We understand that many of our customers invest a lot of time and effort in their playlists and that includes the artwork, not just the tunes. By artwork, we mean both the “sleeve” artwork of the individual tracks and the image attached to a playlist as a whole.
Retaining artwork when moving playlists between platforms throws up some significant technical challenges. We’ve invested much time and effort trying to ensure that Playlisty gives you the best possible experience, read on if you’d like to learn more.
Let’s say (like us) you’ve spent many hours creating a playlist on Spotify getting everything just right. And by just right we don’t just mean the right tracks in the right order, we mean that when you selected New Order’s “Blue Monday” you didn’t just pick the first mix you came to but instead carefully picked the one with the “correct” floppy disk cover art.
Let’s say you’ve then used a tool to copy that playlist over to Apple Music and your Blue Monday artwork gets translated to a fluorescent “Best of the 80’s” album cover. You’d be disappointed, right?
Well over the last year we’ve invested a lot of time & effort in Playlisty trying to keep that kind of disappointment to a minimum. Here’s how:
- First of all, wherever possible we match using the album or EP (which is usually associated with artwork) as well as the track itself. So when you match with (say) Spotify you are getting the same track from the same album, not just the same track.
- If an album or EP isn’t available to match against but there are still a number of different covers for Playlisty to choose from, Playlisty uses a complex algorithm to try to ensure you get the “best” artwork. For example we always avoid “best of” albums and compilation albums where possible and instead try to pick singles or original artist albums.
- Sometimes things will still look odd, often because (Spotify, we’re looking at you) we get given the “wrong” album by a music service. We try to correct these situations where possible, so if (for example) there are 5 tracks from album A and 1 track from album B even though that track was also available on album A, we’ll use the album A version instead.
Having said all of this there are some caveats which are worth bearing in mind:
- Playlisty will NEVER swap one track for another for the purposes of optimising artwork if it will result in a different audio file, so your playlist will always sound as it should. Sound always takes priority.
- Playlisty WILL choose tracks with “inferior” artwork if they have improved audio variants (e.g. lossless, Apple Digital Master or Dolby Atmos). It will also favour tracks which include song lyrics over those that don’t.
- Finally, bear in mind that sometimes the exact track you want just isn’t there in Apple Music. In those situations there’s only so much that Playlisty can do.
Unfortunately Apple don’t currently provide any means for apps such as Playlisty to associate artwork with a playlist in Apple Music. Technically it’s just not possible: the only way to associate artwork with your playlists is by using the iOS or macOS “Music” app.
However, we’ve done what we can to make the manual process of moving artwork from one service to another as easy as possible.
Specifically, while you are in the Library view in Playlisty, you can long-press on playlist artwork and Playlisty will give you the option to save the artwork straight to your photo album.
It’s then easy to pick this from your photo album when adding artwork to a playlist within the “Music” app.
It’s a bit clunky but until Apple give us an API for artwork we’re afraid it’s the best we can do!