FetchArt Plugin#

The fetchart plugin retrieves album art images from various sources on the Web and stores them as image files.

To use the fetchart plugin, first enable it in your configuration (see Using Plugins). Then, install the requests library by typing:

pip install requests

The plugin uses requests to fetch album art from the Web.

Fetching Album Art During Import#

When the plugin is enabled, it automatically tries to get album art for every album you import.

By default, beets stores album art image files alongside the music files for an album in a file called cover.jpg. To customize the name of this file, use the art_filename config option. To embed the art into the files’ tags, use the EmbedArt Plugin. (You’ll want to have both plugins enabled.)


To configure the plugin, make a fetchart: section in your configuration file. The available options are:

  • auto: Enable automatic album art fetching during import. Default: yes.

  • cautious: Pick only trusted album art by ignoring filenames that do not contain one of the keywords in cover_names. Default: no.

  • cover_names: Prioritize images containing words in this list. Default: cover front art album folder.

  • minwidth: Only images with a width bigger or equal to minwidth are considered as valid album art candidates. Default: 0.

  • maxwidth: A maximum image width to downscale fetched images if they are too big. The resize operation reduces image width to at most maxwidth pixels. The height is recomputed so that the aspect ratio is preserved. See the section on Cover Art Archive Pre-sized Thumbnails below for additional information regarding the Cover Art Archive source. Default: 0 (no maximum is enforced).

  • quality: The JPEG quality level to use when compressing images (when maxwidth is set). This should be either a number from 1 to 100 or 0 to use the default quality. 65–75 is usually a good starting point. The default behavior depends on the imaging tool used for scaling: ImageMagick tries to estimate the input image quality and uses 92 if it cannot be determined, and PIL defaults to 75. Default: 0 (disabled)

  • max_filesize: The maximum size of a target piece of cover art in bytes. When using an ImageMagick backend this sets -define jpeg:extent=max_filesize. Using PIL this will reduce JPG quality by up to 50% to attempt to reach the target filesize. Neither method is guaranteed to reach the target size, however in most cases it should succeed. Default: 0 (disabled)

  • enforce_ratio: Only images with a width:height ratio of 1:1 are considered as valid album art candidates if set to yes. It is also possible to specify a certain deviation to the exact ratio to still be considered valid. This can be done either in pixels (enforce_ratio: 10px) or as a percentage of the longer edge (enforce_ratio: 0.5%). Default: no.

  • sources: List of sources to search for images. An asterisk * expands to all available sources. Default: filesystem coverart itunes amazon albumart, i.e., everything but wikipedia, google, fanarttv and lastfm. Enable those sources for more matches at the cost of some speed. They are searched in the given order, thus in the default config, no remote (Web) art source are queried if local art is found in the filesystem. To use a local image as fallback, move it to the end of the list. For even more fine-grained control over the search order, see the section on Album Art Sources below.

  • google_key: Your Google API key (to enable the Google Custom Search backend). Default: None.

  • google_engine: The custom search engine to use. Default: The beets custom search engine, which searches the entire web.

  • fanarttv_key: The personal API key for requesting art from fanart.tv. See below.

  • lastfm_key: The personal API key for requesting art from Last.fm. See below.

  • store_source: If enabled, fetchart stores the artwork’s source in a flexible tag named art_source. See below for the rationale behind this. Default: no.

  • high_resolution: If enabled, fetchart retrieves artwork in the highest resolution it can find (warning: image files can sometimes reach >20MB). Default: no.

  • deinterlace: If enabled, Pillow or ImageMagick backends are instructed to store cover art as non-progressive JPEG. You might need this if you use DAPs that don’t support progressive images. Default: no.

  • cover_format: If enabled, forced the cover image into the specified format. Most often, this will be either JPEG or PNG [1]. Also respects deinterlace. Default: None (leave unchanged).

Note: maxwidth and enforce_ratio options require either ImageMagick or Pillow.


Previously, there was a remote_priority option to specify when to look for art on the filesystem. This is still respected, but a deprecation message will be shown until you replace this configuration with the new filesystem value in the sources array.

