We live at a time when nothing does everything for everybody all the time. For a (very) short while the world was abuzz with nothing but iTunes for managing their iPods. It was all a matter of (again a very short) time before all the brilliant minds were hard at work creating something else, hence this list.
1. CopyTrans Manager
CopyTrans Manager is a very popular alternative to iTunes for managing your iPod. It is available for download FREE and works on any Apple gadget, including the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It is touted to be the only backup software for iPod that transfers absolutely ALL music tags, and fast. It transfers videos, music, apps, ausiobooks, podcasts, artworks, smart playlists, ratings and playcounts with date added.
Songbird is a very robust and highly customizable music player organizer. Most instrumental in its evolution is the fact that it supported plug-ins early on, allowing thousands of brilliant open source developers and/or contributing users to give it a lot more add-on features than it originally had. Despite all the work it underwent, it still resembles iTunes a lot, making it easy for iTunes users to switch.
Songbird is cross-platform, compatible with Windows and MAC OS X. It also supports most audio formats including WMA, AAC, MP3 and ALE. A heavy favorite with Songbird is its full integration with all social networks Facebook, Flickr photos, Twitter, Skype, Adium and iChat messenger.
foobar2000 is an advanced freeware, Windows audio player. It is another good alternative to using iTunes for managing your iPod. Some of the supported audio formats on the foobar2000 are WMA, FLAC, MP3, MP4 and WAV. It supports more formats by using additional components. The User Interface is easily customizable, making it an easy favorite among users. Being open-source, foobar2000 allows third party developers to improve on it even more.
No matter how small or how big your media collection, even if they are on a network, in CDs or in your hard drive, this app can manage them. With MediaMonkey, you can organize your music library, your movies, their artwork and all related information and eliminate duplicates.
Playing music is also a different experience with MediaMonkey playing Jukebox at the helm. It automatically adjusts volume to normal levels, and draws music and playlists according to the criteria you input. Sharing is also a breeze. When you sync your music and video to iPod (or iPhone, iPad, Android device or any MP3 device), MediaMonkey will share them with any UPnP/DLNA player while automatically converting unsupported formats. This is why it’s called the Universal Media Manager.
Another free, lightweight and quick alternative to iTunes is SharePod. It doesn’t require any installation, has no bugs and is very efficient. It will move your music from your iPod to your computer and back. If your iPod is on a network, other users on the same network can run the same SharePod file from your PC and get access to your iPod for super-easy sharing. Granted, SharePod has no incredibly fancy features, but it was designed to do a specific job and it does that very well. Feature-lean as it is, it can: Add, copy and remove music, videos, playlists and album art from your iPod to you PC, edit playlists, view and backup photos, support iPhone and iTouch.
Floola is a cross-platform (Windows, Mac or Linux) freeware application created to manage your iPod as an alternative to iTunes. It does not require installation and uses a simple user interface. It does auto-conversion of any incompatible audio and video file into iPod-compatible formats. It can add and remove music files to and from iPod, supports most iPod features like photos, artwork, smart playlists and podcasts, supports YouTube, Last.fm and MySpace videos and even sync your google calendars.
GTKpod is a GUI for the Apple iPod for Unix-like systems. It allows users to import their iPod contents. They can add MP3, WAV, M4A, M4B, podcasts and video files to their iPods. GTKpod will let users view, add and modify their Cover Art, browse their hard disk by artist/album/genre, create and modify smart playlists and sync directories. It even works while offline and would later sync new playlists when the iPod is connected again.
Yamipod is another cross-platform (Mac OS X, Windows and Linux) freeware that can replace iTunes in managing your iPod. It doesn’t need installation and able to run directly from the iPod. It has a built-in music player that supports MP3 and AAC formats. Like most freeware for iPod, it has a sophisticated freeware, is able to recognize and remove duplicate tracks, find lost music files and update song playcount. It also supports Last.fm.
Rhythmbox is free music management software for Linux systems. It was originally inspired by iTunes. By connecting your iPod to your Linux computer while Rhythmbox is running, you can do the basic music management tasks like adding and removing songs to/from your iPod and creating your playlists. You can also transfer music to and from iPod, USB memory sticks and MTP. You can display album art and even lyrics that you’ve downloaded. You can set it to auto-download podcasts, and you can stream music from Last.fm.
Winamp is for truly avid music collectors who like personalizing their music player. This iTunes alternative app provides a whole range of features for their users’ listening (and watching) pleasure. It supports a staggering 60 audio and video formats! It has over 6000 add-ons all created by a solid community of developers, who by the way are largely responsible why Winamp comes in 16 languages. There are also some online services that will allow you to purchase tickets, find lyrics and download music directly from iMesh.
The iPod could have done very well with only iTunes for company, but different computer systems will always have compatibility issues, which in turn will always give way for freeware developers to introduce their own solutions.
Aside from the apps on this list, there are a few others that were once very popular and are still in limited use today. If you think they are still worth mentioning, let us know by sending your comments.