Refusing To Be A Victim

I’ve made a couple of posts about my Plex server and recently how I’ve been trying to clean up the files and metadata, specifically, the album art.  Using a self-written utility to audit the artwork dimensions and a downloading utility to find better versions, plus the effort of scanning and cleaning artwork that has no high quality option, I’ve done pretty well.

The next step was to clean up – actually add – the artwork for artists.  It’s a smaller effort, only 600-some items instead of 1600 items.  However, I wanted to get through it easily.  This process requires a bit of explanation on how Plex handles things.  Some of this I learned painfully as I went.

Plex gets a lot of its data from, which is really cool and pretty effective.  However, when you don’t want to use that data, you have to disable that “agent” for your library.  Because I was manually managing the artwork on my library, because I wanted hi-res art, and I also wanted the specific original cover instead of the cover on the latest remaster of the album, because of all this, I set everything in plex to manual.  No anywhere.  That was good.

However, that also meant I had no artist images or bios.  Since I had cleaned up my album art, I wanted to now download artists from  I wasn’t going to be picky about images there.  So I re-enabled the agent and stumbled around trying to figure out how to get plex to refresh the artist data from  It’s important to know that the command to use in the artist menu is “Match”.  That will allow you to pick an artist from for which to get metadata.

It’s also somewhat important to not use the command, “refresh all metadata”, because that caused Plex to utilize the newly-enabled agent and download all the data for my albums again.  That wiped out over half of my 1000px covers with 300×300 images.  When I saw this, I was devastated.  The worst part is that even if I used my auditing utility and worked my way through those hundreds of albums, the image picker in Plex gives no indication of which image is small and which is large.  It shows them equally at 150×150.  It would literally be a blind guess between 2 and 4 different images for 900 albums.  It’s not reasonable to accomplish.

I resolved to rebuild my Plex database from scratch.  That would wipe out all the effort I made on the artist artwork, but at least I could preserve my work on album artwork.  I would also lose hours I spent building my playlists.  And I figured if I was going to wipe out the database, I would try some more aggressive actions against it.

My auditing utility has only ever done database reads.  It doesn’t do any updates.  But I spent some time restructuring the code and adding a new feature, which I descriptively named, “replace art with largest version.”  See, Plex never gets rid of things, it just accumulates.  My data folder used to have 44k files in it, but after the influx, it now had 124k files.  All of my old artwork was there, too.  I just needed to scan and compare sizes, which is what I built my utility to do.

And within a day, I ran my new code and updated all the records to use the large artwork I had added previously.  It worked just as planned.  So now, I have my large artwork back, my playlists are still in place, and the artists artwork is still there.  It seems that anger is an excellent motivator for progress.

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