But when it comes to basic apps, the choices are not so clear and present. Take iTunes. Please. It plays music. And TV shows. And movies. Plus, it’s a built-in multimedia and app store. It syncs our wares to our various iDevices. In fact, iTunes does so much that there’s not really a direct competitor.
But there is an alternative to the music player in iTunes.
iTunes, We Hardly Knew Ye
My unofficial survey results indicate that about 99-percent of Mac users use iTunes to play music on their Macs.
It’s unofficial because I only asked 9 people, and then rounded the results number upwards.
Are there alternatives to iTunes? A few. One of them is Clementine, the music player and music library organizer.
What’s the compelling reason to use Clementine in place of iTunes? It’s free, so it could hurt to try it. Clementine is also multi platform so it runs on the Mac, Windows PCs, and Linux PCs.
The user interface is quite a bit different, refreshing actually, from iTunes’ clutter. It’s not better. Just different.
Preferences are straightforward and include options you won’t find on Apple’s iTunes.
For example, you can import music as MP3 files, and optimize for higher or lower quality as needed. But you can also import and playback many audio file types that iTunes won’t.
Clementine does Ogg Vorbis, Flac, Speex as well as the more standard AAC and WMA.
If you’re big on internet radio there are settings for Spotify, Grooveshark, Last.fm, SomaFM, SKY.fm, Icecast, and many others.
All the iTunes basics are there. Create smart playlists, dynamic playlists, and play regular audio CDs (without importing). You can use Clementine to edit tags (MP2 and OGG), get missing tags from MusicBrainz, and pull down album cover art from Last.fm and Amazon.
And, of course, you can sync music to your iPod from Clementine on your Mac. But, no TV shows, no movies, no iDevice apps, and much, much less clutter. Not bad for free, huh?
Despite the price tag and the Mac-like functionality, Clementine does more of what music and audio geeks like, elegant simplicity and esoteric audio file formats, and less of the crass materialistic iTunes methodology which is in-your-face commercialism.