After Hours optimize

Poll: What is your current music player of choice?

What application do you use to deliver music from the ether to your ears these days? Are online services replacing your iPod as the delivery device of choice? Take the poll and find out if you are ahead or behind current trends?

This past week I republished a 10 Things article from 2005 with the title: "10 Things You Should Still Do to Every Windows PC." Among the suggestions contained in that list was a passing comment about installing iTunes. In 2005 iTunes was the music player almost everyone was using, but apparently something has changed since then.

Now, I am not a big fan of iTunes myself -- it always felt kind of clunky to me -- but it is what you use to keep the music on your iPods up to date. I think that sentiment is common and widely accepted. However, I received several comments in the discussion thread for that blog post suggesting iTunes should not be installed on any new PC.

That sentiment perplexed me for a second, but I began to wonder if the latest and greatest way to get digital music is via online services. In other words, the Apple iPod is on the decline, which would be a significant development. So, I thought it would be a good time to take a poll.

What application do you use to deliver music to your ears? Do you rely on the iPod or online services? And, if it is via an online service, do you pay a fee or are you content with the free version?

Are iPods losing their luster?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

56 comments
dohctalon
dohctalon

I've bought quite a few tech gadgets over the years... Most of them end up collecting dust and getting sold. I don't keep up with the latest in Phones and still have a clamshell phone. It's pretty good since it has BT and I use it as a backup to my mp3 player at the gym. However, my Iriver clix2 is probably the most used tech device I've ever bought! I've had it for over 4 years and iriiver recently replaced the audio jack that went out for $50. I rip my videos to it and it's one hell of a sweet mp3 player! It's form factor is the best I've ever seen. You don't have to see it to change songs you just "click" it and your on to the next song. Favorite tech device ever!

dave
dave

I'm a bass guitarist and grab just about anything to practice with. CDs, tapes, MP3 player, iPhone, computer, whatever has something interesting at the moment. For the computer I prefer using WinAmp. There are some incredible DSP plugins for WinAmp. I often use the Moitah Center Cut plugin that allows you to separate the center and left/right channels to better hear some of the individual instruments.

Doogle268
Doogle268

Obvious choice surely ... can't understand why it's not in the list ... unless you would class it as 'other mp3 player'. How about a poll comparing iTunes, Windows Media Player, VLC etc. ?

DLCurtis
DLCurtis

I use to be one of thoes geeks that had more things on my belt then batman. Now adays I use just my phone (Motorola DroidX) and run MortPlayer/MortPlayer widget. So my batbelt is down it just one.

Cynyster
Cynyster

Gets on my soapbox. It still amazes me that people are paying such an unbelievable price for such poor quality. Everyone says that you can't tell the difference between an mp3 ad a CD. Sure! if you are listening with speakers of headphone with the dynamic range of a 50's telephone. But what if you wanted to listen to it on your home stereo? The record industry has been stealing from consumers for years!!! $1 + per track for a heavily compressed piece of audio. CD's typically have 10+ tracks and are uncompressed. Plus you can listen to your song in ANY player.. not just a designated one or two players. With fidelity rising like crazy with surround sound movies why people are settling for lower and lower quality in audio is beyond me. My default player for windows is Winamp (which is just a shell for windows media player but its easier to handle playlists) I have converted all my CD's to FLAC files (very much like SUPER MP3's in laymen's terms) In my car I have a Kenwood multimedia Tuner that can play music off a USB chip (among other things) Normally you get what you pay for but in the music industry 9 out of 10 time you are getting ripped off. Buy the CD! you can down grade it as much as you want but you will always be able to have the full quality available. Buy an MP3 and you will always have junk audio (and for those that say you can't tell the difference... 1 of 2 things... either clear the crude out of your ears or get decent output speakers... fat lot of good your fancy HD tuner will be if your TV is a 1950 B&W tube. You will never be able to tell the difference in quality unless you have quality speakers / headphones.

