Yup, iTunes is outta here! Not because I don’t use iTunes to play music anymore but because I have a new way of launching it.
When I listen to music, I prefer to listen to full albums rather than random shuffles, I also quite like the interruption of the music stopping after an album finishes (it reminds me to take a break or at least makes me think about what I want to listen to next) so the ‘flow on to the next album’ style of iTunes default library mode doesn’t suit me very well.
Luckily, I found CoverFlow, a gorgeous little piece of freeware which really gets past a limitation of digital music that has existed since we all started ripping music onto our computers. At the time when mp3 really started to take off, finding and displaying album art was the last thing on anyones mind and while most media players now support in some form it is usually a second class citizen when it comes to choosing music to play, shunned in favour of text based lists.
Lists do the job but the human brain is significantly better at association with images than text and so it is a poor imitation of that old low-tech CD rack. I don’t know about you but wasn’t sitting down in front of your record box and flicking through it a thoroughly satisfying experience?
Enter CoverFlow, the virtual CD rack! There is no way to describe this app properly with words, so I made a little screencast.
I love it, so much that I have removed iTunes from the dock completely.
One exception to the rule of album art being a second class citizen is the iTunes music store. I will spare you my views on DRM and especially AAC DRM but the visual format of the music store shows that someone at apple understands this issue and the pages on the store are as much about the album and artist art as the album name and track listing.
Anyway, try CoverFlow if you haven’t already and go low tech again, it feels good.
Note: I just got told about a feature of iTunes I didn’t know about, in the library view if you click the Browse button then you get a filter view where the selection in the main library window filters down depending on your selection of genre, artist and album above and this basically does the same as CoverFlow . I won’t go to deep into the poor UI design of making a button with the same look and feel do such fundamentally different actions (Burn and Import are OK together because they are the same class of command, just available in different contexts but browse? Where is the connection!). But thanks for the tip anyway Eifion.