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[Ask The Readers] Winamp vs. iTunes, MediaMonkey, Xbox Music: Your Favorite Windows Music Player?

We’ve previously discussed and asked you about your favorite archive manager, and now it’s time for discussing a subset of the media player category: music managers. I’ll be discussing why I prefer a certain music manager, before leaving the stage to hear your opinions about your favorite software for managing your ever-growing digital music library.


Image via Shutterstock

Before I start: I humbly ask you to not judge me for this, since the digital jukebox software I prefer is among the desktop software most hated by advanced, power users. Yes, I am talking about Apple’s iTunes. Bloated, uncustomizable, I’m-never-coming-on-Linux, iTunes.

iTunes gained popularity after the launch of the original iPod, because it was a necessity for syncing music between a computer and Apple’s portable music player. Since then, Apple has launched the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that still invariably rely on iTunes for some advanced tasks.

iTunes itself has evolved considerably since its earlier years. It used to be a simple music player, but has since expanded to include a digital music store, App Store, video playback capabilities, a music discovery service (Genius + Radio), and support for dozens of iOS devices. As such, it has indeed become bloated. It’s slower, it’s less powerful and it’s a lot less customizable than its competitors, but I still prefer it over anything else.

I prefer iTunes because I am deeply invested in the Apple ecosystem now. I’ve got an iPhone 4S that works better when used with iTunes for syncing music, apps, and other personal data. It also displays all music metadata properly, which is something I find lacking in other players.  I’m subscribed to iTunes Match ($25/year) which uploads all my music online to Apple’s servers* for easy access on other supported devices. It ‘matches’ songs in your local library with iTunes’ own digital library of over 10 million songs so you can download DRM-free high-quality music at 256 kbps AAC to replace your low-quality rips downloaded from YouTube.

In short, iTunes also just works for me. It’s my one-stop shop for all things music-related. I generally don’t have to go anywhere else for syncing music with my devices, converting it to a more efficient format, discovering new music, controlling desktop music from my phone, etc. Besides, my computer is fast enough now that there isn’t a huge difference in performance between iTunes and, say, something like MediaMonkey.

However, that’s just my opinion of the digital jukebox scene. It’s your turn now: tell us about your favorite desktop software for managing and enjoying your music library. Maybe you’ll change my mind!

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