Character encoding influences cover display?

Will ISO-8859-1 show the album covers? When I use ISO-8859-1 the album art doesn't show in VLC Player, Windows Media Player or my car stereo. Everything else shows ok. Is this normal?

The character encoding has very little to do with the embedded cover.
I think that VLC has a cache, so has WMP and WMP also likes the file folder.jpg.

As UTF-16 is the superior encoding, I would use that - otherwise you might see strange characters if the code page is not the same in the player.

Thanks for the info. I typically try to remove strange and foreign language characters when I name files so I can avoid naming issues. I use Advanced Renamer with a bunch of custom scripts to rename files. Then tag everything in Mp3Tag.

I used to use UTF-16 but I found that the names would be cut off when being displayed in my car

Does adding an APE tag to each file help with missing tags in various apps like VLC, WMP & others?

On the contrary. Where possilbe, delete APE tags.

Here is a thread on how to delete the VLC cache.

and here is the folder for WMP:

Will this work if I have deleted all of the folder.jpg & albumart.jpg files in the folders and only keep what is imbedded in the tags?

I usually remove all of the APE tags anyway so it is good to know that I should be deleting those

for decent players this is true.
Esp. for the car player I doubt that that looks for external graphic files.
WMP is a mixture. In release pre-W10 it needed folder.jpg - but then I wonder: who uses WMP?
A decent player would be foobar2000 where you can set which pictures should be prioritized.

If you insist on WMP then it should an easy task to export the embedded covers with an action of the type "Export cover to file"

WMP will do this automatically for you. It even does not care if you already have your own folder.jpgs maybe of a higher qualiity. If these are not write--protected you will lose them because they get replaced by WMP.

You can avoid this with a registry tweak:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Preferences]
"LargeAlbumArtSize"=dword:ffffffff
"SmallAlbumArtSize"=dword:ffffffff

My car stereo sees some cover art when I use the UTF-16 but it cuts off the name tags at 8-16 characters or so. When I switched to the ISO-8859-1, the name tags show properly in the car stereo but no artwork. I'm just concerned that the ISO-8859-1 is stripping out the cover art out of the file since it does not show properly in VLC, WMP or my car stereo.

I'm trying to find a tagging system that shows everything, everywhere properly. That may not exist though.

I don't like the .jpg files cluttering the folders so I remove them if an app puts them in. I only want the art files embedded in the mp3 tag itself.

If that is your concern, then I can say: that would not be the cause why your players don't show the covers..
There are many threads in this forum that deal with car stereos and their lack of functions esp. in respect to the display of covers.
Try "car stereo" in the search and see if you find inspiration in the list of hits.

What you you call name tags?
The file names?

I'm referring to the artist, title, album tags. Filenames are ok.

could it be that your player reads the V1 tags? Does it ever show the ALBUMARTIST?

I typically leave out albumartist tags unless the track is from an album. The car stereo only shows artist, title and album, no album artist

Best results for display are usually achieved when the following fields are filled:
ALBUMARTIST, ALBUM. ARTIST, TITLE, TRACK

So I would check with a selection of files that have these fields with data whether the picture is displayed. Otherwise it could be that the player groups all tracks with no ALBUMARTIST to "unknown" and accidentally one of the files has no embedded cover ... and that is then taken for the group.

So using ISO lets the full length longer tags display in your car, but using UTF-16 cuts them off at some shorter fixed length? This is unusual even for a car radio where there seems to be no real identifiable "standard" that an of the manufacturers use.

Yeah I thought it was weird too

Good idea! I will try that.