Tuesday, 24 March 2015

MusicBee: Music Manager and Player

The best music managing, or playing software is quite difficult to choose. Of course, we've all used iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Winamp. But, there are quite a lot of applications out there which do a better job. The one we'll be talking about here is MusicBee.

General Information:

  • Distribution Type: Freeware 
  • Developed by: Steven Mayall
  • Reviewed Version: 2.5.5404 (18th October, 2014)
  • Available for: Windows XP onwards
  • Download Size:  15MB
  • MusicBee Official Website 

MusicBee is a highly customizable music player and manager. It looks and feels a bit similar to iTunes, and can be made to look like just about anything out there. Although iTunes offers a great library management interface, let's face it, it's not the fastest. It's also known to be quite resource hungry, with a rather heavy download of 104MB (version 12.11). Firing up MusicBee for the first time will give you a rather pleasantly intuitive library interface. Of course, it can be made to look like this:

If you prefer a more classic look, you can also go for something like this:

It's not just the interface which is mind-blowing, it's also the number of features it packs into this deceptively small package. Other than the basic features, which every music player/manager offers, MusicBee offers some unique features you'll be really glad to have.

Feature Highlights:

  • Import libraries from iTunes or Windows Media Player.
  • Converts music files into a number of other formats.
  • Supports synchronization to portable music players or phones.
  • Last.fm scrobbling.
  • Support for scrolling lyrics.
  • View detailed artist information for tracks.
  • Support for radio streams.
  • Support for external plug-ins and DSP effects (also supports Winamp DSP effects).
  • Very light on system resources.

These features are besides other basic features like gapless playback, replay gain, CD ripping, customizable equalizer, automatic file tagging, auto playlists, etc. In spite of offering everything you can think of, MusicBee is surprisingly light on your system. It requires at least 512MB of RAM to run smoothly. In the tests which I ran on my system, it uses approximately 20MB of RAM when idle, and about 95MB if you've got a long playlist queued up, or if you're using some of the more taxing features within the application.

What's Good:

MusicBee is a small, lightweight application which packs quite a punch. The number of features are outstanding for its size. It has managed to maintain a very good balance between an intuitive interface and support for extensive customization. Support for synchronization with portable devices makes it a great replacement for heavy weight applications such as iTunes. Great stability and support for older systems is the icing on the cake for such a sweet package.

What's Not:

Although it supports older versions of Windows, MusicBee lacks support for Linux or Mac. It does support some radio streams, but adding new streams can be a little complicated for the average user. If you're not much of an internet radio fan, it wouldn't bother you too much. The interface is fairly intuitive for most users, but certain settings and options for customization may be a little intimidating.

If you're tired of the good old Windows Media Player, or you need a good replacement for iTunes, go ahead and grab your copy of MusicBee. It's simple enough for everyone to use, and also provides enough to keep enthusiasts busy. If you're still not convinced, just install it on your system and see for yourself. It's free anyway.