I have recently got a new car with a full graphical entertainment system. It’s a new Citroen C4 Grand Picasso with a built in Touch Drive system which includes a USB MP3 player. The system includes a 7″ touch screen which can display MP3 thumbnails.
My CD collection is already digitized and includes JPEG cover images for many of the CDs. I copied the files to a USB drive and inserted it into the car. The files played fine (or at least the first 18GB or so of files as there appears to be a limit to the number of albums that can be loaded), but only a small number of thumbnail images were shown.
After some investigation I found that it only shows thumbnails for mp3 files where the image is embedded within the MP3 Tags. The next challenge was to find a way to easily update the MP3 tags across thousands of MP3 files without having to manually edit each one. I found two programs, which are both open source and are available for Linux (as well as other operating systems such as Windows). I tested this on Ubuntu Linux 14.04 and can be found in the Ubuntu software store.
The first is MusicBrainz Picard, which was able to lookup the audio files automatically and in many cases add the images directly. It wasn’t successful with all my audio files, but was able to get a lot of the files updated which vastly reduced the number that I had to manually add.
EasyTag is more of a manual tool, but allowed me to go through the files that were not recognized by MusicBrainz Picard (which was still a significant number) and manually add a thumbnail image into the MP3 files.
Thumbnails images working on MP3 files
After adding the thumbnails then the cover images are now shown on my car MP3 player. It also has the advantage that lots of other software also recognises the images. This includes XBMC and other media PC solutions. So whereas before I had to create different thumbnails for different players, or I had to edit them manually in the software most players can read the MP3 tags.