Best Sources for Downloading CD Covers and Artwork

Stack of CD jewel cases.

Glow Images / Getty Images

You may think that software media players like iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc., can find and download all the album art you need for your digital music library. However, there are times when you'll need to look further afield in order to successfully populate your music collection with the right CD covers.

You may, for example, have a digital music collection that is mainly made up of a lot of old analog recordings that you have—digitized vinyl records and cassette tapes, for example. Then there's rare compilations, bootleg recordings, and promotional material—album art for these types of audio collections are almost impossible to find using common methods that automatically add metadata tags; MP3 tagging software and music management programs for instance that have built-in ID3 tools.

To help you with this task, take a look at the following list (in no particular order) which showcases some of the best resources on the Internet for finding cover art for your digital music library.

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Discogs

What We Like

  • Large selection.

  • Sort by genre, style, and format.

  • Sign up quickly via Facebook or Google.

  • Rare music selections.

What We Don't Like

  • Registration required.

  • Somewhat cluttered album pages.

Discogs is one of the largest online databases for audio. This rich audio catalog resource can be particularly useful for non-mainstream recordings where software media players such as iTunes or Windows Media Player might not be able to find the correct artwork. If you've got hard-to-find commercial releases, bootlegs, white label (promo) material, etc., then you might be able to source the correct album art using Discogs.

The website is easy to use for finding album covers not only for digital music releases but for older mediums, too, like vinyl records, CDs, etc. For digital music, you can also fine-tune your search with a handy filtering option that can be used to only display certain audio formats like AAC, MP3, etc.

02
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Musicbrainz

What We Like

  • Large mix of search options.

  • Can download entire database for free.

  • Helpful documentation.

What We Don't Like

  • Outdated website design.

  • Confusing site to navigate.

Musicbrainz is another online audio database that has a huge catalog of music information with included artwork. It was originally conceived as an alternative to CDDB (short for Compact Disc Database) but has now been developed into an online encyclopedia of music that sports a lot more information on artists and albums than simple CD metadata does. For instance, searching for your favorite artist will usually yield information such as all albums released by them (including compilations), audio formats, music labels, background information (relationships to others), and the all-important cover art!