Finally, I hear you ask? But we have iTunes!

Yeah right.

I don’t mind how well iTunes might serve others, for me it is just not working at all. I have around 7500 Ogg Vorbis files that just won’t really work. iTunes will play them, but forget about reading the metadata and artworks. You can workaround that issue, but to be honest, it is not worth the pain. The other main issue I have with the software is the inability to synchronise with the music collection I carry on a separate disk. This collection does not conform to the iTunes way of working, so syncing it to iTunes is a job I need to carry out manually. -For the iTunes lovers out there, there is a cool script that can handle that problem rather well. Get it at dougscript.com.-

So since I bought a Mac, I have been looking for an alternative. Preferably an application with integration to the likes of last.fm, wiki and whatever else is out there. Something like Amarok, which I used under Linux. I think I tried them all, but none of them really worked. The best match used to be songbird, which, although being almost a perfect fit, just was not able to handle any collection with more than 20.000 songs.

To be honest: I had already given up. I even converted als my precious FLAC files to Apple Lossless, so I could at least import them in iTunes correctly. And then there was spotify, which looked good enough, did the social thing and had almost everything I needed. So my music collection kinda became dusty and unused.

In comes Tomahawk with a jawbreaking set of features:

  • It will automatically sync one or more folders on your PC. Music management with a file manager is just such a great invention, Apple should claim it for themselves in the next release of iTunes! -On a Mac you have to unhide your /Volumes folder with the following command: “sudo chflags nohidden /Volumes/”. Execute it in Terminal and Tomahawk can use your drives.-
  • As they say on the website: it just plays. My Ogg Vorbis files are part of my collection again.
  • It is social. Integration with Twitter, Google Talk and Jabber are included, so you can share the music you play with people you want. It also integrates with music recommendation services like last.fm.
  • It integrates with metadata search engines like Musicbrainz.
  • It has multiple content sources. You can use a shared iTunes library, a local collection, spotify and a subsonic server to get access to music. Hell you can even share your whole collection with friends, they can then stream your music to their PCs (stream, not copy). Check with your lawyer, before using this one though.
  • It looks great. The first version I tested (0.4x) still looked like a ported application. The latest greatest (0.55) looks like a native Mac application.
  • It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. What else could you want?
  • It is free and licensed under the GPL.
Some screens of the Tomahawk radio (listen to related music), the artist info page and the song info page.