Replacing iTunes on a Mac/iOS system
September 15, 2017 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Over the last several versions, iTunes has become a cluttered wasteland that pushes features I have no use for while impairing the usability of the stuff I want. I'm looking for alternatives that still work with my Mac and iOS devices.

Let me start with the features I use frequently, beyond just playing music:
* Smart playlists - grouping music based on text in the artist, album, genre, or comments fields
* Podcasts - subscribing to feeds, getting individual episodes, and playing back episodes at an accelerated rate (I usually listen at 1.25x or 1.5x on my iPad; as far as I know, there is no way to do this on the desktop iTunes).
* Creating playlists on the fly on my iPad - I frequently need to create a playlist at my iPad from other playlists, rearranging or adding to the playlist while it is playing. The interface for this has gotten worse in iOS Music over the last few iterations with the revised Up Next, but it's still possible
* Searching for tracks on the iOS device - another area where the iOS interface has gotten substantially worse, often trying to search from the Apple Music even when I don't have an internet connection and making it a pain to search by song/artist/track name specifically
* Sorting tracks by BPM - iOS Music can't do this at all (unless I'm mistaken); the closest I can get is using the desktop to create a playlist sorted by BPM and then syncing that playlist to the iPad

There are several areas of the iOS interface that have gotten markedly worse: search, the poor use of screen real estate so that track info is compressed for extraneous white space, the hidden controls for things like repeat/shuffle, and the forced inclusion of Apple Music, Radio, and other ways to "discover" music. I'd love a solution that stops trying to be clever and instead focuses on making it easy to find and listen to my music.

What programs can best replace my current iTunes/Music experience?
posted by philosophygeek to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not a podcast person so don't know about that, but have just moved our shared music collection from iTunes to Plex -

This works great - we have a huge collection and it indexed the titles almost perfectly. The interface is excellent; there is search, an ability for custom tags (collections) and it all Just Works.

See ya iTunes, you bloated piece of shite.

Worth checking Plex out - it's working great for us, and we're not missing any of the Apple stuff.
posted by parki at 2:13 PM on September 15, 2017

Worth noting that iTunes 12.7 removes much of the bloat from iTunes. Not clear if the revised version will meet your needs, but perhaps it's worth downloading to see.
posted by space_lab at 2:23 PM on September 15, 2017

Swinsian for macOS can do Smart playlists, Podcasts, Sorting tracks by BPM and it also plays a bunch of formats which iTunes won't (FLAC etc)

iOS has been hampered for a long time by the need to transfer files with iTunes, but this may be changing with the launch of the new 'files' app in iOS 11.
posted by Lanark at 1:46 AM on September 16, 2017

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