Choices in computer based music players.

So I have this dilemma. I only play MP3 based music these days, yet I am crippled by habit. I still cling to Winamp as my MP3 player of choice, despite the fact that it really hasn’t had an new features useful to me since the 90’s. I’ve finally weaned myself off of Winamp for digital video viewing, largely because it didn’t have all the codecs I need built in, and VLC did.

I could just keep on using Winamp for music, but here’s the bigger problem – since I’ve had an iPhone, I’m using it more and more for MP3 playback. This is fine and good, but with few inconvienient exceptions, I HAVE to use iTunes for management of my music library. I really don’t like iTunes. It’s slow, I find it’s interface cumbersome and un-intuitive, and simply put, it’s restrictive. I’ve grown accustomed to “manually” managing my music library, storing artists by folder, and adding them the same way. iTunes makes this kind of management a real pain, especially since I have a lot of music with missing or incorrect tags.

Lately I’ve been making an effort to use iTunes for listening to music on my computer more, just to I can get the feel of it. I don’t really think I like it, but at the same time, I haven’t fully gotten into it. For example, the idea of “playlists” is still rather foreign to me.. Probably doesn’t help that I generally listen to albums more often than individual songs.

It strikes me as strange that the experience of listening to the same music via different applications or platforms can be so different. I wonder if design cues from outmoded devices help transition to new applications. Maybe I like Winamp because it has a cassette/CD style transport control, while iTunes just has play and a non-linear web-based navigation system.