I have a large music library and while I love iTunes for the most part, I hate controlling track choices, volume and rating tracks from within iTunes. Therefore long ago I searched out for a separate application to do this for me without having to have iTunes open fullscreen or using the inept dock features that Apple has given us.
My first foray into the 3rd party music controlling applications was one called Synergy . I really liked that it was a menubar application and allowed me to control iTunes from my menubar. It was very small, unobtrusive and did what I was looking for. However the application did not get updated for awhile and then when it did, it became a new version and the developer wanted more money for features that I did not feel warranted an upgrade. Not to mention that there was no upgrade path for existing users which left me feeling abandoned. So I searched on and finally found another application called CoverSutra. Besides the cool name, it was a really cool application that did everything I wanted and more. I thought I was in heaven as the app was still small, a menubar application and offered integration with Last.FM which I was quickly becoming a big fan of and to this day still use daily.
I purchased CoverSutra for $22 which was over three times as much as I paid for Synergy but the application was just so good that I had no qualms paying for the quality. I would still be using CoverSutra if it wasn’t for a new application called TotalTunes Control which in it’s latest beta version is now my favorite application for controlling iTunes.
What started as a CoverSutra clone is now quickly becoming an even better application with new features such as being able to select playlists from within the controller window and even being able to set up favorite playlists for quick access if you have lots of playlists like I do. With TotalTunes Control you can also customize the fonts that are used in the control window, which is nice because a lot of us use themes or just want to use a different font. In my case, I am using Bauhaus for my control window and it is just elegant to look at now.
There were still two main features that CoverSutra offered that were not in TotalTunes but after what can only be considered a blistering pace, the developer for TotalTunes is adding functionality left and right. The lack of Last.fm integration is being added and there will be new custom album art displays added as well.
The best part of all of this is that TotalTunes Control is a completely freeware application. The developer, Louka Desroziers, is a wonderful developer and is so responsive that he sets the bar for freeware applications. Even though this is Freeware I encourage you to donate to him through his website to encourage his fine work.