Older iTunes Library: Error -50 when getting Album Artwork?

I have transferred my Sonoma Music Library from my Mac Studio Max M1 to a Mac mini located in the basement. The mini is an Early 2006, running 10.7.5 Lion. No system updates are available via Software Update.

Music files located on mini’s system play well on any Mac on our local network. What the files lost in copying them from the Music library on the Studio to Mac mini’s iTunes is the album artwork.

From the mini’s iTunes, attempting to download the album artwork shows a window saying I have to sign in with my Apple ID and password. Upon doing so, an error message is generated "Could not complete your iTunes Store request. An unknown error occurred (-50).

FWIW: I am able to use my Apple ID when signing in to iCloud when on the mini.

Any clues as to how to get past this?

There are a number of problems when Googling that error so I would keep trying but it seems that many are related to connecting to their server.

If the music files are from your own collection, when they were copied all metadata would have copied as well. That assumes your cover art is embedded in each file. It sounds like it’s not so I would check on that issue. If the music is from the iTunes Store, I’m not sure if the art is embedded for each track or globally somehow as all of my music is from my own CD’s or digitized recordings.

99+% of the music files are my own.

From iTunes on the older Mac mini, I could find no way to import music files directly from the Mac Studio’s Music library. Conversely, I could find no way to export files from the Music library to import into iTunes.

What I did was, from the Mac mini’s iTunes, select “import”, then directed that window to the Studio’s music folder and imported the songs/albums from there. Half a dozen of the albums came in with artwork but 99.9% did not.

Almost all songs/albums in the Studio’s Music Library have album cover art.

From the mini’s iTunes, attempting to download the album art failed with the -50 error message.

Copy over the entire iTunes media folder (which has had various names over the years - mine is ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music, having been migrated from Mac to Mac for a very long time) along with its Library database file (for me, this is ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library.itl.

Then open the .itl file with iTunes on the new computer. It should work.

If you want to migrate to Music, you should be able to open that .itl file with Music. It will then construct a Music library (for me, ~/Music/Music/Music Library.musiclibrary) that points to your music files, in their original locations.

This may preserve your artwork, since you should be bringing along the entire database with the music files themselves.

I would check on the Studio some of the files that are missing on the older computer using the Get Info command in the Finder and see if they actually have the image. Sometimes, one file in an album may have art and it gets propagated to the others in the database so it looks like the art is there when in fact some files don’t have it embedded.

The easiest way would to be to just copy all of the music files from the Studio to the Mini and then do an import. That should work assuming the art is embedded.

The OP was going from the Music app in Sonoma to an older Mac using iTunes so the index file is not going to work as they’re not backwards compatible but if going the other way, Music will import an iTunes index.

Some time ago, I explained the issue of embedded art with some screen shots which may be helpful but it’s hard to say if that is the issue:

Sorry. I missed that part. Yeah, there’s no way iTunes will be able to import a Music database. So any artwork that’s not stored in the song files themselves is going to get lost.

There may be scripts available to dump all the artwork on one computer, which you can then copy to the other computer and re-import. I haven’t reviewed them all, but Doug’s AppleScripts have a lot of scripts for managing artwork:

Doug's AppleScripts » Managing Artwork

A few possibilities come to mind:

  • The Save Album Art to Album Folder script, which exports each album’s artwork to a file in the folder with the tracks. This script costs $2. Unlicensed copies can only process 5 tracks at a time.
  • Then after copying everything to the other Mac, use the Restore Artowkr from Album Folder script to recombine them. This script is free, but a donation is requested.

Or Re-Embed Artwork. This should force Music to embed artwork in the tracks themselves. Which will (hopefully) allow the image data to survive being copied to another computer. This script is free, but a donation is requested.

There may be other options as well. It may be worth trying out one or more of the above scripts to see how they work. If they work for you, then consider making a donation. If not, then there’s no cost to try.