June 08, 2008

What Makes Amarok the Most Popular Audio Player on Linux?

I used this player for about three years and I love it more and more, with each new release. Statistics show around 60% of the Linux users prefer Amarok over any other audio player. 60%! That's huge.

This article lists 7 reasons for which I think this is the most loved audio player. I preferred to leave out the more technical ones, and just focus on the highlights.

1. Powerful collection management
Over the years I tried many audio players, both KDE and GNOME, and even CLI ones like ogg123 or mpg321. But none of them could handle a collection the way Amarok can. It even includes an integrated file browser, so you can drag and play songs instantly.

Usual Amarok interface, playing a song by Nightwish

2. Scripting support together with hundreds of scripts
With the available scripts, I can expand Amarok the way I like it. Some good and very useful scripts I use are Lyriki-Wiki, ConTEXT or the script included by default to create a HTML file from your whole playlist.

Scripts Manager

3. Wikipedia integration
And it's not just basic integration. You can fetch Wikipedia information not only for the artist, but for album and song too. The HTML integration is good too.

4. Cover manager
Amarok can fetch covers from Amazon.com or can browse in the album's directory. It has a place where you can view all the covers of the albums in your collection.

The Cover Manager

5. Very intuitive interface
And I really mean very intuitive, not just intuitive. It just doesn't stay in the way of the user.

6. Last.fm support
This is a must-have for an audio player, at least for me. I love the community there at Last.fm and I'm an active member.

7. Statistics
On such a good collection management, statistics are a must-have too. Amarok allows you to see what are your favourite tracks, most played tracks, favourite albums and so on.

Collection statistics - any information you like

Those are the reasons for which I use it, and even so, I'm sure they are not all. They are just the highlights, what came to my mind first. Amarok features plenty more, like Magnatune music shop, iPod support, support to burn audio CDs, ratings, scores. And these are just a few.

Updated: June 08, 2008


Anonymous said...

Has Internet radio streaming been sorted out yet?
Those demux errors are incredibly annoying ;(

Maybe it's a xine problem? Either way I'll stick to mplayer until it's fixed.

icecruncher said...

a problem on your side.
I don't experience any problems.

Anonymous said...

Amarok was great and I have used it many years. But now songbird 0.6 with the coverflow effect is even greater, so I switched to it.

grigio said...

Amarok is the best, but even Banshee 1.0 is not bad

Harold Fowler said...

No doubt about it, Amarok IS the best thing going for Linux at the moment.


Anonymous said...

What about songbird? I used to use Amarok, but now SongBird gets my all my lovin :)

Anonymous said...

It's excelent, a killer-app but nobody's perfect. I like GNOME/GTK2 and the integration is bad. is a KDE app :(

Anonymous said...

Amarok is definitely my favorite manager/player--I even use it on GNOME.

While not as full featured, and with a little tweaking, RhythmBox meets my needs too.

I can't comment on the newest Banshee as I haven't tried it yet.

Anonymous said...

"5. Very intuitive interface" - this is for me the main reason together with the
"cool GUI design". Period. It's one of the very few open source applications that have a decent GUI. The GUI quality of "Banshee", "Exaile" and players alike look (and are) amateurish compared to Amarok.

Anonymous said...

Call me a freak if you will, but I've found the Amarok UI the LEAST intuitive of just about any Linux application I've used. Everything bad about QT rolled into one.

Anonymous said...

how on earth can you call this crappy interface intuitive???if there is one reason i will never use or recommend this application to anyone will be the gui.period

Dan Craciun said...

That's true, opinions vary depending on what you're used to. For example, I can't get used with the interface of Rhythmbox or Banshee, but Amarok's interface is intuitive for me, probably because I got to know it so well. I guess it has to do with what each one knows better or got better used to.

@grigio, I like Banshee's features too, but I think it currently has too many bugs (thinking of the 1.0.0 version).

The best thing I liked about Songbird was the integrated web browser. That really is something nice.

Anonymous said...

mpd is the best!

Well, at least isn't bloated! :P

cadoo said...

I also agree that Amarok is not very intuitive. Especially if you're coming from a simple player like winamp or xmms. At first I didn't like Amarok. I gave it a second chance and love it now.

The customizable global shortcuts are one of it's best features. Rate songs, fast forward, skip songs from the keyboard while using any other application. The shortcuts are great on a laptop where using the trackpad can be a pain.

I think Amarok suffers a bit from being over-hyped. It's an advanced program to discover at your own pace when you want to get serious about managing your music. I can see a lot of users getting turned off by Amarok's usability quirks. Different is always strange, it takes sometime to accept change.

I've had issues with other media players. I accidentally deleted my entire music library using Rhythmbox due to my unfamiliarity, no deletion confirmation and nautilus's broken trash can. Songbird has never really done it for me. I have had no issues with Amarok. So I guess it's intuitive where it matters(ie. deletion confirmation).

I can't wait for Amarok 2 so I can run it at work on my windows box.

