Creating Episode Artwork For Your Podcast
Before we begin, if you are looking for how to ‘How to Add or Update Your Podcast Image in the iTunes Store’, you might want to check out this article. This article discusses a slightly different topic, but the two things seem to be closely related in peoples’ minds.
Also, I have to give full credit for the inspiration for this post to an article a while back by Cliff Ravencraft called : “Tagging Your MP3 Files”. Cliff discusses this same subject from a Mac perspective (as opposed to Windows), so I strongly suggest you check out his post and great video (if fact, check out his fantastic podcast to find out even more great information about podcasting). (Note: this article only discusses adding album art for a Windows platform).
As part of your podcast production work-flow, you should definitely spend time tagging your MP3 files to ensure that they contain embedded information about your podcast. The tags (better know as ID3 tags) will embed information about who created the show, the show title, episode number and a while host of other useful information. This information is displayed by the player that your listener will use to listen to your podcast.
In this particular article, I am mainly concerned with how you tag your MP3 file to embed ‘album art’ in to your podcast episode. When your listener is listening to your podcast, the album art (i.e. image or picture) you embed will be displayed as your episode is playing.
Adding album art isn’t a mandatory step in the process of podcast production, but without it your podcast will generally show a default (or worse, no) image whilst the episode is playing. What will be displayed will vary from player to player. The bottom line is, your show will not look as polished or professional if you don’t take this extra step in your podcast publishing process.
The good news is that the process itself is very simple, due to a very nice free (yay!) piece of software called : MP3tag (http://www.mp3tag.de).
Once you have finished your audio production and created your final MP3 file, you can modify it using MP3tag to add or change ID3 tags – one of which is the album art for your episode.
I’ll take you step by step through an example of how you might do this.
Below are a series of screen shots I took when I tagged an old MP3 file I had lying around to add album art to it. The MP3 file already had some ID3 tagging information added (I had added it using Audacity when I saved the final MP3 file), but had no album art information (which, to my knowledge, you can’t add with Audacity).
So, here we go, one step at a time:
1. Initially, open the MP3tag application:
2. Change directory to the directory where you store your MP3 files:
3. Select the episode you which to add album art to – in this case you can see I have selected the episode in the right panel, and the existing ID3 tag information is shown in the left panel:
4. Scroll down the left panel to get to the artwork image at the very bottom (a gray blank in this case):
5. Right click on blank album art area and click on ‘Add cover’:
6. Select the image file that you wish to use for your album art, then hit ‘Open’. I strongly suggest an image of around 300 x 300 pixel, in a jpg or png format:
7. You will now see the image that will be applied to your MP3 file as its album art previewed in the left panel:
8. Finally, make sure you save the changes to your MP3 file using the ‘File > ‘Save tag’ menu option:
And, that is it! It really is that simple.
If you now load the MP3 file in to your favorite media player (e.g. Windows Media Player), you will see that the album art you added is now shown as your episode is playing. Similarly, if you fire up the episode on an iPod, the album art image will be shown on the display as the episode is playing.
In summary, we’ve looked at :
- Why you need to add album art to each podcast episode
- A free package called MP3tag that you can use to add album art
- How to actually add the album art
- How to verify that album art is displayed after you have modified your MP3 file to include album art.
Tags: Tags, Artwork, Intermediate