Cover images in comments in MP3 files are not supported?


I aplogize if my questions have already been discussed in another topic.

I discovered that an MP3 file can contain a cover image, which is not showed in MP3Tag. Also most audio players do not show the cover image, but some audio players do.
So what is going on?

I found out that the cover is in a comments field, which is not part of id3v2. It is nowhere showed in MP3Tag. I checked everything, also "Extended Tags..."

My first question: Could it be that I need to change a setting in MP3Tag to be able to see the cover?

So how do I know the cover is in a "comments" field?
I wrote my own audio player which uses getid3 (see ). With this libary you can retreive file info (id3v2 tags) from audio files. It also reads comments from audio files, which are not part of the id3v2 tags and some MP3 files have covers hidden in these "comments".

If I read the fileinfo with getid3,I see an asccoiated array $fileinfo and one of the keys is 'comments'.
$fileinfo['comments'] is an associated array with the following keys: picture, album, artist, band, title, text, lastweek, weeks, year, genre, comment.
Element $fileinfo['comments']['picture'] contains the picture data and the image mime type.

My next question is: Can covers being part of "comments" be handled by MP3Tag?

Because I could not use MP3Tag to remove the cover from the "comments", I had to find anothe way to remove the cover from the file. For this I used:

ffmpeg -i tagged.mp3 -map_metadata -1 untagged.mp3

This also works:

ffmpeg -i tagged.mp3 -map 0:a -c:a copy -map_metadata -1 untagged.mp3

After that I could edit the MP3 file with MP3Tag, add all the tags again, with a normal album cover.

My last question: Can you/somebody provide more information about these 'hidden covers'?


PS: If you need a MP3 file with a cover in the 'comments', I can provide it of course.

Would be nice to test it with others tool.


Could be technical possible, but out of standard.
I don't think that such rare edge cases will be handled by Mp3tag anytime soon.

This is the first time I hear about such a possibility.
If you provide such a mp3, we can have a look at it. You can send the DL link by PM if you prefer.

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Please upload a copy of such a file here, or to a public file sharing service, so we can all look.
Which application created a file with out of standard pictures in a comments field?

Hi there,

Thank you for your answers.

So like I said, it is possible to have an cover image in the comments of an MP3 file.
Why would you want to do that? I have no clue. Most software audio players don't see it, so what's the point?

I tried the following Windows apllications

  • AIMP
  • Foobar2000
  • MP3Tag
  • Media Player Classic
  • MusicBrainz Picard
  • VLC Media Player
  • Winamp
  • Windows Media Player

But my audio player does! :wink:
It uses the excellent library GETID3 (

See for the home page
See for the demo page
See for the file information of mp3 file "MPEG.mp3"

The file "MPEG.mp3" has got a cover image in the comments

I also installed the getid3 in a subdomain of one of my websites:

See for the homepage
See for the demo page
See for the file information of mp3 file "Lauren Daigle - You Say.mp3"
See for the MP3 file

The file "Lauren Daigle - You Say.mp3" has got a cover image in the comments.
It is a better example, because it does not contain any other tags.

I modified demo.basic.php to show the image. I added the following line as the first line of the script:

$filename = '../Music/Lauren Daigle - You Say.mp3';

and the following line as the last line in the script:

echo '<img src="data:image/jpeg;base64,' . base64_encode($ThisFileInfo['comments']['picture'][0]['data']) . '">';

So play around with "Lauren Daigle - You Say.mp3" and see for yourself.

The file that you linked has APE tags.
This is what MP3diags says about the file:

and apparently those tags have problems.
If you remove the APE tags, then the file tags should be OK.

This is what the cover looks like:

I found ID3V1, ID3V2.3 and APE tags in the file.
So, I would say that we either talk about different files or there are actually other tags in the file.

Hi ohrenkino,

You are right. I was playing around too much with all kind of different files.
The mp3 file "Lauren Daigle - You Say.mp3" now does not contain tags anymore .... and it still contains the cover image (which is what I hoped for).

If you go to,
you see the cover image displayed. It isn't displayed in one of the Windows applications I mentioned.

It's not that I am having problems with the MP3 file. I was just wondering which aplications support adding cover images to 'comments' and which audio players (hardware/software/mobile apps) show them? And why does MP3Tag not report the presence of these hidden cover images?

Yes, this was the picture that I found in the APE tags.
So everything is fine as APE tags are valid tags.
MP3tag does display them if you set "read" accordingly in File>Options>Tags>Mpeg.
It could still be that somewhere along the history of that file something weird has happened.
This is also diagnosed by MP3diags - you see the dump of the result.
The picture can be retrieved and saved by MP3tag - so if you enable all tag versions to be read and ID3V2.3 to be saved, then you should see the picture also in Foobar2000.

This what the extended tags dialogue looks like when you enable to read APE tags.
The header also says that there are only APE tags in the file (so this time it does not contain any other tags anymore).

In general I would remove APE tags as they irritate, just like in this case but also for other reasons.
This is what Foobar2000 shows about the file:

Clear! Thank you very much.

Opened the file again in different Windows applications. This was the result:

Displays cover in APE tag (when tags are not corrupted):

Foobar2000 - YES
MP3Tag - YES, but you have to enable it
Media Player Classic - NO
MusicBrainz Picard - NO
VLC Media Player - NO
Winamp - NO
Windows Media Player - NO

even though it does not really matter what features other players have implemented -
I opened the file with nothing but the APE tags in it with
Windows Media Player
and they all showed the cover...
(I won't supply dumps as proof - as I said: it does not really matter. If there should be problems with this file, then MP3tag can supply the various combinations which might lead to the favoured result).

What I would do:
Load the files of my collection an apply a filter with
%_tag% HAS APE

to show the files with APE tags and then see whether it is a good move to remove the APE tags to reduce further irritation.

Just one question; you opened the mp3 file I made available ( and in Windows Media Player and VLC you see the cover? That's weird, because I don't (and I checked it again).

But it doesn't really matter. At least I know what is going on, thanks to your help.

With no changes to the file after downloading, this is what I can see in mp3tag.

Playable with WMP and MusicBee with tags displayed for me.

I just checked with VLC (and deleted the picture cache prior to opening VLC) - and it also showed the picture.

What could be the cause: if you experiment with the file that does not only contain APE tags but also ID3V2.3 but there is no picture saved in the ID3V2.3, then it could be that the player uses the data from the ID3V2.3 tags.
As soon as there is just one tag version (here: APE) then the metadata is taken from this tag only.
You would have to take that either the various tags are in sync or that you only have one tag version.
I would recommend Id3V2.3 for best compatibility.

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