If you're looking for a jukebox with excellent tag support, the capability to download album art, customization options, and portable MP3 player syncing, don't settle for second banana. MediaMonkey is one iTunes alternative that you'll go ape over.
Deciding to recommend the cross-platform Songbird as a Featured Freeware required a bit of an internal struggle. On the one hand, it's the lovechild of a boozy Firefox-and-iTunes hookup, from the music jukebox interface to the browsing behavior. What's not to love about that mashup? However close it hops to the edge of its nest, though, the app is still in beta and buggier than an Alaskan summer. When considering that not-significant drawback against the music-management, music-discovery, and Web-browsing features that take wing along with broad MP3 player support, it's hard to deny that Songbird injects some … Read more
When I tested the open-source jukebox aTunes, the fast installation was followed by shockingly sluggish tree navigation, required to add my song library. Fortunately, the subsequent scan was flawless, handling 7,500 tracks in about 10 minutes. In music terms, the show started off with some bad feedback, but then aTunes really got rockin'.
There's a lot going on in this iTunes competitor. It's got some failings, notably no plans for firmware-based MP3 player support. That means no iPods or Zunes allowed. aTunes does offer excellent support for players that behave like external hard drives, simply playing songs … Read more
Not mere freeware, but open-source alternatives are well-known for nearly every major category of software. Firefox and Linux are probably the most famous, but OpenOffice, GIMP, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Miro, and others have made themselves known in practically every genre. Heck, there's even an open-source firmware for your portable MP3 player--Rockbox.
One area that's been notably lacking some open-source love has been music jukeboxes. Competing with iTunes takes serious chops, even for programs that haven't opened their code like Winamp and MediaMonkey. However, there are a growing number of iTunes competitors that are gloriously open. Two that … Read more
iTunes needs little in the way of an introduction--especially for Mac users. Apple's popular media player comes equipped with the capability to play your music, rip CDs, help you buy music from the iTunes Store, and much more. Those with new iPhones (or the latest firmware update) should definitely download this latest version to gain access to Apple's iPhone App Store.
Check out this First Look video with Download.com's Jason Parker to find out a little more about iTunes, along with some features and hot-keys experienced users may not already know.
Good, then bad, and now good again, Winamp has had a bit of a roller coaster life. The last few updates, starting about version 5.3, took some long-needed steps to improve the old-school media player, with support for AAC encoding, CD burning, and a robust file-management system. The latest, 5.51, ups the ante with strong support for portable devices, including iPods, the capability to sync non-DRMed files to your PC from your device, an optional new interface layout, and a built-in browser for media discovery.
Clicking on an artist's name will get you related headlines and Web … Read more
As the Songbird-produced cartoon to the left shows, even though the browser is still in beta it's getting stronger all the time.
The latest update, version 0.6 for Windows, Power PC Macs, Intel Macs, and Linux, includes the ability to handle turkey-size music collections greater than 10,000 songs, improved memory management, a metadata editor, improved portable player syncing, support for SHOUTcast, and more.
The code improvements have allowed for smoother scrolling, faster filtering, and just overall better management of music collections of any size. Songbird is well on its way to being a serious jukebox. Other … Read more
During installation, you have to be careful if you don't want to set JetAudio Basic as the default application for audio and video files. However, the freeware application gives you plenty of reasons to make it your only player.
The interface has a modern design that looks like an equalizer. You can customize each section of the program, from CD ripping to format conversion, to your heart's content. The program can convert files among some a number of formats, as well as read and edit MP3 tags. The built-in Cross-fader, Reverb, and Wide-sound modes provide a nice touch … Read more
Mac users may have it easy with iTunes, but Windows fans should look elsewhere for solid features, a customizable interface, and device syncing support that doesn't devour resources. That's why there's MediaMonkey, which juggles excellent library-management tools with skins, plug-ins, autotagging, links to the Amazon.com MP3 store, track encoding, podcast catching, and more.
Upon first launch, the program scans your drive for supported digital media files to add to the library. Files are sorted based on their ID3 tags, and the helpful Auto-Rename and Auto-Tag From Filename features keep untagged tracks from falling through the cracks. … Read more
At least on the PC, iTunes' performance has been less than stellar. Sure, it set the standard for jukeboxes early on, but most of that was probably tied to its then-exclusive ability to sync with the ubiquitous iPod. Now that device syncing, and especially iPod syncing, is a must-have feature, iTunes' other flaws are standing out like a mohawk in Mecca.
Swinging in to the rescue on one heck of a lengthy vine is MediaMonkey 3. The latest free version of this Windows stalwart, which has been beating its chest since the beginning of the decade, showcases some great new … Read more