I got a set of MP3s recently that included embedded artwork (which turned out to be a 3648×2736 image that made my mp3 player freeze while it re-sized to fit the 480×272 screen for each track). Now I suppose the easy thing to do would have been to transcode it myself from the lossless files, or just download a different mp3 version. Instead, I figured there had to be a way to extract the artwork from the files. I first went to my go-to tag editor, ex falso, but it didn’t show the embedded art at all. A quick internet search turned up eyeD3 (via ubuntuforums), which is a command line tag editor.
To install in Ubuntu, open a terminal window and type
sudo apt-get install eyed3
Once it’s installed, navigate to the directory with your mp3 files and make a dirctory for the cover image:
To extract the cover art from the files, next type
eyeD3 -i cover, --write-images=cover file.mp3
Use a single, specific file name and not a wildcard *.mp3 or else you’ll end up with a sequentially numbered image file for each track. [If each track has different cover art go for it with the wildcard!] If you just want to delete the images without saving a copy, you can skip to the next step and type the following command:
eyeD3 --remove-images * *.mp3
which will remove all the embedded images.