While not necessarily seen as a monopoly, iTunes is seen as a much more convenient and easier way to purchase and organize your music library. For many Mac users, the music management software has been the de-facto since it was created eleven years ago. However, as more alternatives spruce up, many people are looking to switch to another player so they won’t be tied down to the software and can easily move their music library elsewhere.
One of the largest complaints about iTunes is the inability to experience new songs without it coming at a cost. Spotify counters this with their program. Spotify is a music listening program that allows you to “help yourself to” just about any song that you would love to listen to. You have the ability to share with your Facebook friends what you’re watching through the convenient Facebook hook-up. Plus, the drawbacks are very minimal, even for free users.
If you are willing to enjoy music with a few ads and through your computer’s Internet connection, then Spotify could be a great alternative for you. If you want to kick the ads out of the window, you’ll have to pay $4.99 a month, and if you want unlimited play, anywhere, then you’ll have to pay $9.99 a month.
When put into perspective, that’s equal to about 10 songs on iTunes. Chances are, the power users are willing to pay $10 a month listen to more than 10 new songs in a month, so all in all, it comes out as a money saver.
Spotify is available on their website.
If you are willing to pay a bit for better quality and selection than Spotify, then Rdio is your dream come true. I’ve found Rdio to be a great music service and I have found myself enjoying Rdio a bit more during my test in terms of the user experience. Rdio (not spell-check’s best friend by the way), offers many of the same features that we found on Spotify.
Truly on paper, they seem the same. Similar to Spotify, when you pay, you don’t have to worry about ads. You also have streaming features and the ability to enjoy contemporary and classics at the same time. However, all plans with Rdio allow for offline enjoyment, not just the most expensive version.
The uniqueness of Rdio is the way you find new songs you may not have bothered searching for. Rdio requires you to be active on the site to be able to discover new tastes, through finding your Rdio friends, influencers, etc.
Rdio’s cheapest plan, $4.99, gives you the ability to enjoy the vast library on your computer only. Pay $5 more a month, and you’ll enjoy all of the same content on your mobile device as well. The third option allows for two unlimited subscriptions on one account, for $17.99 a month.
Rdio is available for download on their website.
3. iRip 2
The previous two programs counter the problem of music listening consumption. However, the application iRip 2 counters a common problem that iTunes doesn’t help with – transferring your content from your iOS device to your Mac. Simply connect your iOS device to your Mac with iRip 2 running and you have the ability to transfer your music, movies, television shows, books, photos, contacts, and more.
This puts more of a focus on all of the content on your iDevice, rather than just being music-focused. Yes, iRip 2 even has the ability for you to view your text messages as well, all stored onto iRip 2. If you have music you don’t feel the need to transfer, but still want to enjoy, iRip 2 allows you to preview multimedia as well. When done, iRip 2 allows for your music to be easily transferred to iTunes, rather than just being stuck in iRip 2.
Get back in control of your content with iRip 2, available on their website for free to try and for $19.95 to buy.
If you are looking for an alternative that is still close to iTunes in terms of what it can do, then Clementine is one of the software that can do that.
Clementine allows you to listen to the music you already owned, plus the ability to listen to songs on Spotify, Last.fm, and many more websites. In addition to all of this, you still have the ability to add songs to your iOS devices and more. Other smaller features found on Clementine include lyrics, album art searching, and more.
One interesting point to make is that Clementine’s latest update, adding Spotify and other services, was back in the winter of last year, before OS X Mountain Lion. The website mentions that they have support for Lion, but support of Mountain Lion isn’t explicitly mentioned. This could simply be in name only, not necessarily reflective of OS support, but it’s something to remember just in case a feature isn’t working out on Clementine.
Clementine can be found and downloaded on their website.
Pandora is the music website and app that we all know and love. While not available through an official Pandora app, there are many unofficial Mac apps that allow you to use Pandora. However, Pandora offers song recommendations to listen to based on your votes that you give other songs you listen to. Pandora attempts, and for many individuals succeeds, to offer great selections. Though it lacks the freedom of choice that comes with other services.
Pandora is free, however, for no commercials, the service costs $36/year. When testing Pandora, I found the $36/year – no commercial – figure to be a bit unnecessary. However, it’s up to the individual. Pandora is available on their website and through the App Store today.
Is there any other iTunes alternative that we have left out? Tell us in the comments!