playlists seem to be displaying the correct art. Ironically, the only dumb playlists I’ve got are for audiobooks, and although the playlist is appearing in the Music app, the playlist itself is actually empty. (Unrelated note, but wow have the iPhone’s default apps become appalling for audiobook files.)

    At least the Genres view has abandoned artwork entirely – just an alphabetical list, without the annoying “assigned and meaningless artwork for what iTunes knows, no artwork for what iTunes doesn’t recognize”.

  3. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is yet another thing Apple forgot to add.

    I’m so bummed if this doesn’t get fixed with a future update.

  4. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is yet another thing Apple forgot to add.

    I’m so bummed if this doesn’t get fixed with a future update.

  5. Some of them have pictures in my list, such as Björk and Fiona Apple, but they are a minority. This seems to be one of the many things Apple forgot to include in ios10. Not impressed.

  6. Some of them have pictures in my list, such as Björk and Fiona Apple, but they are a minority. This seems to be one of the many things Apple forgot to include in ios10. Not impressed.

  7. You can absolutely add your own art to your music. Just hit “info” on a right click of a song and drag and drop whatever you want into the artwork.

      • Yeah – as only three artists out of about 300 display a photo, and two are wrong I have now just edited and removed the Artist View altogether… If they let me I would add really good art for classical artists – maybe I should contact Apple…

  8. You can absolutely add your own art to your music. Just hit “info” on a right click of a song and drag and drop whatever you want into the artwork.

      • Yeah – as only three artists out of about 300 display a photo, and two are wrong I have now just edited and removed the Artist View altogether… If they let me I would add really good art for classical artists – maybe I should contact Apple…

  9. This is real shitty!! All of my artwork shows up for each album after clicking on the artist, but not for the artists. Some album art appears for the artists but only some. It looks like it’s chosen by random from Apple.

  10. This is real shitty!! All of my artwork shows up for each album after clicking on the artist, but not for the artists. Some album art appears for the artists but only some. It looks like it’s chosen by random from Apple.

  11. The image is displayed only for files in .m4a format. Artists with .mp3 files doesn’t show any image.

    • Nope. Most of my files are AAC (.m4a), and most artists don’t have images. It’s simply that the iTunes Store, which is where the images come from, isn’t showing images for many artists. Look on Apple Music and see the artist images there, when you look at an album and see related artists; it’s the same thing.

      • In mine for the pianist Francois-Frederic Guy I have a boy band photo, presumably called Guy. Perhaps because I only use the surname.

  12. The image is displayed only for files in .m4a format. Artists with .mp3 files doesn’t show any image.

    • Nope. Most of my files are AAC (.m4a), and most artists don’t have images. It’s simply that the iTunes Store, which is where the images come from, isn’t showing images for many artists. Look on Apple Music and see the artist images there, when you look at an album and see related artists; it’s the same thing.

      • In mine for the pianist Francois-Frederic Guy I have a boy band photo, presumably called Guy. Perhaps because I only use the surname.

  13. What do I do if I have missing artist pictures for artists that I know should be recognised? Is there a function somewhere to say “Look for artist pictures if available”?

  14. What do I do if I have missing artist pictures for artists that I know should be recognised? Is there a function somewhere to say “Look for artist pictures if available”?

  15. Another query. I have playlists containing tracks from several albums. Why do some show the ‘quadrant’ cover art, from four of the tracks,but some only one cover art, when there are enough different albums to show four different ones.

      • I’ve figured it out – it depends how many albums form the playlist – if there are less than 4 albums, even if the playlist tracks have many different coverarts then it will default to the single coverart.

    • note … unlike the frustrating artist photo (or lack thereof), you do have control over the photo used to represent your playlist. You can drag and drop a photo over the album or quadrant art provided and it will be replaced.

  16. Another query. I have playlists containing tracks from several albums. Why do some show the ‘quadrant’ cover art, from four of the tracks,but some only one cover art, when there are enough different albums to show four different ones.

      • I’ve figured it out – it depends how many albums form the playlist – if there are less than 4 albums, even if the playlist tracks have many different coverarts then it will default to the single coverart.

    • note … unlike the frustrating artist photo (or lack thereof), you do have control over the photo used to represent your playlist. You can drag and drop a photo over the album or quadrant art provided and it will be replaced.

  17. I am facing the same issue and it bugs me a lot. iOS 10 music app has been terrible. The worst thing is that I can’t even view the entire song list of an artist, but I have to individually open each album just to play their songs. iOS 9 music app started getting bad, but iOS10 has been a big disincentive for me to listen to my songs on the go. I miss the simple and user friendly music app from iOS 8 and before.

    • I totally agree with you. I have over 3000 songs, each with the right original cover artwork. I spent hours doing it right and to select the picture that would be most representative of the artist. It worked great for iOS 6, 7, 8. For 9 it started to get weird. With 10 it is so bad that i decided to completely leave the music app and switched to Spotify. Although the Art work is not much better, i couldn’t handle the terrible iOS 10 music app

    • Bernard, that’s my issue as well. Who needs to see a list of albums. I just want to see the songs. Sometimes under one artist, I might have 10 songs, but they are from 7 different albums. It does me no good to see 7 album covers after I click on the artist. If I’m looking for one particular song, I don’t necessarily remember what album it is in so I don’t want to have to randomly click on each album to find it. I’m constantly amazed how each new version seems to screw up the ease of use of the system.

  18. I am facing the same issue and it bugs me a lot. iOS 10 music app has been terrible. The worst thing is that I can’t even view the entire song list of an artist, but I have to individually open each album just to play their songs. iOS 9 music app started getting bad, but iOS10 has been a big disincentive for me to listen to my songs on the go. I miss the simple and user friendly music app from iOS 8 and before.

    • I totally agree with you. I have over 3000 songs, each with the right original cover artwork. I spent hours doing it right and to select the picture that would be most representative of the artist. It worked great for iOS 6, 7, 8. For 9 it started to get weird. With 10 it is so bad that i decided to completely leave the music app and switched to Spotify. Although the Art work is not much better, i couldn’t handle the terrible iOS 10 music app

    • Bernard, that’s my issue as well. Who needs to see a list of albums. I just want to see the songs. Sometimes under one artist, I might have 10 songs, but they are from 7 different albums. It does me no good to see 7 album covers after I click on the artist. If I’m looking for one particular song, I don’t necessarily remember what album it is in so I don’t want to have to randomly click on each album to find it. I’m constantly amazed how each new version seems to screw up the ease of use of the system.

  19. I’ve noticed that Artist Thumbnails are duplicated. As an example Ozzy – it would show a pic of “The Weekend” what’s with that??? The “Weekend” profile pic is fine.

  20. I’ve noticed that Artist Thumbnails are duplicated. As an example Ozzy – it would show a pic of “The Weekend” what’s with that??? The “Weekend” profile pic is fine.

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