The ability to embed cover art has been a proposed feature for many years, but it is still not fully implemented — the backend supports covers, but the user has no way to access this functionality. (If you are a Python developer and would like to do something about this, go ahead!)
Fortunately, there are a few plugins aimed at solving this problem. This page should help you choose which one is right for you and explain their usage.
Automatic or manual cover art download?
First you need to decide whether you want to provide the cover image file yourself or whether you want Picard to try to automatically download it for you. If you aren’t sure, consider the following:
- Letting Picard fetch the image for you will work with almost all well-known albums. (Give it a try by searching MusicBrainz for an album and see whether the cover is shown.)
- However, you will not have a choice between different versions of the image.
- Automatic download is convenient and hassle-free.
In other words, unless you already know otherwise, automatic album art retrieval is probably right for you. In this case, the Cover Art Downloader (found on the plugins page) will suit your needs.
If, however, you prefer to provide the cover images yourself, you will have to get a little more experimental: Despite manual cover embedding having been a planned feature of Picard itself, as of early 2012 there’s not even a well-maintained plugin. But here’s the good news: A plugin tentatively dubbed Local Cover Art that works with the latest version (0.16) of Picard can be found on the forums.
- TODO: Explain the plugins’ actual usage; perhaps host the Local Art’s code, add references to this article in existing documentation (and perhaps link it in the forums), highlight important parts or restructure to make the article more scannable