Amarok - the 'baap' of all music softwares on Linux

image credits: http://amarok.kde.org/I would like to announce that my search for the perfect music software on Ubuntu has come to an end! Meet Amarok. Their website rightly says that it not only makes playing easy, but it also makes it look good.

Although i am a GNOME user I must admit that , this KDE app is the best when it comes to music management. Why? Lets take a look a what i do with my MP3s:
  1. Play them
  2. Organize them into playlists
  3. Shuffle them around in the folders
  4. Spend a lot of time tagging them
  5. These days i have taken to music fingerprinting using MusicBrainz
  6. Rip them from my own/ bought CDs (ahem)
  7. Sync them with my IPod
  8. etc.
1-4,6 and 7 can be done by most music softwares (i use Winamp). MusicBrainz comes with its own software. When it comes to IPod Management i believe ITunes is the best. For gain control, i use MP3Gain. The same story is on Linux as well.

Now, Amarok does it all in one swoop and that too with style. It lets me talk to musicbrainz servers and download MP3 tags for my songs (atleast for the English ones). It lets me download album covers pretty easily.

Here are some of its features i love the best:
  1. The ability to show song lyrics. Its a shame i cant submit any since it keeps coming up with an error message saying that "kfmclient" is missing.
  2. The ability to show artist info from wikipedia.
  3. The ability to download album covers from amazon (you choose which one).
  4. The ability to get the correct song tags from MusicBrainz. Its not only i started using Amarok that i realized how many songs were incorrectly tagged.
  5. The ability to interface with last.fm (me at last.fm). This is particularly useful as it shows track ratings which comes in pretty handy when i have downloaded new songs i havent heard yet. These ratings are based on the listening habits of people around the world. Pretty cool. To get started, enter your last.fm login/password in the preferences and you are good to roll.
  6. The ability to co-relate music. For example, i am listening to a track by Diana King. Amarok shows me other Albums that have tracks by her. Add last.fm recommendations to that and i can remember tracks that i always wanted but never got around finding. See screenshot for example. It shows that i have never played the Michael Jackson track Smooth Criminal Before. And based on my listening habits, it suggests that i may want to listen to a few other tracks in my collection by Justin Timberlake.
  7. Although not exclusively a Amarok trademark, but i love the way it lets you customize how you see your music. Sometimes i like to see them Artist-wise Albums. Sometimes the other way around. Sometimes Genre-wise Years or the other way around.
  8. Its iPod Integration is also pretty nifty. Its now setup as by default app to launch when my iPod is connected. I haven't yet synchronized my collection with my IPod yet. But i will let you know what happens.
  9. Another cool feature is that it lets me store my music info in a database (choices are SQLLite, PostgreSQL and MySQL). This comes heaven-sent since my music collection, like the next person, goes into thousands. I have seen other music players creak when processing it. I just used the default SQLLite and its been quite zippy. I plan to move over to MySQL in the next couple of weeks (the forums tell me its faster) especially since i have more songs headed my way.
  10. The memory management is pretty sleek despite the mass of my music files it is crunching (but then again, I've never had that problem with a lot of Ubuntu apps anyway).
I am sure i will get a lot of you saying "sure, mine does that too". But its just that i like the way Amarok puts it all together. Its not just about being able to do it. Its about doing it well and looking good doing it. Now here's my cribs too:
  1. No file-renaming, unless i missed it.
  2. No support for last.fm tagging.
  3. No format conversions (i am not really missing that a lot, but anyways).
  4. I haven't really tried ripping, but i didn't see a menu (this may change when i do).
Have you got any? I am also interesting in listening to any other opinions on this. Let me know which ones your favourite.

Coming soon - More Screenshots.

Image credits: http://amarok.kde.org/