Anonymous said...

Very nice program but eats up 50% of my cpu only to play music, so i'm stuck with xmms

Jaggta said...

> Very nice program but eats up 50%
> of my cpu only to play music, so
> i'm stuck with xmms

Like icecruncher said, this is a problem on your side, I also don't experience any problems and goes so well that I consider it a good application (and I use to ask too much :-) ).

Anonymous said...

Amarok is ok, but it seems to be a bit of a resource hog. I find rythmbox performs the same functions with less resource allocation, just that it isn't prettied up.

Rafael said...

One of the main features wich made-me switch to Amarok is it's equalizer (I think it uses the xine engine equalizer). When you move the sliders the change in the sound happens almost in real time. I used audacious before but when I made chenges tothe equalization they seemed to be applied only after 1 or 2 seconds. Also, the Amarok equalizer adds a lot less distortion to the sound than the Audacious one. Other players like Rhythmbox and Banshee didn't even have a equqlizer the last time I checcked.

PS.: Sorry if my English is bad! :-)

Steven said...

I like Amarok just fine. My favorite music player though is Exaile. I think Exaile has a more intuitive interface.

Anonymous said...

Amarok boobytrapped me twice, and I'll never consider its UI good.

Any app which, when you close the main window, brings up a dialog box telling you that you are about to lose the ability to stop the app without killing its process in a terminal, and DOESN'T offer you a Cancel button (Or better yet, offer to kill all its processes for you right then) IS NOT WELL DESIGNED!

It's just poor affordances. Someone needs to read Donald Norman again.

Anonymous said...

Any app which, when you close the main window, brings up a dialog box telling you that you are about to lose the ability to stop the app without killing its process in a terminal, and DOESN'T offer you a Cancel button (Or better yet, offer to kill all its processes for you right then) IS NOT WELL DESIGNED!

I agree with that, but... how do you get Amarok to do that, it has never done that for me. Amarok has a tray icon which will show/hide the main window when clicked on and also a global shortcut (Win+P, by default) which does the same, also when the tray icon is disabled closing the main window quits Amarok.

_Darth_Indy_ said...

I love all those features in Amarok, and it is indeed my favorite player (I'm using it right now as a matter of fact).

There's one feature that's not listed that I now find indispensable - integrated lyrics. I love to be able to look up the lyrics, or even just sing along with a song I don't know by heart. Much better than Googling it and wading through flashy ads.

I tried Banshee, Songbird, etc. but that's the one thing I miss so much, even if the other players have all the other features. If any other player has built in lyric caching, I might consider that. Until then, Amarok is #1 to me.

Cipri said...

Regarding the "intuitive" thing...
When I switched to linux I was a winamp user. Previous to winamp i had seen and used xmms which is kind of similar.
But from the first day I tried Amarok and I found it really easy.
I mean... come on - collection, playlist, play / pause / stop - what's so difficult about that?
Plus I loooooved the "extras" - wikipedia integration, lyric scripts, cover manager, album manager.
The best for me so far :)

vigol said...

And Global Shortcuts
I can't live with this KDE/Amarok Feature

mehrshad moslehi ---- vigol ---- vigolyas

johnny_w said...

Amarok is so goog, I even do desktop publishing with it. My friend has managed to use Amarok as an operating system. But I don't know how he's done it. He runs a business of it now.

Anonymous said...

amarok cant be an OS but he could force it to stay full screen and it could be used as a jukebox that way...

i prefer mpd because i use the gui as much as the cli and i restart X often so with mpd my music keeps playing. plus its relly lightweight and has many clients to control it my favorite is sonata and if im stuck in the cli mpc

David said...

Use Rhymnbox, Songbird, Banshee or XMMS handling about 200-300 GBs of music. That is pain, and that's is cause I use Amarok. Well, not at all, I do love Last.fm integration, the scripts manager, the tag editor, steams, custom playlists, etc etc. An AWESOME application. And here isn't using the 50% :)

Haan said...

The distros with slow release cycles (I.E. Ubuntu) do not avail from the latest advances in software/technology. If half of these people tried the new Banshee, they would be impressed. After being a long time AmaroK/Rhythmbox user, I tried Banshee 1.2 and it has almost everything I want. The GUI is polished, it plays video, it has a good equalizer and it's less heavy on resources than Amarok. At the rate Banshee is advancing, AmaroK will soon have a feature-for-feature and more competitor. These features are the advantage of Bleeding Edge.

Will said...

because now that a new Songbird has just landed, Amarok will be gone. Y? because its UGLY...

Anonymous said...

Amarok is teh greatz

Anonymous said...

For GTK/Gnome just use MPD + Sonata. It's just fast to use (even on large music libs) and Sonata is just a small python player with all info/lyrics/cover/audioscrobbler/whatever feature you need - livesearching your library at amazing speeds is just nice. :P


daily picture said...

Amarok was great and I have used it many years. But now songbird 0.6 with the coverflow effect is even greater, so I switched to it.