Best iTunes replacement?

Ok, I’m open to suggestions here. I’m looking for an iTunes replacement for playing my own music (rips and legal online purchases from, e.g. Bandcamp). Must be Mac and Linux compatible. Open source is a nice-to-have but not an absolute requirement, if the software is genuinely excellent. I do not care about cloud integration or streaming service support, and I emphatically do not want something that requires or is optimized for such use cases.

The iTunes conceptual separation of “here is your music library” and “here is what’s playing now” without needing an explicit playlist workflow is what I like - I can go into the library view, start playing a song, and it’ll just keep going down the library (in the order of the view I have selected, which is usually artist/album-by-year) and play until I say stop, but I can mangle the playlist at any time without futzing with the library contents or having to switch views, modes, or pop up extra windows.

VLC, in my opinion, SUCKS as a music library for a lot of reasons.

I don’t want to have to add files to a playlist to start listening to them.

I don’t want the library and the playlist to be one and the same.

I want an implicit “playing now” list, explicit playlist support when I want a playlist, and a separate-but-related library concept.

Is there anything out there that does this? I used to be moderately content with amaroK for this, but it’s KDE specific.

I would be ok with a player that uses a file hierarchy as the database, if it has a clean UI for browsing and playing songs and does the rest of what I’m looking for pleasantly enough.

It goes without saying, I think, that it should be able to play FLAC (including using cue lists to break up monolithic FLAC files into cue points), OGG, MPx, AAC, and any other major audio format, without me needing to transcode - AAC is particularly important because transcoding lossy codecs has horrid effects on the audio and the vast majority of my library is AAC, FLAC, and ALAC.

Players I have tried and used extensively and have thrown out the window:

  • VLC
  • Winamp and it’s ilk

I will add to this list if people remind me of one I’ve tried extensively and thrown out the window and forgotten because I hated it so much. :slight_smile:

There’s cmus. GitHub - cmus/cmus: Small, fast and powerful console music player for Unix-like operating systems.

I’ve used it some, I’m not sure if it supports everything you want, but it should run on MacOS too.

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Sadly they’re all slowly getting neglected as more people move to spotify and forgot about their purchases of the past.

I personally just use folders & VLC or the bandcamp app itself. For playlists I just copy files into a folder representing the playlist name (as storage is cheap, and symlinks are annoying to manage).

It sucks there isn’t something better. Back in 08-09 there was so much activity in building awesome alternatives to iTunes and they’re all pretty abandon now (RIP Songbird (software) - Wikipedia)

VLC sucks for media management, but is awesome for “plays just about anything you throw at it”. I was going to say MediaMonkey, but that’s Windows/Android only unfortunately.

Are you OK with something “networked”, even if it starts playing out your local computer, whatever you’re on? Maybe something MPD based like netjukebox? Or Mopidy, which also has plugins for various streaming/internet radio/etc services?

Indeed, which is why it’s on my list of shame.

No, not remotely, but thanks for these for others who might be.

Gotcha, just thought I’d check about that. Dunno then, not sure. Definitely interested in seeing what else is out there?

FYI, mpd can be run locally, so it plays “local”, you just need the front end software for it. Of course, there might not be any that you particularly think will be good for your use case.