If you've got a large music library, then you'll know that your album art soon gets out of shape. Software media players typically come with built-in album art managers, but these are often limited. Enter Bliss. This is a multi-platform (Windows and Linux) album art organizer that runs in the background to automatically keep your album art up-to-date.
- Automatically downloads and embeds album art
- iTunes compatible
- Web interface enables you to access Bliss over any network
- Inexpensive solution that can be run on a home server
- Doesn't support multiple library locations
- No advanced search facilities
- Operating system: Windows (XP, Vista, 7) ¦ Linux ¦ VortexBox
- Network connection: LAN/WAN
- Digital music library
Downloading and Installing Bliss: Setting up Bliss is a simple and straightforward process. To get the latest version, simply go to the Bliss website and choose the version for your operating system. For this review, we downloaded and installed the Windows version that installed without any problems. The program comes with a generous 500 fixes for free, which means that you can make 500 changes to your music library's album art before having to purchase extra fixes. Currently the options are:
- 1000 fixes for £10 (approx. $15)
- Unlimited fixes for £30 (approx. $46)
Settings: Bliss has a number of useful options in its settings menu to automate the process of organizing your album art. When settings up Bliss, you'll first need to tell it where to find your music library. Unfortunately, Bliss only supports one location. Many users have more than one location that they store their music in and so this option is very restrictive. If you've got music collections that are spread across more than one hard drive, or other type of storage device, then you could find yourself changing this option on a regular basis.
Interface: The program uses your default Web browser to display its information. The Bliss user-interface is well laid out and the menu system is easy to navigate. Once you have set up the program for the first time, there are essentially 3 main areas that you'll use. These are: the music library browser; individual song hyperlinks in order to fix album art and file paths; and the settings menu to fine-tune the way Bliss organizes your music library. Overall, the Web browser-based interface is user-friendly and makes it easy to work with your music collection -- even over your home network; just use the following UNC path: //[computer network name]:3220 in your Web browser's address bar (e.g. - //mypc:3220).
Music Library Browser: To browse the albums in your library, Bliss sports an alphanumerical filter bar at the top of the screen that you can use to display albums beginning with a particular letter, number, or symbol. Although this is a user-friendly feature, Bliss doesn't have an advanced search mode which would be useful for finding individual tracks, artists, etc.
Fixing Album Art and File Paths: Fixing album art in Bliss is a quick and painless process. The program uses various online resources such as: MusicBrainz, Amazon, Discogs, and even Google to source album art. If you use Cover Flow in iTunes for example, then you'll be pleased to know that Bliss can be used to automatically organize your music library far better. Bliss can also correct file and folder inconsistencies based on the rules you set.
Compatible Music File Formats
Bliss is compatible with a wide range of music file formats when organizing your album art. The audio file formats that it supports are:
Bliss offers the user a simple and inexpensive way to organize their music collection's album art at lightning speed. Even though it can be used for the smallest of libraries, it really pays for itself in terms of time saving features when used for monstrous music collections. The most impressive aspect of Bliss is the way it runs in the background and therefore keeps your music library in check based on the rules you set. If you've got a home network, then its Web-based interface makes accessing the program from any network-attached computer a breeze. Even though Bliss is a bit restrictive in its settings (only one music location) and limited browsing features (no advanced search facilities), it is certainly a recommended program to use. If you want to keep album art in sync with your music collection, then Bliss is certainly an essential addition to your digital music toolbox.