XBox music app on Windows Phone and Meta Data / Tags/ Album Artwork
So I made the switch from a long history of iPhones to the Lumia 920 and while I really like the device one of the most important things to me doesn't work at all. It seems as if I have to decide between not being able to see any album artwork for my music or letting the xbox music backend take over and screw up my carefully organized library.
Let me start with some background info though. I'm using Macs only, have no intention of switching to Windows, but value good design such as the metro language and finally decided to drop that gradient-ridden and fake leather-textured iOS interface. And metro turns out to be as beautiful and pleasing to use as I imagined. What I also value though, is a well organized, clean, lossless music library and here the problems start.
While I'm not a fan of iTunes and never buy anything there (again, I prefer lossless), it got the job done. I was very surprised to see that iTunes is a requirement, rather than an option, to sync your WP device. Of course this comes with all kinds of trouble, crashes and errors with certain library configurations. This seems like a very amateurish move by a big player like Microsoft - if Apple changes things (iTunes 11?) Microsoft's connector app will be left out in the cold until the next update.
After sorting out initial syncing problems though, the next problem appeared: I'm absolutely clueless how Microsoft expects album art to be embedded - the only way to make it show up is using the option the update music files through the xbox music service. While this also gives me artist pictures, which I appreciate, it screws up basic meta data like album titles. To give an example, it tags synced albums with different case-settigns: Albums containing "the" in the title get divided into two albums, one with a lower "the", the other with an upper-case "The". I check back and forth, assuming an error on my part, but the album title are consistent in my original files. The change happens only after syncing and only on the device. To avoid this problem, you could disable the option to complete "missing" information with the xbxo music service. That, however, means I that won't see any cover art at all and it applies to all albums. Let me explain that I don't rely on iTunes proprietary cover storing function. I buy my music and first thing after downloading is checking the meta data; if needed I'll embed the album artwork directly into the individual files. Yet, windows phone seems to ignore that meta data completely.
So, TL;DR: Either xbox music screws up my tags by attempting to complete meta data or cover isn't shown at all.
Is this behaviour exclusive to the Mac or do you see similar results with the Windows Phone Companion app on Windows 8? Is there anyone that can provide additional information on this matter or even a solution? This issue would be a deal-breaker for me and I can still return my Lumia. I'd rather keep it though.