Here’s an example that makes plugin select only images that contain front or back keywords in their filenames and prioritizes the iTunes source over others:

    cautious: true
    cover_names: front back
    sources: itunes *

Manually Fetching Album Art#

Use the fetchart command to download album art after albums have already been imported:

$ beet fetchart [-f] [query]

By default, the command will only look for album art when the album doesn’t already have it; the -f or --force switch makes it search for art in Web databases regardless. If you specify a query, only matching albums will be processed; otherwise, the command processes every album in your library.

Display Only Missing Album Art#

Use the fetchart command with the -q switch in order to display only missing art:

$ beet fetchart [-q] [query]

By default the command will display all albums matching the query. When the -q or --quiet switch is given, only albums for which artwork has been fetched, or for which artwork could not be found will be printed.

Image Resizing#

Beets can resize images using Pillow, ImageMagick, or a server-side resizing proxy. If either Pillow or ImageMagick is installed, beets will use those; otherwise, it falls back to the resizing proxy. If the resizing proxy is used, no resizing is performed for album art found on the filesystem—only downloaded art is resized. Server-side resizing can also be slower than local resizing, so consider installing one of the two backends for better performance.

When using ImageMagick, beets looks for the convert executable in your path. On some versions of Windows, the program can be shadowed by a system-provided convert.exe. On these systems, you may need to modify your %PATH% environment variable so that ImageMagick comes first or use Pillow instead.

Album Art Sources#

By default, this plugin searches for art in the local filesystem as well as on the Cover Art Archive, the iTunes Store, Amazon, and AlbumArt.org, in that order. You can reorder the sources or remove some to speed up the process using the sources configuration option.

When looking for local album art, beets checks for image files located in the same folder as the music files you’re importing. Beets prefers to use an image file whose name contains “cover”, “front”, “art”, “album” or “folder”, but in the absence of well-known names, it will use any image file in the same folder as your music files.

For some of the art sources, the backend service can match artwork by various criteria. If you want finer control over the search order in such cases, you can use this alternative syntax for the sources option:

        - filesystem
        - coverart: release
        - itunes
        - coverart: releasegroup
        - '*'

where listing a source without matching criteria will default to trying all available strategies. Entries of the forms coverart: release releasegroup and coverart: * are also valid. Currently, only the coverart source supports multiple criteria: namely, release and releasegroup, which refer to the respective MusicBrainz IDs.

When you choose to apply changes during an import, beets will search for art as described above. For “as-is” imports (and non-autotagged imports using the -A flag), beets only looks for art on the local filesystem.


Although not strictly necessary right now, you might think about registering a personal fanart.tv API key. Set the fanarttv_key configuration option to your key, then add fanarttv to the list of sources in your configuration.

More detailed information can be found on their Wiki. Specifically, the personal key will give you earlier access to new art.


To use the Last.fm backend, you need to register for a Last.fm API key. Set the lastfm_key configuration option to your API key, then add lastfm to the list of sources in your configuration.


Spotify backend requires BeautifulSoup, which you can install using pip by typing:

pip install beautifulsoup4

Spotify backend is enabled by default and will update album art if a valid Spotify album id is found.

Cover Art URL#

The fetchart plugin can also use a flexible attribute field cover_art_url where you can manually specify the image URL to be used as cover art. Any custom plugin can use this field to provide the cover art and fetchart will use it as a source.

Cover Art Archive Pre-sized Thumbnails#

The CAA provides pre-sized thumbnails of width 250, 500, and 1200 pixels. If you set the maxwidth option to one of these values, the corresponding image will be downloaded, saving beets the need to scale down the image. It can also speed up the downloading process, as some cover arts can sometimes be very large.

Storing the Artwork’s Source#

Storing the current artwork’s source might be used to narrow down fetchart commands. For example, if some albums have artwork placed manually in their directories that should not be replaced by a forced album art fetch, you could do

beet fetchart -f ^art_source:filesystem

The values written to art_source are the same names used in the sources configuration value.