Music is a big part of my daily life, especially on my computer. I listen to music all day long at work, then when I’m at home studying and working on various things I always have music running as well. I’ve been a faithful Winamp user for the last 9 years, but because I stream my music from my iPod, I’ve been forced to use iTunes at work.
Last week I started having some problems with Winamp responding to keyboard commands. It wasn’t stopping or changing songs unless I clicked off the player and onto the playlist. I’m not sure what provoked this. I did plug in a new keyboard a few weeks back, but it’s a standard keyboard and was working fine for the few weeks before. However, it annoyed me enough that I decided to abandon Winamp and start looking for other solutions. However, given the lack of new features (despite numerous upgrades) I basically let that be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
A co-worker mentioned that he used MediaMonkey so I decided to give it a shot. I fell in love right away. The interface looks like Winamp, taking the best features of it. I was able to plug in my Last.fm plug-in with no problem. The media library management was superb, and there seems to be an active developer community around the product. After a few days, I was hooked and paid the $35 for a life-time license.
Winamp is as good as gone for me, but now I’m on the quest to get rid of iTunes. I basically use iTunes for two functions:
- the streaming/managing of music to my iPod
- Downloading and managing Podcasts
I ran MediaMonkey on my work computer, streaming music from my iPod. When I fired iTunes back up to get the latest batch of Podcasts, iTunes freaked out and started that stupid “Gapless Playback Analysis” operation. I understand that MediaMonkey is not a native product for the iPod and likely screwed something up in the “Gapless” information, but I still blame iTunes for being so sensitive about this, and that I cannot shut down the automatic “Gapless” scanning. This is fast becoming the catalyst for moving away from iTunes. MediaMonkey looks like a great alternative for area number one. However, the Podcast handling may prevent me from fully moving away from iTunes.
It’s not that iTunes is such a great podcast aggregator as much as every other aggregator is lame. It seems like about every week iTunes will screw up one of my feeds and try to download every single episode on that feed (regardless if I’ve already heard it). I’d love to get rid of it, but I can’t find any other alternative. Juice or iPodder gave pretty good competition – 2 years ago, but no one has developed on that for a loong time. I tried messing with a few others – Doppler and Happyfish, but they sadly don’t match the functionality of iTunes. Right now it seems that I’m stuck dealing with iTunes for podcasts. It sounds like the next version of MediaMonkey will incorporate podcasts. I’m anxious to try it.