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ethelthefrog

It's time to ditch iTunes - any suggested alternatives?

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OK I think my patience has finally run out. Apple’s new Music app in Catalina has eliminated it’s most useful management feature, the Column Browser. Clearly Apple feels only casual pop listeners matter and that there’s no more room for collectors who’ve built large libraries on their software for almost 20 years.

I’m looking for your solutions for managing my library. In iTunes, the most powerful tools were:

  • Column Browser for easy navigation of a large library
  • Grouping - which was useful for sub-genres
  • Star Ratings - for separating wheat from chaff on a useful scale
  • Smart Playlists - to collect groups of songs in a large library

As great as it is as a player, Roon is not yet ready to be a serious management platform. it just can’t ‘slice and dice’ a large library in a useful way. I realize many people are moving to NUCs and Nucleus’ and the like, but I still need to be able to manage my library in a fast and flexible way. None of the streaming services offers a robust music management platform.

How do you manage your library to gain control of a large library?

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I'm in the same boat as you.

 

One additional feature I would like is to be able to join songs together as one.

 

There are many examples but one would be Pure Prairie League's "Amie" with "Falling In and Out of Love", there are other examples with ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, The Beatle, Pink Floyd, et al. 

 

There was a time iTunes would let you do this and then they took it away.


Duke of Madness\"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro\" - Raoul Duke from the sports desk

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IIRC, the other iTunes demise thread lists a few programs


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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Jriver is a dismal app. Swinsian is the closest to iTunes, but it has some weaknesses. Any app like this is useful only for home playback; if you do use Apple Music, or want to have music on an iOS device, they won't help. 


I write about Macs, iTunes, music, and more at Kirkville.

Author of Take Control of iTunes 12

Co-host of The Next Track podcast.

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What?  The artwork is going away too???


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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Jriver.

 

It allows me to effortlessly manage a massive library (160,000+ files) located on six different external hard drives.


Girl, you want it, you take it, you pay the price

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Fortunately my 2011 MacMini (my music server) won't run Catalina so upgrading the OS and being forced into the now less useful (actually useless for me as I depend on the column browser) iTunes isn't an issue.😂

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I have yet to upgrade to Catalina, but I'm headed to JRiver. It is not perfect, but I needed to move on from iTunes. I get a lot of files that are FLAC, but iTunes couldn't handle that. So that created the need for another player. Over the past 6 months I have been slowly red booking my CDs. I have moved them to an external drive and it works fine with JRiver. I will probably leave the songs I downloaded from the iTunes Store within the Music app. (The ones I don't really listen to will be deleted.) While JRiver is not Mac like, I just need an app that can manage my library and play a variety of files. At this point, I don't see myself streaming.

 

For those that did upgrade to Catalina, did you simply upgrade or clean install?

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On 10/18/2019 at 2:26 PM, rn701 said:

 

Jriver's UI is antiquated and their CEO is a nut but it works, sounds good and does everything you listed.

Specifics might help.  I'm sorry if I stepped on your toes.

 

Edit:  I found your most recent posts in this thread, where you made a lot of remarks about our UI:

https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,121413.msg839390.html#msg839390

 

I'm JimH in that thread.  I asked you to make specific suggestions, and you replied with "Rewrite it."

 


Jim Hillegass / JRiver Media Center / jriver.com

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In case anyone cares about the above remark, I pointed out over a dozen examples of Jriver UI weirdness, plus the overall 1990s Windows 95 look.

 

"JimH" kept asking for specific changes. Hey, I don't get paid to design their software. I pay to use it. Apparently they are all out of ideas.

 

Anyway, he banned me, sent a rude email, and lost a customer for life. It's a shame, because they have some amazing programmers and their software is otherwise pretty great. Too bad about their management and his customer relations approach.

 

And now he's stalking me, apparently. News flash: I've moved on.

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rn701,

I'm not stalking you and you're not banned.  There could have been a temporary ban.  I don't recall.

 

We change the UI when it makes sense to do.  It may not seem like it to everyone, but we're always looking for ways to improve the experience.  

 

There's a new topic on the same subject here:

https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,122679.0.html

 

 

 


Jim Hillegass / JRiver Media Center / jriver.com

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To be fair he did give some specifics in his initial post.

 

And I would disagree with you on this point " Having more than one way to get to a destination is an advantage, in my opinion."

 

Coming up with one great way to either get somewhere or do something is better than 3 or 4 mediocre ways.

 

When it's all said and done, IMO, JRiver is a really good product and it behooves users to spend some time in the support materials to really make the product show what it's capable of. Stuff you don't get in most of the competition.

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