beaTunes News

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Admittedly, this post is a bit off topic. But, if you enjoy playing guitar, please read on...!

A couple of weeks ago at ISMIR, I ran into Bas and Pedro, two of the guys behind Chordify. They gave me a little demo of what Chordify can already do and how simple and intuitive it is. I was impressed! Really cool stuff!

In essence, it lets you either upload your own music files or simply pick a YouTube video for it to analyze. After analysis, it spits out guitar tabs for the song in question. And to make it really easy for you, the user interface offers a player that visually shows you where in the piece you have to play which chord, i.e. the playback is synced to a kind of note/chord sheet. And it's synced both ways. In other words, you can start the player and an indicator will show you which chord to play. But you can also simply select a couple of bars and have the playback loop. This makes perfect sense, if you want to concentrate on practicing only a difficult section of the song.

Anyhow. I think this is great website. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Import Cover Art Plugin

beaTunes2 logoAs promised yesterday, here's the follow-up post to the yesterday's release of beaTunes 3.5.8. While attending this year's ISMIR conference in Porto, I became aware of the joint MusicBrainz/InternetArchive effort to provide users with an open and public way to look up and download music cover art: The Cover Art Archive at

This is exciting, because other cover art providers' terms (e.g. Amazon's) typically prohibit you from embedding downloaded images into your files. This is not the case with The only caveat: Of course all images are copyrighted by their respective copyright owners.

In order to take advantage of the new service, two things had to happen:

  1. Better support for managing cover art in the beaTunes API
  2. A plugin that could take advantage of the API and also talk to
The first part was realized yesterday with the release of beaTunes 3.5.8. Its AudioSong interface now offers additional methods for dealing with cover art. Part two is what this post is about:

The new Import Cover Art plugin.

(for the curious, the sources are available as maven3 project)

How to install the plugin

To install the plugin, start beaTunes 3.5.8 and open the Plugin pane of the application's Preferences. Click on the Available plugins tab, select Import cover art from, and click on the +-button.

After restarting beaTunes, select some songs, and click on Analyze. This will open the Analysis Options dialog. Scroll down and you will see a new task called Import cover art. You can configure the task to either add or replace cover art. If you choose replace, an attempt is made to replace front covers with new front covers and back covers with new back covers. Depending on the audio format, the type specific replacement may not always work (but it always works for mp3/id3v2 files). If you are using iTunes as your main music manager, you might not care about the distinction anyway, as it is not capable of telling what's what.

Once you hit Analyze, beaTunes will attempt to look up MusicBrainz Release Ids for the selected tracks and use those to retrieve the image files. Notice that I write attempt. If beaTunes can't find the release id, it can't use The other problem that you will most likely encounter, is, that the artwork may not be stored in the archive yet. Therefore, please contribute!


Contributing to is simple. The fine people over at MusicBrainz wrote a neat little guide. Just follow the guide!


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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

beaTunes 3.5.8

beaTunes2 logobeaTunes 3.5.8 is now available for download from the website. The release features mostly small changes under the hood, including faster start-up, improved lucky lyrics, fixed handling of punctuation in file names, and better support for programmatic (i.e. via the API) adding of cover artwork. More about that last improvement tomorrow... ;-)