Update: I made a Python script that will do the same as the command below, plus it will dump the embedded cover images in those directories which do not contain a cover image file already. It can process ~35GB of music in less than 15 seconds. Who said Python is slow?
This is useful for those situations in which one does not care about embedded album art in MP3 files. For example, when copying them on portable audio players it may be good to avoid the extra payload of the picture so more files can be squeezed in the —probably limited— device memory. Also, each song from the same album has exactly the same picture attached, effectively replicating it and wasting disk space; therefore one may prefer to store cover.jpg file in the same folder instead. Last but not least, most Open Source media players will ignore embedded album art, so it is of little use for those of us using otherwise fine players like Rhythmbox.
Thankfully, it is possible to completely remove those embedded album art images from MP3s in a non-destructive way. To batch-process a music library one can use the mid3v2 tool included with the exhaustive and powerful Mutagen tag editing library:
find ~/Music -iname '*.mp3' -print0 | xargs -0 mid3v2 --delete-frames=PIC,APIC
By the way, change ~/Music to whatever the location of you music library is
- Reference of ID3 tag frames.
- ID3v1 tags are evil, mid3v2 --convert --delete-v1 is your friend and will turn then into nice ID3v2 tags.
- List of Mutagen-supported frames can be obtained with mid3v2 --list-frames.