Someone mentioned iTunes crushing their pre-organized directory structure for music, and sucking everything into it's own directories. Someone else said because they heard that, they'd never use iTunes. My reply:

It's pretty trivial to avoid if you know it's coming. It *sucked* for the first few people it happened to, but once it's happened to a friend or two, you *know* when it asks "organize your music collection?", to say no. That's it. That's the only sticking point.

iTunes is one of the two slickest players on the market. It has the ability to import whatever quality MP3 you want. It's a great podcast and videocast player/aggregator. It downloads album art for you, and you can view all of your albums by their album cover, flipping through things visually with CoverFlow. When you pop in a CD, it finds the Artist/Album/Track data for you.

It lets you do dynamic playlists, so you can dump "breaks, downtempo, male vocal, glitch" into the genre field of your ID3 tag, and have it find things for you. It burns CDs as either audio or data. It can print those album covers it downloaded for you, for the CDs it let you burn. It has a feature to let you back up your entire music collection.

It lets you share audio across a network; if you turn the feature on, everyone on your local network can see your music and play it on their machine from your hard drive. It's an open protocol, so projects like MT-DAAPD can run on a fileserver in your closet, and your laptop can have access to them anywhere in the house. It's trivially easy to setup an Airport Express to have AirTunes, and use that laptop to play to remote speakers, maybe over in the kitchen, and maybe down in the basement. Internet radio integrates right in, so you don't need to keep Firefox hogging resources to listen to things on Shoutcast.

It integrates into the iTunes Store, which is amazing if you want it... and goes away *entirely* if you don't. The iTunes Store also lets you buy DRM-free music, if the extra fee is worth it to you. I'm not a fan, for the record, but am amazed by the wealth of features iTunes offers, and the absolute ease of configuring the damn thing.

1 comment:

MEM said...

Just out of curiosity, what's the other slickest player on the market?

iTunes is a fine music manager; it's much less useful if you want to play music back in interesting ways. Or even uninteresting ways: I for one would love a right-mouse option for "Oops, I fucked up. Please crossfade this track out right now"...