This afternoon, rather than working on the book, doing the weeks of Quicken data entry I've been studiously avoiding, or committing myself to any other task that could remotely be considered an efficient use of time, I frittered away a good hour and a half downloading missing album artwork in iTunes.
For this, I blame Erik, who started it all a few evenings ago. And damn if this isn't an engrossing, addictive, rabbit-hole kind of task--at least for someone like me, who tends to be a completionist when it comes to things like this. (Why can I not be a completionist about, say, storyboarding, or finishing the text for my kitchen chapter, or recording payments received from my clients?)
I have to say, though, that the process is something of a pain in the ass. To get iTunes to recognize an album that you've added to your library from another source (whether a disc itself, another MP3 downloading program, or via some other method), you must be sure both the artist and the title appear in your library exactly--and I mean exactly--as they do in the iTunes store. In the world of iTunes, perplexingly, Belle and Sebastian and Belle & Sebastian are not the same band.
On one level, I can understand this: there are plenty of artists with very similar names, and an even greater number of albums called essentially the same thing. But why not take a tip from Google and offer users the option of confirming that, yes, by "Belle and Sebastian" they did indeed mean "Belle & Sebastian"? That would save us, collectively, a lot of anguish.
It's also a bit maddening that there are albums for which the iTunes store refuses to cough up artwork, even though the artist and title in my library match those in the store precisely. But there are some battles that evidently can't be won, and, in the grand scheme, probably aren't really worth fighting.