There is a new song in the air
What application do you use to listen to music? Chances are that if you are on a Mac that you use iTunes and if you are on a PC than you use Windows Media Player (unless you have an iPod and therefore use iTunes). On Linux there is no unifying music software. Choices abound and with that choice comes better features. Fortunately that choice is beginning to spread into other operating systems than just Linux. There are three music programs that I am going to focus on today.
First lets consider the all-time favorite for most Linux users. Amarok is like the 500 pound guerilla of music jukebox players. It does just about everything you could possibly imagine and, to be honest, makes iTunes look silly. Frankly I am not going to spend that much time on Amarok because it has so much functionality that it annoys me. Ultimately I want a music player that stays out of my way and lets me just play the music, but if you find your current music player lacking Amorok is worth checking out. Word on the street is that they are finally going to port this great app to Mac and Windows with their next release, but I’ll believe it when I see it. If you are on Ubuntu you can simply open up the terminal and type sudo aptitude install amarok.
Banshee is a fairly new Linux music jukebox. Normally I only use tools that are cross platform so that when I am on the various machines I can have a little bit of congruity in my life, but Banshee is too good not to love. In fact, it is my player of choice and word on the street is that their next version will be ported to Mac and Windows as well (I can’t wait). It is the perfect blend of features and simplicity. The interface doesn’t get in the way like Amarok does. It features playlists and podcasts things that we have come accompanied to from iTunes and other software. A really nice feature is that it automatically grabs album art and it finds some pretty obscure stuff. It is also dead simple to rip CD’s through this program, as I can say from experience since I am trying to digitize my entire CD collection. It supports ogg out of the box, but you simply have to install the mp3 and flac packages for it work in Banshee, and you can install it through their gui. To install Banshee on Ubuntu just open the terminal and type sudo aptitude install banshee.
The final product is very new. In fact, it is still in beta and has yet to release a version 1.0, but is almost there. Songbird has just released their release candidate for version 1.0. Now I used songbird back when it first started, and back then I knew they had potential. Songbird is based on Mozilla code which helps it to be cross platform and gives it some distinct features that other products don’t. For one it offers the same add-ons feature that Firefox has and that promises to be a good thing. Also it is capable of being a full fledged browser which it uses in a unique way. The original concept is based on mp3 blogs aiding you in finding and playing the mp3s that are out there. But since then it has developed into a full fledged media player worth looking into. They even support iPods and boast that you can sync your iPod through their program. The version I am talking about is the release candidate that you can find here.
Notice in the pic how things are organized. There is your library in the middle, playlists on the left, tabs up top, and artist info at the bottom. One of the coolest features is the concerts notice bellow.
Based upon the music I have in my library it lets me know what concerts are coming up in my area. I am planning on going to both School of Seven Bells because of M83 and Vampire Weekend. Now I knew those concerts were coming up before this program, but I had to be very proactive in finding that information out. This simplifies it for me and so far isn’t missing any that I didn’t already know about. Now remember that this version is not the full release just yet so there may be some bugs and instability, but so far I haven’t run into any problems and like what I see. There is a Windows, Linux, and Mac install. For the Ubuntu users it isn’t in apt yet, but if you download the tar it is already in binary form. So it is a pretty simple untar and cd into the directory and run ./songbird and that should do the trick.
Hope you enjoy it.