Audius – the beginning
I have a grand vision.
In my vision I have a single unified interface to my entire music collection of favorite songs and artists. This may be music that I have access to on my local disk, on Last.fm, Spotify or whatever. I can play whatever I want whenever I want and I don’t have to keep track of where the songs are located.
You see, the important thing is not where the music file is physically located but the information you have gathered around it. Information that is personal to you, like your ratings and tags, and rich meta data that can be retrieved from the internet.
I want to manage my favorite artists, songs and albums in one place. I want to keep statistics of my listening habits in one place. I want my player to play the music I like, regardless of whether it’s available online or locally. I want to be social and share music. I want recommendations, surprise selections, intelligent mixing, rich information and smart guiding…
All in all, I want my music library in ONE place – is that too much to ask?
Audius is born
Ok, that’s a lot of desire in one paragraph…So, what do you do when thoughts like this keep spinning around and around in your heard?
Well, I just had to do something about it. I wanted an application that could manage all my music for me but I couldn’t find it. Every music player I have tried lacked one or more of the features that I felt were essential.
In my opinion the player has to satisfy these requirements:
- It must provide a unified personal music library that is ignorant of where the music is stored
- It must be fast and resource efficient
- It must support online music services
- It must show rich information about the music
- It must be able to handle ratings and track the songs I play
- It would also be nice if it could generate playlists intelligently (similar to Last.fm) but based on everything I have access to and the artists I like
When I couldn’t find something that matched all my requirements I had only one thing to do – I had to write my own player.
That is when Audius was born.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. There are plenty of music players out there…Why not just be satisfied with what we have?
Well, most popular music players were built ages ago. They don’t provide access to any of the music services available online today, or they struggle with a bogged down interface that is filled to the brim with unnecessary junk.
I listen to Spotify alot. It’s a great service but often I can’t find the music I want to hear. They simply don’t have it. It’s also very uninspiring when it comes to finding new music.
Last.fm is great for finding new unsigned artists and music that is a little bit out of the mainstream. I really like it, but their player application is quite boring and limited.
On my Iphone I have music from my own library. It’s great, I like it. But I have to sync it with Itunes. Since this also updates play count in Itunes I have started using Itunes to play music on my desktop too. I hate it. Itunes is probably the worst music player I have ever used. (I probably need another article to describe all its flaws.)
Winamp has been a long time favorite player for me, but in the recent years it has turned into a hopeless piece of bloatware suffering from an incoherent GUI.
For some time I used Windows Media Player. It’s quite nice, but it does funny things with your library and it does a lousy job with retrieving meta data. And of course, it cannot play music from any of the online services that I like.
The worst thing of all is that since I’m using three different players on my desktop (because they are all good at different things) I end up having to manage tags and album covers in all of them because they fail to cooperate. That really makes me sick of it all. The player should be able to work these things out without my help! Please.
So there you have it. Audius was born out of frustration with the currently offered products for playing music. When I’m writing this I am not ready to release anything public yet. I have a working alpha version that a few friends are trying out. It works, but it is far from polished. Hopefully I will be able to push something out in the upcoming months, but we’ll see.
This is my vision. It will not be easy to accomplish it, but I’m willing to give it a try. For my own sanity. I need it. Now.