"An integrated music management application."
Linux users have at their disposal a lot of free open-source software that can be tweaked and customized to suit everyone’s tastes. Whether we’re talking about file managers, video players, image editors or CD/DVD burners, the community is the best thing about Linux, in general. The default audio player of the GNOME desktop environment is called Rhythmbox and is one of the best software products of its kind that will help you organize and play your digital music. Inspired by iTunes, Rhythmbox is, like the best things in life, a free product that’s built using the GStreamer media framework. As a result, the audio support is comprehensive and a lot of digital formats are supported. The playback experience is very pleasant, as a number of useful features are implemented into Rhythmbox which it would be a pity if you miss out on them!
Rhythmbox is found in the majority of distributions, but usually, if you want the latest version, you have to download and install it yourself. Fortunately, being a Linux tool, this means that there are no pesky exe files to download and click your way through. No, things are much faster and simpler as you have several options in order to install Rhythmbox. Experienced users will prefer installing the audio player by using the terminal, whilst novice users can simply use the package manager of their Linux distribution. The setup kit of Rhythmbox is only 12 MB, making it a lightweight tool. The audio player doesn’t have adware/spyware or other installed programs that are more common to the Windows platform. Let’s move on to the interface!
Every user wants an aesthetically pleasing yet functional interface, and you should be happy to find out that in this regard, Rhythmbox certainly doesn’t disappoint. The interface of Rhythmbox is divided into several sections, such as the playlist, an albums widget, an artist’s widget and the left side bar, which allows you to access the library, podcasts and services. A nice touch is that you can always see the cover art for the album that you are currently listening to. Information such as album, artist, quality, location, play count is provided by the playlist. Regarding the functionality, the audio player manages to offer its users a smooth navigation due to the correct placement of the controls and buttons. Internet radio, the music library, your playlists and audio CDs can all be accessed instantly. The status bar is another important part of the main window, as it provides you with information such as the duration of the selected song, number of songs and total size.
Rhythmbox manages to incorporate a lot of features that users will surely love. The Last.fm integration, radio as well as access to the two music stores, Jamendo and Magnatune, make it one of the best audio players out there. This means that an album can be purchased from the Magnatune website. It works by allowing you to set the amount of money you are willing to pay for your music and then an entire playlist, coupled with artist information and albums, is retrieved from Magnatune. On the other hand, thanks to the Last.fm integration, users can play Last.fm radio as well as submit their favorite tracks and rate, ban or love others.
However, the main source of music in Rhythmbox is the library and the most interesting part about it is that remote network services such as NFS, public or authenticated FTP and Windows shares are supported. Podcasts are also implemented in an excellent way, as you can subscribe to podcast feeds and automatically download them and play them as they become available on the internet. Other useful features of Rhythmbox include visualizations, tag editor, a comprehensive documentation, support for various plugins and iPod support.
More customizable options in the preferences dialog would have been great.
If there’s one key word that defines Linux in terms of software, it is alternatives. Let’s have a look at other audio players for Linux distributions. These are: Audacious, Listen Music player, Quod Libet, Songbird, Decibel Audio Player and more.
All in all, Rhythmbox is an excellent and feature-packed audio player that audiophiles will simply adore!
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