I’m not a particularly huge fan of itunes. I think it’s a little bloated, cumbersome, and slow. Especially for when I just want to listen to a particular album or playlist. Because of this, i’m always searching for a good itunes replacement. For awhile I used Songbird (Windows/Mac), which is the music player from Mozilla. It is a pretty awesome piece of software, but is almost more bloated and slow than itunes, since it tries to do everything (artist info, news, lyrics, concert tickets, purchasing music) at once. Usually, I JUST want to listen to an album, without being distracted (or using up precious memory) by everything else.
That led me to Cog, which is a really awesome minimalist open source player for OSX. It’s a great app, but unfortunately it hasn’t been updated in awhile.
Of course, when I discovered Spotify, I was hooked. Unlimited streaming of pretty much any music out there, social sharing, and integration with music you already own. Awesome. However, Spotify is also quite resource heavy, and it can affect your internet speeds. Not only are you streaming music from the web, but Spotify also utilizes peer-to-peer technology to stream music from your computer to other users who want to listen to the same songs, even when you aren’t actually listening to anything. Sneaky, huh? This isn’t too big of a deal when i’m not doing anything too intensive, or just want to check out some new music. But, if i’ve got several other applications open or am doing some serious work, I don’t want the burden of spotify running in the background.
I recently discovered Vox, which I really like. It is small, lightweight, and fast. Here is a comparison of the resources used by Itunes, Spotify, and Vox all playing music at the same time:
Not only is Vox lightweight and fast, it has some awesome features. My favorite is its integration with the menu bar. You can pause/play, skip tracks, and open your playlist in a drop-down, all from the menu bar. Some people hate more clutter in their menu bar, but I really like the ability to pause or change the track without pulling up the application window. It seems to be a little less distracting.
Vox has a very small, simple window interface. It gives you basic controls, with an expandable tab that you can set to show album art, track info, or a neat ‘tools’ section with buttons to show the track in finder, or delete the track.
The dock icon has a really cool notifier ‘badge’ with a pie chart showing how much of the song has played. Not terribly useful I suppose, but something that i’ve never seen before.
Sometimes, you just want to listen to your music. If you have a mac, you should check out Vox.
UPDATE: Only one day after writing this post, I found myself at the library doing some work. Edwardsville’s library does have wifi, but it is incredibly slow. Websites with images can take 30 seconds to load. With spotify open and running, forget about it! Vox was perfect for a situation like this.