When I used Windows as my primary operating system, my media manager of choice was Media Monkey. It’s still the best media player and manager, hands down. But the available options for Linux are a bit lacking in my opinion.
There are a few things I love most about Media Monkey.
- The ability to look up albums on Amazon and import tag information en masse (or selectively).
- The ability to create and fine-tune playlists with intelligent filters.
- Media Monkey handles a huge music library (18,000+ songs) with ease.
There’s more to love, but since there’s no Linux version of Media Monkey and I’m not interested in running it on Wine, let’s just move on.
I’ve tried Amarok, and it’s decent, but as I’ve settled on the Gnome desktop environment, I don’t care to install KDE just for one application.
I’ve tried Rhythmbox, but … meh. There’s nothing to get excited about.
I’ve tried Jajuk, but since it’s running on Java, it just doesn’t feel right.
I’ve tried Songbird, and I like it in general, but it seems to eat up some serious system resources.
But then I started noticing some issues. For instance, I’d start up Banshee and try to connect to a streaming radio station. Nothing. No attempt to connect. No error message. Nothing. As if I hadn’t clicked anything at all. So I quit the application, start it up again, and try once more to connect to a radio station … and now it works. Unfortunately, this is the scenario 100 percent of the time.
One of the other features I liked about Banshee was that it had Last.fm built into it. I could dial in to my Personal Last.fm radio station and start listening to my Last.fm library. It was great and I tended to use it rather than my actual mp3 library. And one day it stopped working. Now it simply reports an error: “Failed to get new songs for Personal.”
So, I started listening to my actual mp3 collection. And that’s when I noticed how badly Banshee chokes on such a large library. The application is unresponsive at least once or twice before it even displays the track list. Just trying to browse the collection is enough to slow the system down so much that … well, I’ve started looking for alternatives again.
And now I’m using gmusicbrowser. You’re right, it’s ugly and it has a boring name. But it was actually developed specifically with massive mp3 libraries in mind. And in the unscientific estimate I came up with in my head just now, it’s at least two or three times faster than the other applications I’ve named when dealing with a large library. The interface is not the most intuitive, but as I figure things out, it definitely feels as powerful to me as Media Monkey.
I haven’t given up on Banshee. I’ll definitely try out future releases. As well as any other media manager that seems promising. Have any suggestions for me?