4 Features iTunes Should Have By Now

11 09 2007

I use iTunes as my music player, and it suits my needs well enough. It’s by far not my ideal music player, but I like it more than any other options I’ve tried.

Except one.

Amarok is much better than iTunes. I like it a lot more, and I wish so much that I could use it all the time. The only problem is that Amarok is currently only available for Linux. It’s a great application, and is often cited as one of the biggest reasons to switch to Linux.

Amarok has a few very awesome features that, quite frankly, I’m surprised haven’t been implemented by now in iTunes.

In no particular order:

Built-in lyric display. Amarok has a tab on the side of the window called “Context”. One of the features on this tab is to display the lyrics of the current song. Shouldn’t this feature be a staple of every media player? Instead of going through Google to find the lyrics for a song, you can just open the Context tab and voila!
Built-in display of artist’s Wikipedia article. Also located in the Context tab, this handy little feature lets you read up on the currently playing artist. It also supports hyperlinks so you can click links to the band’s specific albums, songs, related artists, etc. and after a few songs wonder how you ended up on the article for Lesbianism in Erotica.
Automatic scoring of tracks. I’m pretty sure it’s called “Score”, but I’m not entirely sure – I haven’t used Amarok in a while. (I know!) In addition to having ratings that you manually input, Amarok keeps score of the tracks that are played. If I remember correctly, it bases the score (out of 100) on how many times the track has been played compared to the Most Played Track. If the song plays all the way through, it counts more than if you’d skipped it in the middle of playback. This is totally automatic, and gives you one more dimension for creating dynamic playlists.
More precise ratings system. Amarok allows you to rate songs with half stars. So instead of just choosing between 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 as in iTunes, Amarok allows you to give a song 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, etc. stars for a more precise appraisal of your music.

These four features would be at least as useful as the Album Ratings Apple put into the 7.4 version of iTunes recently. Don’t get me wrong; Album Ratings is cool – except for the fact that you apparently can’t remove an album rating completely – but these four features give you much more control over your music, and give you a richer experience.

Share your iTunes library between multiple computers

13 07 2007

For quite a long time, I was trying to manage two iTunes music libraries; one at work and one at home. I listen to music probably 7 out of 8 hours a day at work, but fairly rarely at home. But when I did listen at home, I didn’t have the same playlists I had at work, since many of them are dynamic, based on play counts and ratings.

I found a remedy a month or so ago, and now I can listen to the same library at work and at home. It works wonderfully.

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