Review: MusicTube: YouTube music without YouTube
Everybody knows that kids today, young and old, get their music from YouTube. Here is a new way to enjoy the embarrassment of riches that is YouTube music, while stripping away all of the things that get in the way of listening — MusicTube is a player that plays albums in their original order and integrates album covers, artist pictures and lyrics.
The problem with YouTube music is YouTube. The site is a big hideous jumble of an interface that is all about getting between you and the music.
See also: Resistance, a YouTube music browser + downloader + simple player
Flavio Tordini’s MusicTube ($10.99, Mac App Store) unclutters the experience by delivering not just individual songs, but entire albums with artwork, lyrics and, yeah, if you want them, the videos. Banner and overlaid advertising are gone, though Twitter and Facebook sharing is accessible via the Share menu (see also: How to: Create a keyboard shortcut).
For example, search for Maroon 5 and the results will show you pretty much everything they have ever created, presented as a grid of song and album art. Moreover, MusicTube allows the user to find live and cover versions (image below), a nice touch, all of which are playable right inside the app.
Create and edit the playlist on the fly. That’s the good.
A single [hopeful] thumb up
Fundamentally, MusicTube is a version 1.x of an app designed to scrape copyrighted materials sans any monetization and play them back on your Mac, so there are bound to be pratfalls. For example, there is a conflict (i.e. app crashes when transitioning to the next track) with Flash blocker ClickToFlash, which can be worked around by disabling that popular Safari extension.
Also, because MusicTube is a custom user + search interface that is, for the lack of a better word, “skinned” onto YouTube, playback can from time-to-time lag, though in my opinion less often than a music playlist on the YouTube site — a good thing™.
MusicTube would be all the better if it offered integrated download + MP3 conversion, as well as multiple playlist and playlist export/sharing functionality.
Nevertheless, MusicTube is a very serviceable player ready to fulfill any whim, as well as an excellent music discovery tool that is a solid adjunct to my already satisfactory iTunes-centered music + podcast listening setup.
A feature limited trial of MusicTube (nags a bit) is available direct. Check it out for yourself.
I like MusicTube and look forward to future releases…
What’s your take?