Any computer task—even one as enjoyable as rockin’ out to some tunes—can get a little dull. Enter MiniTune, a desktop remote app for iTunes. With it, you can control music playback with a little extra flair while adding some cool features to your musical routine.
Being jealous of Europeans is not something we Americans typically excel at. Maybe that’s why Spotify became something of a nerd cause célèbre -- watching longingly as friends in Europe shared favorite tracks and playlists on Facebook and Twitter led to too much fantasizing about all of the awesome musical riches that we’d share once American record labels finally stopped doing their head-in-the-sand routine. And at last, Spotify has landed on U.S. shores…but while we were waiting, another impressive option popped up, leaving us to wonder if Spotify was worth the wait.
Only audiophiles really care about audio files. But they can make a huge difference to your listening experience. Buying an expensive set of speakers won’t make a great deal of difference to your audio enjoyment if the tracks you listen to aren’t up to snuff. Unfortunately, iTunes lacks the ability to play many high-end audio formats, but switching to another player can turn your Mac into the equivalent of several thousand dollars’ worth of hi-fi equipment.
Sharing music was easier in the days of boom boxes and giant hi-fis that filled a room with sound. Now our music -- and devices -- are more portable, which is awesome, but if you want to share your tunes with a buddy you're stuck sharing headphones or using a splitter (which keeps you tethered together) or listen via your device’s tiny built-in speaker. With MyStream, you can use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to play the same songs on two devices.
Want to fulfill your Kraftwerk fantasies with a $12 iOS app? iVoxel is cool little app that's deceptively modest at first glance -- it takes a few minutes to work through the menus and appreciate the powerhouse of voxel magic. But that power becomes less surprising when you consider that the technology is based on the Matrix vocoder from the same developer which is notably used by Kraftwerk among other well known names.
iTunes has come a long way over ten versions—that is, unless your aim is to sync music and videos between multiple computers. Apple introduced Home Sharing in an effort to resolve this problem, but that approach doesn’t do much good when a song you want to play is stored on a computer that’s powered down.
You may not know this, but iTunes can show you the BPM (beats per minute) of your songs. You can even create smart playlists based upon the BPM. This is helpful when you’re working out and you want a constant rhythm for running or Tai Bo, or if you’re planning a party playlist and don’t want slow songs to bring down the dancing frenzy. But while iTunes can store and display this information, it can’t discern the actual BPMs from your tracks. But Cadence BPM Analyzer Pro can.
If all your songs were bought from iTunes, your library is already in good shape. But if you’ve ever dabbled in downloads from other sources (remember the good old days of Napster?), you know what a mess digital files can be. Your best friend might be the master of mixtapes, but he somehow still hasn’t learned to give you properly tagged MP3 files. You can spend hours correcting stuff by hand, or let Tagalicious give it a go.
Radium isn't an “app” in the usual sense. Instead it inhabits your menu bar for quick access to your favorite streaming radio stations. Just do a search and blammo, your favorite station is playing. The app features an equalizer that helps deal with the quality of internet streams, and the History feature has iTunes Store links to the songs you listened to.
If your iPod feels a little stale, Discovr might be a good way to freshen it up. Enter the name of any artist and their icon appears, surrounded by icons of six similar bands. Double-tap an icon to learn more about that artist; to spawn more bubbles of more artists, a single-tap will do (and honestly, that seems backwards -- we’d like it the other way around).