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  #1  
Old 02-10-2010, 08:30 PM
David Tucker
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Default Music Organization: Which Application Wins?

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/big_media_organizer_showdown_three_apps_compared?page=0,0' target='_blank'>http://www.maximumpc.com/article/fe...mpared?page=0,0</a><br /><br /></div><p>MaximumPC has done an interesting side by side comparison of the big three options out there for music organization on your home PC. To be honest, most people will have a hard time really making much of a selection based on the software and are far more likely to be choosing based on what their device of choice is. In the case of the iPod and Zune, we&rsquo;re mostly tied to using the software designed for it.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/wpt/auto/1265829061.usr307.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>But if you don&rsquo;t like your options with your current software solution, it&rsquo;s certainly not impossible to use a different program to manage your media and a different one to load your player. The three that MaximumPC looks at are iTunes (of course), Zune, and Songbird. <MORE /></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/wpt/auto/1265829066.usr307.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>If you want to know what they have to say about each one, I&rsquo;d suggest reading <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/big_media_organizer_showdown_three_apps_compared?page=0,0" target="_blank">the article</a>. With iTunes, they definitely nail the biggest advantage as being the large library of, well, everything. If content is king (it is) then iTunes rules the roost. Of course, without a subscription option, iTunes may as well effectively have no content for me, so that&rsquo;s why I lean towards Zune. MaximumPC definitely likes the current software. And its ability to stream to many different devices is a killer feature. Songbird remains an interesting option but there is nothing about it that really makes me want to use it.</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/wpt/auto/1265829072.usr307.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #d2d2bb;" /></p><p>The software all has their downsides, of course. The most serious one to me is that with iTunes, if you delete a song, you&rsquo;re out of luck. With the lack of a subscription option, this could potentially be devastating. I don&rsquo;t necessarily agree with all of the shortcomings mentioned for Zune but I do agree that its limited ripping abilities are a pain and have required me to open other software to rip my CDs at times. And Songbird, with little to interest me to begin with, doesn&rsquo;t even work well on 64 bit Windows 7 which is what I, and many others now, are using.</p><p>So what software is the best? There is no right answer. I do think that iTunes and Zune stand above the other options out there. For absolute breadth of options, you can&rsquo;t go wrong with iTunes. As someone who wants to experience as much music as possible, however, the Zune with the Zune Pass is still unbeatable.</p>
 
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2010, 10:35 PM
Sven Johannsen
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Very near the top is "If you're one of the many people using Windows' default music libraries to organize and store your files, stop. Just stop." I don't get it. Is it just becuase it is provided with the OS by MS that Media Player can't be good? With that one line it is totally discounted.

Guess I'm alone, but I like what MP has to offer. I run Zune since I have several Zunes, and iTunes since I own an iPhone, so this is not just a matter of, it's all I know. In fact I have to spend a lot of time with those other two apps because I have to.

Never have figured out why iTunes must create multiple copies of Albums and put seemingly random tracks in each copy. Don't understand why it can't find more than 80% of the album art that MP and Zune have no problem with. I find it klunky and irritating. It's OK for managing the software on my iPhone.

Zune is visually great and pretty simple to buy stuff, though I tend to buy CDs and rip almost exclusively. Been burned by fickle DRM schemes. Who though decided that I can only like or not like a track though. Must have been a softie, you know 1 or 0. Otherwise not too bad, but lack a lot of the options I was used to in MP.

MP has so many great features. Played with dynamic playlists much? You can create playlists of things you like, based on a 5 level scale, things you haven't listened to in a while, things you tend to listen to at night, things you haven't seen at all (newly recorded TV for example). You can arrange independent sync lists for your media player, phone, other phone, USB stick, and populate them with static or dynamic lists.You can rip in numerous formats and bit rates, and have virtually complete control of how the file names are constructedand the file hierarchy theyare stored in. You can actually have all the tracks on a CD, under the CDs folder under a folder for the artist. What a concept. MP can manage my music, videos, recorded TV, pictures, etc. If I want a nicer looking interface to experience my media, in Vista and Win 7 I just have to pop up the Media Center 10 ft interface, and all the management done within MP is available for enjoyment, music by artist, album, date, playlist, genre, pictures by rating, date, whatever.

