Where the Catalina Music App Stores Album Artwork

When I updated my iMac to Catalina yesterday, I watched as the Music app slowly display album artwork. I have about 4,000 albums in my library – this is all local music, I don’t use Cloud Music Library on this Mac – and it took a couple of hours for the Music app to go through all the files and display the artwork.

But I couldn’t find where it was stored. In the past, there was an Album Artwork folder in the /Music/iTunes folder in the home folder. While that folder is still there – and isn’t needed any more – artwork is now stored in a different location.

But I couldn’t find it at first. I was looking for a folder around the same size; my Album Artwork folder was always around 4-5 GB. The new path for artwork is:


For me, this folder is less than 1 GB, which is why I couldn’t find it previously. Interestingly, this folder no longer contains files with the extension .itc, which only a few apps could read, but the files are now the original .png or .jpg files that I added to my music files (or that came with purchases from the iTunes Store).

Learn more about the new media apps that replace iTunes in macOS Catalina in my new book, Take Control of macOS Media Apps.

14 thoughts on “Where the Catalina Music App Stores Album Artwork

  1. If your artwork completely loaded after only a couple hours consider yourself lucky. I have a similar size library and it’s been 2 days of non-stop “loading artwork…” and not even half my artwork is restored. During this time the system runs out of memory (I have an iMac with 16GB) every couple hours, and there are constant lags, spinning beachballs and apps requiring force quits. All this for a dumbed down and difficult to navigate version of iTunes. This is the first Apple OS upgrade in 20+ years I regret installing.

  2. Glad to know the above artwork path for Music. Thank you.

    I’d like to ask about Movie artwork (in my downloaded Library & purchased via iTunes). I previous downloaded artwork from Ben Dodson’s site (600×600 jpegs). I locally stream my media Library through Home Sharing to my ATV4K, over a 1GB LAN, and I liked how Dodson’s movie artwork displayed.

    Given the new TV app (Catalina & on ATV4K) and how movie artwork is now displayed, which is awful – particularly via the Computer app on ATV4K, I have seen one particular title’s artwork fills the legacy vertical artwork “space” fully on the ATV4K’s TV app. All other titles mostly use Apple’s artwork, which only fills the artwork space centrally & horizontally in the artwork space; this artwork doesn’t show optimally.

    Is there a way to adjust how movie artwork displays in these new, TV apps?

  3. Good article. About 20% of my artwork disappeared from my music, film and tv content once I upgraded to Catalina. Will have to sort that out some day.

  4. Well, I found that folder, it’s got tonnes of images in it, and yet Music doesn’t display any album art at all. The Activity Window has been stuck Loading artwork… for days, Music is hogging 200% of the CPU and over 23GB of memory (I only have 8GB of RAM) making my 2012 Mini unusable. I might just run Get Album Artwork on my Library and start from scratch.

  5. Maybe it will take a few updates for Catalina to smooth that out. I personally have always found the artwork thing in iTunes to be the weakest part of it. I think Gracenote is good by itself, not sure just how it interfaces with Apple’s music library. I find the wrong image displayed many times. Then I find the correct one on the internet, copy that, and import it into the Get Info pane. Music may need a few more stages to finally get it right.

  6. Thanks for the info, it was really helpful as the old method of copying and pasting from the iTunes program itself isn’t working anymore since the Catalina update. Also, I think the original post may contain a typo:

    should be:

    • I’ve heard this from a couple of people. There’s a cache folder, which isn’t very large, that seems to store things in a database. I haven’t tried, but deleting the artwork folder then relaunching Music should tell it to reread all your artwork. This is how it worked with iTunes. (Back up the folder before deleting it, just in case.)

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