On Windows, most people manage their music libraries via iTunes
, the nice, user-friendly music manager that everyone knows about. But here on Linux, we're expected to use some program called Amarok
that nobody's heard of. And it sucks. I mean, here are the features:
|Artist Info Lookup||No||Yes|
|MP3 Player Management||iPod Only||Yes|
|Album Artwork Management||Yes||Yes|
|Music Store||Yes||Magnatune Only|
|Plug-in Support||Mac Only (via Applescript)||Yes|
Kidding aside (I know I'm 3 days late), Amarok seriously does have all these features. In addition, I'm running 4 scripts (911tabs, Tag Clouds, BPM Calc, and amaKode), and it still takes up less RAM than iTunes did on Windows. Plus, it has support for dynamic and static playlists like iTunes, along with a tagging system. Everything in it is very tightly integrated, as well. With version 2 (to go with KDE 4), they're going cross-platform, releasing an official Windows port.
Someone said that Amarok's iPod management is better than iTunes's. Not true. Whenever you add a song to an iPod Shuffle in Amarok, for instance, it's appended to the end of the playlist. Even if you drop it into a certain place, it will always be on the end. Maybe I'm just bitter about this because I use a Shuffle, but it's annoying enough to make me use GTKPod instead. On the other hand, Amarok can be used to submit plays from your iPod directly to Last.fm, which iTunes can't.
The context browser on the left-hand side is also undeniably cool. It has tabs for an online lyrics search, song/artist/album information via MusicBrainz
, and Wikipedia-based song/artist/album lookup. Through MusicBrainz, it can even guess the ID3 tags for songs you don't know.
A word on the music store: Amarok has built-in support for the Magnatune Music Store
, which sells DRM-free MP3, FLAC, or OGG files, which you can re-download later if you delete them. You can pay $5 or more per album, depending on what you feel like giving them- $5 if you're a cheapskate, $10 or more if you feel generous. Of course, there's a catch- they have a *tiny* catalog. Still, there's something for everyone- I found a great album by a metal band called Utopia Banished and paid $10 for it after hearing the full-length
Of course, if you want more, there's always Amazon.com
's music store, which has its own Linux client and also sells DRM-free files.
Thanks to features like tags (which can be assigned to songs), collection browsing, auto-tagging, and an automatic track-scoring system, Amarok is ideal for people with huge music collections. Windows users, when Amarok 2 comes out, try it. You probably won't ditch iTunes, but you might end up not using it for anything other than buying music, if even that.
From SimplyMEPIS 7.0,
Labels: amarok, apple, itunes, kde, Linux, multimedia, windows