iTunes and Album Art Learnings.
It used to be that all you needed to do to get iTunes to pull down the Album Art for your newly ripped CDs was to set the Album Artist on your songs to match the iTunes store's Artist. Not anymore, as I discovered when I ripped a couple of new discs.
To get the Album Art directly from iTunes, you must match both the Artist track Name (Title), and Album on a single local track song to the Album Artist and Album title from the iTunes store. This isn't too difficult to do manually. Once I've ripped all the tracks, each with it's proper track name and artist, I just change the first track. I then ask iTunes to get the album art, and change the first track back to the correct Artist and Name. iTunes then applies that Album Art to all the tracks in that album.
This works well enough most of the time, but the logic behind it isn't quite right.
For instance, on the Monty Python's Spamalot — Original Broadway Cast Recording, the first track is the orchestra tuning up. The name of the track is "Tuning", and the artist is "Orchestra". This is the correct information, from the CD insert itself. But to grab the Album Art, I needed to change that track's Artist to "Monty Python", and the Album to "Spamalot (Original Broadway Cast)". Clearly, since Monty Python is merely a fictional titular construct, he cannot perform an entire Broadway musical. And of course each track has a different artist; a variety of artists perform each song.
This behavior is even more incorrect for the variety of trance and techno compilations I have. The iTunes store knows that, on Bond Beat & Bass — The Elektronika James Bond Themes, track 1 is called "Intro", by "O.T. Zehn". But iTunes won't download the Album Art until I change the track's Artist to "Various Artists".