As the title suggestions, the following is a list of my favorite iTunes addons/plugins. I hope that even a seasoned iTunes user will find one or two in here that they’ve never heard of/used before. And I should mention, they’re all free – and many are open source.
- Symphonic – locate and open songs faster than ever
- ScrobblePod – nice iScrobbler alternative
- iTuneMyWalkman – for non-iPod owners (mobile phone & other MP3 players)
- ByteController – menu bar controller w/ excellent skins
- iTunes Album Playlist Creator – self-explanatory
- GimmeSomeTune – all-in-wonder iTunes supercharger
- DockArt – replace the boring iTunes dock icon w/ album art
- iTunes-LAME – create higher quality MP3s w/ iTunes
- Visualizers: iVisualize and Magnetosphere – everyone loves a good visualizer
- iSpazz – must be seen to be believed
Symphonic is a dashboard widget that allows you to locate and play any track in your iTunes library in seconds. Simply enter the song name, hit enter, and that song starts playing. As much as I love Quicksilver, this widget allows you to locate and play songs even faster than QS.
ScrobblePod is a Last.fm music scrobbler for Mac OS X which supports both iTunes and your iPod. Why ScrobblePod? Most Last.fm scrobbler software will scrobble your tracks as you are listening to them, in real time. The trouble with that system is that iPod tracks which you listened to before the last track played in iTunes will not be submitted due to the security system employed by Last.fm. That, and this scrobbler takes up way fewer system resources than the official Last.fm client for OS X, and it works on systems where iScrobbler doesn’t (ie. mine). Though currently in alpha, it already supports Growl notifications.
iTunesMyWalkman is a fantastic app for those of us who use iTunes, but not iPods as our portable MP3 players. It supports any mobile phone or other portable device that can be mounted on OS X. It works by synchronizing the contents of specific iTunes playlists to your mobile phone/MP3 player, and automatically detects when the device is connected.
ByteController is a program for folks who prefer the mouse over the keyboard (hey – not everyone can be a keyboard commando, and that’s OK!). A very small and unobtrusive set of icons are placed in the menu bar, allowing you to easily control iTunes. One of the very neat features is that you can select from a number of controller icons (see screenshot below).
iTunes Album Playlist Creator does exactly as its title implies – creates playlists out of your albums. You can specify whether your playlist is named after only the album or in the format Artist – Album. Very handy if you’re a playlist junkie.
GimmeSomeTune has more features than I care to try and list. So I’ll copy and paste the summary from their site – downloads lyrics and album covers, shows you iTunes’ currently playing song, lyrics-window, vast number of hotkeys to control iTunes, mini-controller, GimmeSomeTune has functionality to change it’s appearance, support for iChat, “Recently Played” menu, a daemon, and much, much more. If you don’t use/like Growl (and GrowlTunes), they’ve got you covered (see screenshot below). If you think the default iTunes mini-controller is too big, they’ve got a smaller one. This program does it all.
DockArt changes your boring iTunes dock icon into the album cover of the currently playing track. There are a couple of neat options, like “Skew Art In Dock”, which tilts the dock icon a bit so that it fits in more with the feel of many other application icons.
iTunes-LAME combines the simple interface of iTunes with the high quality of the LAME encoder. There isn’t much more to say, other than ‘download it now’.
What’s an iTunes list without a couple of visualizers, right? So here are my two favorites – iVisualize and Magnetosphere. iVisualize comes with 5 visualizations and you can download more, but the very cool part is that you can use it to create your own. And there’s even a screencast tutorial (search for #54) to help you get started.
Magnetosphere is just awesomeness.
Rather than describe iSpazz, I’ll let the video below do the talking for me. This is definitely a fun, if not obnoxious, iTunes addon.