By Stephen Pate – When you try to rip all 36 of the CD’s of The 1966 Live Recordings Box Set there is no cover art for each CD.

There are a few simple ways to solve that since you probably don’t want your music library looking like the one below.  That’s my iTunes library after 12 disks were imported. I tried the “Library…Get Artwork” option but it didn’t work on this box set. Sometimes that happens.

Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings ripped to iTunes

Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings ripped to iTunes without artwork

Despite claims by Sony that it went to great lengths to get 36 new and unique photographs for the box set, they forgot to populate the database with the pictures linked to the metadata for the disks. Blame the usual slack treatment of these 50-year copyright releases. See below – “The lost Bob Dylan Live 1966 artwork.”

Sony also gave each CD 3 name metatags so you can end up with different CD names. If you want to find the different concerts on your iPhone or iPad, I recommend using the alternate CD title “Live in Sheffield, England (and date). Otherwise the disks will call be called “The  1966 Live Recordings…” forcing you to hunt and peck for the concert you want.

Easy solution to missing Bob Dylan CD artwork

I posted a question on Expecting Rain, and a bit later one of the contributors scanned in all 36 album covers, fronts and backs, and made them available for download. Nice guy.

After unzipping the file, normally in the sub-directory “1966”, all you need to do is update the artwork on each CD.

Right click on the CD in the library, “Get info…Artwork…Add Artwork”, pick the jpg and accept it with “OK”. Update – If the image appears upside down, the Exif orientation tag is wrong. Check the comments for the solution.

Allow iTunes a few seconds to update each song and that’s it.  There are 36 jpg’s, including the back cover. It’s handy to have the original CD to make sure you pick the right one for each CD.

Make your own personal artwork for Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings

While the CD’s are being imported into iTunes you can create your own CD art from videos and pics you find on the internet. I did that to pass the time and learn more about each venue and show. There may be a copyright issue with using other images. I don’t know because I’m not a lawyer.

Personalized artwork for Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings ripped to iTunes

Personalized artwork for Bob Dylan The 1966 Live Recordings ripped to iTunes

Here’s how I did it:

  1. As each CD was being imported, I Googled images for “Bob Dylan Sydney 1966” changing the city according to the CD.
  2. I read the pages for photographs that suited me to learn more about the show.
  3. I saved the photo to my computer and edited to more or less 500 x 500 pixels. That will make the CD artwork square.
  4. I also watched the promo video for the release (below) and Mr. Tambourine Man from No Direction Home. This gave me better performance shots than most of  the Google images since these videos are HD.
  5. I noted where the videos had good performance shots of Dylan then changed the playback speed to slow – “Settings…Speed….25”
  6. I scrubbed back at forth at the places I wanted a picture then grabbed the screen image with the Windows Snipping Tool. There is too much movement and blur in some screen snips so I discarded them and tried again.
  7. I tried to get the image square but didn’t worry if it wasn’t. That made my library look varied.
  8. Once the image was saved, I could decide which city to apply it to and then add the artwork to the CD’s in iTunes. I used the same image for concerts in the same city.

It was probably more work than I needed but whatever.

Later I asked my wife if she wanted to hear one of the “new” Bob Dylan CD’s. After a few songs from Melbourne she asked “Am I crazy or did I hear that before.” When I explained that there are 36 CD’s with more-or-less the same concert, only different cities, she gave me the “you’re crazy” look.

Two interesting factoids – 1. the price of The 1966 Live Recordings Box set, Live is now $127 v. $106 before release and 2. you still can’t buy the box set from iTunes just the Royal Albert Hall concert.

The lost Bob Dylan Live 1966 artwork

Mashable wrote a story stating Sony went to great trouble to create the artwork.

“Digital ReLab dug into the documentary and created in less than one hour 60,000 never-before-used low-res stills from the concert footage.”

“From there, the team chose 60 frames before going back to the original film and creating hi-res .TIF files. Finally, they selected the cover art for each of the 36 albums. ”

“That was made possible by Digital ReLab’s tool called Starchive — also used by Dylan’s team to assemble the CD’s live set — which connects digital media using advanced metadata, the extra tags and notes computers make about every file (date, subject, etc…).”

Great job but next time publish the files and metadata on the internet. Just saying.