Banshee What amaroK offers to KDE desktop users on the Linux platform, Banshee works to provide to GNOME desktop users. Sponsored by Novell, Banshee is more about providing a great music/video player and less about add-ons and scripts. This is not to say that you cannot throw together some Banshee add-ons for extra functionality; rather, I dont believe it has near the number of add-ons as the other iTunes alternatives above.
General functionality is good with Banshee. I can easily use the application to subscribe to podcasts, retrieve lyrics, enjoy relevant album art or sync up most iPods. As mentioned above, there is no known support for the iPod touch. On the plus side, there is great support for the T-Mobile G1 running Google's Android!
Banshee features that I enjoy include:
Smart playlists As with the other iTunes alternatives, Banshee provides the same kind of great playlist functionality found in the above applications.
iPod/MTP support The iPod Touch/iPhone notwithstanding, Banshee has outstanding mobile music device support. The inclusion of the G1 support really makes this a winner.
Podcast support Subscribe and listen to all the podcasts you like.
Powerful search Easy to use and provides fast, accurate results on the keywords you provide.
What is missing from each of these applications?
Outside of the fact that each of these applications are limited to providing access to music stores that offer independent artists only, the above iTunes alternatives provide some very strong functionality.
Eventually I would like to see Amazon's MP3 service integrated into at least one of these applications, if not all of them. Because it is not video that makes iTunes a killer app, it is the very easy access to a huge database of music for sale that then easily integrates into the iTunes media player.
Outside of that, the other factor holding back these apps is that they ask their potential users to forgo using cutting-edge devices such as the iPhone to sync their favorite content and instead opt for something more mundane. It's a tough sell.
But for those who are willing to use compatible MP3 devices to sync up their music and who understand that purchasing mainstream music outside of iTunes alternatives might not be truly seamless, it's not such a bad deal.
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