To continue our discussion about iTunes alternatives, another one you might want to take a look at is Spotify. While it is true that Spotifiy is a music-streaming service, it can also access your iTunes library and be used as a stand-alone music player. The player is free to download although if you want an ad-free streaming experience, you’ll need to pony up $9.99 a month. There is no charge however, to use Spotify as a music player in order to access your iTunes library or other local music files.
To get started with the Spotify player, you’ll need to make a couple of adjustments in Preferences. From the Local Files area of the Preferences pane (Spotify ➪ Preferences), you’ll need to tell Spotify the location of your music. There are three options listed by default: Music, Downloads and iTunes. I keep all three of these boxes checked as I don’t always wish to bring all my downloaded music into iTunes and prefer instead to listen to it in Spotify.
If you store your music in a folder other than those three listed, click the Add Source button and then navigate to the folder that contains the music you want to add to Spotify.
Importing Your Playlists
Once you’ve ensured that that iTunes checkbox is checked, you’ll then want to import your iTunes playlists into Spotify. To do so, choose File ➪ Import Playlists ➪ iTunes from the menu.
A new folder entitled iTunes will then appear in the left pane, containing all of your songs and playlists from iTunes. Note however, that it will NOT bring in Smart Playlists.
Each time you launch Spotify, the application syncs with iTunes so any new music that you’ve added to iTunes is brought into Spotify for you.
The Local Files Area
The Local Files area lists all of the local files on your computer. This can come in handy if you want to sync any of your local files with an iOS device. I created a folder called Offline into which I place any songs, including several from my Local Files folder, that will sync to my iPhone.
You can add intermingle your local files and Spotify files in the same playlist although if your local files are not availble in Spotify’s service, you will not be able to play them when you are offline, unless you have synced them ahead of time.
The player controls are located on the lower-left corner of the Spotify window. Controls include pause, previous song, next song and album cover art. On the lower right-hand corner of the screen you will find the shuffle and repeat controls.
The player is solid and I love the ability to create and modify playlists. This app is even more powerful if you use it in conjunction with Spotify’s streaming service. When I’m working on my desktop, I often have Spotify going in the background. This is another nice alternative to iTunes.