It seems that no matter how we want to manage our music, iTunes is thrust into our faces. Since the majority of the MP3 player market is owned by Apple, it makes since that iPod and iTouch owners would just utilize iTunes to make their lives easier. However, as Apple takes over more and more of the market, not just with iTunes and its line of MP3 players, more consumers are looking for options that shy away from the Apple brand.
We will take a look at three worthy alternatives to iTunes. We will go over the pros and cons of each for you to decide if they are right for you.
Here are the Top Alternative to iTunes
SharePod is an easy to use and no-install required alternative to iTunes. It lets you copy music to and iPod as well as from it back to your computer.
SharePod also offers iPhone and iTouch support. It loads instantly, will recognize your Apple-based product quickly and will begin loading your media right away. You can add, edit and delete playlists as well as view your photos from SharePod. Another great feature of SharePod is the ability to simply drag and drop files into its interface as opposed to having to locate their exact position on your computer before importing them into iTunes.
Pros of SharePod:
- Clean interface makes it easy to use without instructions
- Can copy music from iPod as well as back to your computer
- Offers database backup just in case a transfer to or from the iPod goes haywire
Cons of SharePod:
- Does not recognize multiple devices at once like iTunes
- Only basic editing of song’s art and tags provided
- Can be a little buggy when copying a lot of songs to and fro
Songbird is more than just an alternative to iTunes, it also functions as a media player across multiple web services. Songbird offers a desktop and mobile version of its program, both free to use.
Songbird not only lets you manage your music and sync it to your Apple MP3 player, it also helps you discover new music, create and share playlists as well as customize the program with add-ons that make it your own. In order to send music from Songbird to your iPod or iTouch, you will have to install an add-on to make it happen as this feature does not come built-in
Pros of Songbird:
- Not just a media player but a way to discover new music
- Can purchase tickets to music events and buy music
- Useable as an Internet browser as well as music player
Cons of Songbird:
- Have to install an add-on to copy files to iPod or iTouch
- Interface can be overwhelming until you get used to it
- Might conflict with anti-virus software, especially when searching for music
MediaMonkey has a similar interface as iTunes but offers two versions of its software: Free and paid. In the free version, a variety of features including the ability to manage your iPod, iTouch and just about any other MP3 player on the market.
MediaMonkey started out as a music database but quickly grew into an all-inclusive music program. It also supports the use of add-ons to make it work better for anyone using it. The free version offers all the key features someone looking to replace iTunes would want. The paid version offers a higher speed of CD ripping and burning, support for multiple music databases, better audio conversion as well as unlimited MP3 encoding.
Pros of MediaMonkey:
- One of the best library management systems for music available
- Can find details for song tags that even iTunes misses
- Auto-tags songs as they are imported, especially when missing key tag details
Cons of MediaMonkey:
- Some features may not be available in the free version
- Does not offer video playback support
- Works the best with large music collections, smaller collections have fewer options
Can you really do without iTunes?
Most consumers are under the misguided idea that if you have an iPod, iTouch, iPhone or iPad, you must use the Apple software that came with it to get the most out of their purchase. This just is not true. The alternatives we looked at today could replace iTunes in a heartbeat and for some users, they already have. If you are not convinced that these three iTunes alternatives are for you, chances are you could find discussions and web sites devoted to the topic.
SharePod is by far my favorite alternative to iTunes, and it is a program I have used for a few years now. While I adore the features Songbird offers, especially when it comes to the customization through add-ons, SharePod is just so easy to use, wastes very few system resources and can transfer to and from my iPod in a breeze. Songbird is often considered a real threat to iTunes, but when I just want to play around with my music quickly, SharePod gives me that chance without worrying about everything else going on in the program. My experience with MediaMonkey is limited but for those with larger music collections, it is the best resource and management tool out there.
Do you use an iTunes alternative we did not touch on today? Let us know what you use, the link to it and why you chose it over iTunes. We would love to hear what you have to think about iTunes alternatives.