Ever since iTunes was introduced in 2001, Apple has continued to tinker with it, updating how it works and how you access and play music. iTunes 11 has introduced some interesting new interface components, but simplicity and elegance within iTunes are only skin-deep. The app remains a complex, frequently unwieldy beast, primarily because it now has to deal with managing all kinds of media on your Mac, including books, TV shows, movies, and apps. At best, you can sometimes hide the clutter, but iTunes is no longer an app with a razor-sharp focus.
The purpose of this group test, then, is to explore alternative apps that focus on the single act of playing music.
If your iTunes library consists of more than a few hundred tracks, you're probably familiar with Doug Adams and his Dougscripts website. A treasure trove of iTunes-related AppleScripts, the site has long helped plug the gaps in Apple's music player, and allowed music fans to better manage their growing libraries. Adams' TrackSift goes a step further, bundling nine useful tools with a simple graphical front-end for easier use.
Developers may have noticed a little surprise in their inbox from Apple today. iTunes Match Beta is now available for a test drive. Even better, Apple also notes that beta subscribers will get an additional 3 months free with their $24.99 paid subscription in order to cover the beta plus the 12 months after launch.