I really wish the Zune front end, would just access the media structure that backends the MP files, so that I could manage my media with one program that is good at it, and experience it with the ones that are good for that.
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Last edited by Sven Johannsen; 02-10-2010 at 10:38 PM..
 
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  #3  
Old 02-11-2010, 12:35 AM
OKCrew
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I too prefere WMP over iTunes. I have both. Don't have Zune, so cannot comment there. I prefer WMP UI but use MediaMonkey for administrative tasks for music. It is a lot more powerful and easier with batch tasks.

What I cannot stand with WMP is the changing and adding of album art. I have turned off all tag/art updating in WMP and do it all with MediaMonkey. WMP is strictly a frontend along with Media Center.

What I really would like is a WMC integrated frontend for music like MyMovies is for my videos. The app I envision would be very much like MyMovies with customizeable UI in WMC and a library management tool outside of the frontend. Artiists would be associated with bios and photos. Backdrop.jpg for fan art behind album covers/liner notes etc...

I have already been creating backdrop.jpg images for album artists and generes for my hiearchal folder structure in anticipation of such an app.

I realize I am describing the Music add-in for MediaBrowser to some extent but I would like something a little more polished and easier to use and manage.
 
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:15 AM
Joel Crane
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This article is very applicable to me right now. Up until now I've been using a 512mb Mass Storage based media player, so Windows Media Player did the job. I'd been wanting a Zune for a long time, and the sole reason I chose a Zune over an iPod was iTunes. Works great in Mac OS, but not so much in Windows.

A girl at work gave me her 2GB iPod Nano, which is both a good and bad thing. The iPod itself is just great, but iTunes has given me nothing but problems since I installed it. First, like the article says, it looks completely out of place in Windows. It looks horrible. Second, it doesn't agree with my current library setup, and WMP must remain active for my Xbox 360 streaming to work well. The two programs fight over my music library, it's like managing two libraries on two different computers. What a pain!

At least Linux supports syncing to my iPod, too bad it can't stream to my 360.
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2010, 03:07 PM
doogald
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Tucker View Post
The most serious one to me is that with iTunes, if you delete a song, you&rsquo;re out of luck.
This is not 100% true.

First, when you delete a song, it asks if you want to remove it from the library or put the file in the trash. Take the first option and it's not that hard to get the song back; the second isn't too hard, so long as you haven't emptied the recycle bin.

Second, if you are talking about a song purchased in the iTunes Store and you have synced with an iPod/iPhone, the next time that you attach the device to sync after deleting a song from iTunes it will inform you that there is purchased content on the device that is not in iTunes and will ask if you want it synced back to iTunes.
 
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2010, 05:47 PM
Phillip Dyson
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I find it interesting that they have a comparison point for "Apple support" but not for Zune support.

This really seams like they wanted to compare iTunes and Zune, but through in SongBird to seem like they're being unbiased. Why choose SongBird and not something like MediaMonkey.

My answer is that SongBird is being billed as a possible iTunes replacement. The real question is which one of these media players is not like the other?
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:25 AM
David Tucker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doogald View Post
This is not 100% true.

First, when you delete a song, it asks if you want to remove it from the library or put the file in the trash. Take the first option and it's not that hard to get the song back; the second isn't too hard, so long as you haven't emptied the recycle bin.

Second, if you are talking about a song purchased in the iTunes Store and you have synced with an iPod/iPhone, the next time that you attach the device to sync after deleting a song from iTunes it will inform you that there is purchased content on the device that is not in iTunes and will ask if you want it synced back to iTunes.
The point was simply that once a song is gone...it is gone
 
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