January 15, 2013
With its debut in 2001, iTunes revolutionized the way we consume music. It gave us a new way to listen, buy and store our music. The interface was polished and easy to use, which is what makes so many Apple products great.
Fast forward to today — and we find iTunes has turned into a bulky mess.
We are now on iTunes 11, which serves more advanced iPods and newer products such as the iPhone and iPad. iTunes has become a behemoth, hogging your computer’s resources as it serves too many masters and tries to do too much.
Personally, the issue that bothers me the most is the lack of customization available on the new iTunes interface. I have a large music collection and am really anal when it comes to the organization of my music –- everything must be perfect. The new iTunes just does not work for me. I no longer have the option to have lists of Genres, Artists and Album at the top of the screen and the rest of my collection below.
So I’ve started hunting for other options to house my music collection. My ideal music player would be sleek and fast. It would play nice with my Apple products and provide customization options.
Since I’ve spent a lot of time finding the right media player, I’ll share a few of the best, free options I’ve found (in no particular order).
Winamp used to be one of the go-to media players, back in the Napster and KaZaa days. One great feature is you can easily transfer your iTunes or other audio files over to Winamp. Also, it has now been revamped several times, providing great support for most audio formats you may have. You are also able to manipulate the interface to look any way you’d like, through the several different customization options. I do have to warn you though, there is a learning curve with Winamp, but once you get through the initial set up it’s great.
MediaMonkey is the more advanced media player in the list, but that means it has a lot of great features. One great thing about MediaMonkey is the ability to sync with almost any tablet or media player on the market, not just Apple or Android products. It also allows you to easily play and store any format of audio file available. If you’re an audiophile like I am, that means FLAC, MP3, OGG, M4A, etc. Another great feature the software has is it will let you easily convert your music to any format you prefer, which most media players cannot do. Overall, the software is sleek, runs fast and is full of customization options.
Double Twist looks very similar to iTunes, but a lot of the clutter and extra features that you see on iTunes are stripped away. It’s incredibly easy to use and customize to the settings you like the best for your music collection. Another great advantage is your music will load a lot faster than with iTunes, it’s almost instantaneous. Although it is simple to use, Double Twist will not sync with Apple products at this time, only Android devices.
This media player is the newest of all of the others listed, initially launching last December. Even though it’s new, the software could end up being one of the best options. One of the best features of the software is the ability to integrate web services, like Last.fm, into the media player in order to find new music. Amarok also is great for organization, offering each user the ability to select how the main interface is set up and set up cloud storage to back up files. If you’re willing to go through the help try out the initial versions of the media player, it’s a great choice.
Not everyone feels the same way as I do about iTunes, but I’ve officially moved on. I’m sure I missed other great options, so what are some other alternatives you’ve used before?