Help my wife find an iTunes alternative
Yes, I know that there are a metric fuckton of these threads (that's just to head off the wisenheimers). I don't know enough about any of the options mentioned (after a painful fight with the crappy search function) to be able to value the responses in regards to my wife's issues.
Anyway, I'm getting her a new 80GB iPod to replace her oldish 20GB model. She asked this question:
"For those of you with iPods who refuse to bow to iTunes, do you have recommendations (for or against) alternative music loader/sorter thingies? It has been a deep revelation to me during my research that it is iTunes
that is the bastard that does not allow you to put songs on an iPod and then upload them to another computer.
I've poked here and there, but short of Consumer Reports actually weighing in on the subject, I'm not sure who, if anyone, to trust (Anapod, vPod, etc.)"
Now, I know (and I believe she knows) that this transfer from machine A to machine B has issues depending on DRM and such. If it's in fact possible to put a song on your iPod from machine A using iTunes and then put it on machine B FROM your iPod using iTunes (more than just once), speak up.
Anyway, my wife is a fairly savvy computer USER, and a not at all savvy "hacker" type (basically, she's adept at learning/using a GUI, but not so much with deeper than that). If there's wacky hijinx (need to "hack" the iPod, or write scripts to tack on functionality) involved in an otherwise good iTunes alternative, I'd need to know that up front.
Free would be ideal, but reasonable cost is not a barrier.
I could use a replacement too, the bloated beast of iTunes now skipping when I'm playing songs is really getting out of hand. So if you guys have any suggestions I'm all ears too! (well eyes I guess, since this is a forum)
I use jriver media center 11, which rocks, but it's a paid application. Many people like mediamonkey.
Stusser's got the thread ender. Both are great programs. MediaMonkey saved my disastrous MP3 collection. It's darn near organized now.
strusser: do you know if jriver media center works like itunes in regards to when your ipod gets too full it'll always make room for podcasts and then organize your music by rank/most played and update it with that stuff first before the rest of the songs?
It has pretty exhaustive smartlist capabilities, so I'd imagine so. I don't use podcasts myself. Give it a shot and see if you like it, it's free for the first 30 days.
Yeah I'm playing around with it right now, the only thing I'm not liking via the podcast issue is that there is no option to keep the unplayed podcasts until they are played, it's all time based / size based.
I realize that this isn't answering the posted question, but here's how I've gotten around the iTunes restrictions in the past. This came up when I bought my gf an iPod after I'd had one for a few months and spent weeks copying over our CD library. I was stunned to find out that Apple evidently expected me to repeat the process to get our music on hers as well.
In Windows, your iPod should show up as a removeable hard drive. Set it to show hidden files and folders, and with minimal poking around, you should be able to find where the music is stored. I was able to search this folder by song title and find the specific tracks I wanted to get at, although I seem to remember situations in which the files had some really bizarre naming convention. Not sure if this had to do with how the files were ripped (I changed from whatever the stock format was to the more portable .mp3 about halfway through my ripping process), or if it was a countermeasure added in an iTunes version, but I don't recall it getting in my way.
Once you've copied this folder, either in whole or in part, to your hard drive, pop the new iPod in, import the library, and you're done.
Alternatively, you might consider using your favourite ripper (I wouldn't recommend using iTunes just in case there's more to that weird naming convention thing than I think there is, in which the names are seemingly meaningless character strings) to dump your entire library to whichever format you like, backing it up to CD or DVD, and then importing that into iTunes.
Obviously, that's less convenient than going with a third-party solution, but it has its own advantages.
1. You probably don't need to buy any extra software.
2. You have an easily storeable archive of your music, which could be a huge blessing if, like me, you've got a thousand-strong CD collection that would be largely irreplaceable in case of fire, robbery, etc.
It splits up the process of encoding from the process of playback, which is a hassle, but it's not so ruthlessly unwieldy that its advantages aren't worth considering.
Anyways, that's just my two cents. I hope it helps.
If transferring to and from more than one computer via the iPod is the real problem, rather than ditching iTunes I'd go with a utility designed to do that. Senuti, etc. That's what I do, and it's a hell of a lot more practical than switching apps entirely.
By the way, Sockpuppet, your music library can easily be transferred or cloned between machines, even between macs and PCs, just by copying the directory your music lives in (including the library xml files). That's especially handy now that you can manage multiple identities with one iTunes installation.
Last edited by Michael Fortson; 12-17-2006 at 09:59 AM.
Both I and my fiancee have our iTunes libraries shared via good-old-filesharing, so you can just drag songs back and forth to put them on either library.
It isn't quite there yet but Songbird will be awesome in about six months. It's quite literally the Firefox of music managers.
I'm trying out the free version of mediamonkey thanks to this mention, and it's already proven worthwhile as a retagger (though the retag from Amazon tool hasn't made an accurate ID yet). If my PC doesn't crash when I plug in my Nano, Mediamonkey will be my new friend.
Originally Posted by stusser
Also, Winamp has a module that comes standard now that has full iPod support, including transferring files back and forth. It's not as fancy as the others, but if you just want to use Winamp it does work.
I used the Winamp one for a bit until I realized it doesn't play nice with iTunes, which I use for putting video podcasts onto my 5G iPod.
There's also Anapod Explorer by Red Chair...
To copy any/all media from your iPod to any computer: Sharepod.
You put your iPod in disk mode, drop it into the root folder of the iPod, and then run it. You can then copy all your music off of the iPod.
As for DRMed purchased music, iTunes will automatically copy purchased music off of an iPod to another computer, but that computer will have to be authorized. A given iTunes store ID can authorize 5 separate computers to play purchased media.