tandemterry
tandemterry

I like to listen to mp3 files from my large collection while I'm cycling by myself (as opposed to captaining one of our tandems with my wife) here and there. I use an inexpensive Coby audio file player that holds 3Gb in flash memory.

martian
martian

In the car, which is not that often: usually music CDs or MP3 CDs. Commute power walk: iTunes on company provided iPhone (only because my previous non iTard player died) Work: Usually iTunes, due to the iPhone playlist being already setup for the iPhone, prior to that, usually Foobar (low footprint) or VLC Procurement: usually online for free via www.jamendo.com

APSDave
APSDave

It makes managing a huge library pretty easy. I liked Windows Media Player as well, but discovered it wasn't updating the ID3 tags on my CDs correctly as I ripped them. Entire library is MP3 @320 or FLAC

Tronn
Tronn

When I'm at home, it's mostly Zune for audio and video. When I'm on the road, it could either be the Zune or XM, or HD radio. Bicycling or walking it's the Zune.

jodym
jodym

At home I listen to the music on demand service from the cable company. At work I brought in my mp3 player and downloaded my music to my computer. In the car, FM radio works for me.

tw5000
tw5000

Windows Media Player on desktops and laptops for fixed location playing, Blackberry Storm with Bluetooth for playing in the car. I think the last dedicated MP3 player I owned was of the 256MB variety. The Storm handles those functions for me now.

josesche
josesche

... (preferably at 320kbps). while on the computer... Winamp out walking... Sony Ericsson cell phone with walkman label driving... USB-stick plugged into car stereo.

jsaubert
jsaubert

That "iPod or other MP3 player" option should probably be split into "iPod" and "Other MP3 player". I think there's been a small shift away from iPods; people seem to be either getting the iPhone/iPad or another kind of mp3 player depending on their need. As for me I have a Zune HD and the Zune Pass. And I'm glad I do, I blow through at least one new album a week. (I can't even imagine what my bill on iTunes or Amazon would be. But it would be horrendous I'm sure.) Music is my sanity. At home it's playing on my media PC or laptop, traveling and work it's on my Zune.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

I'm curious about company policies on streaming music/online radio. Are your companies flush enough to pay for the recreational use of bandwidth; do they outlaw it by administrative rules and/or firewall blocks; or something else?

Ric_Shanahan
Ric_Shanahan

Picked up a Muzee USB stick and listen to trance a low volume.

skyeenter
skyeenter

Home: Audio Refinement Complete amp, Polk Monitor Series speakers, Yamaha PX 3 turntable, Rotel RCD 991 cd player, Denon DRW 850 cassette player, On the go: Cowon I Audio 7 personal player w/ Etymotic Research ER-4 noise canceling ear buds, The purest sound I have ever heard from any sound system. Not quite live sounding. I pleasantly laugh at the "whitey's" and their signature white wires dangling, while listening to that thin little bandwidth called sound. Office: Audio Refinement Complete amp, Denon 850 cassette, JBL Century 100 speakers, Sound Dynamic speakers.

rngunter
rngunter

Trying out the cloud... any computer + internet = my music

kaninelupus
kaninelupus

If point blank refuse to own an iPod.... I like my music too much to butcher it! Now I know people will rave about the wow factor, the apps and the like, but for me it is about the MUSIC QUALITY.... and iPods still have one of the lowest ratings when it comes to audio fidelity (they do know it is a media player right??) Have long stuck with Creative for my media players.... I may shake my head at their non-committal to larger volume devices; I may also shake my head over their poor advertising campaigns. At the end of the day though, when I plug my headphones in I can sit back and truly enjoy....

K_Green
K_Green

Downloaded MP3s: MediaMonkey application PC streaming music: Pandora + MediaMonkey (for local radio stations) Car: Radio (generally classical station) On foot: Sansa e280 Music videos: YouTube (& a few physical concert DVDs) Live music: humans

flotsam70
flotsam70

Songbird for my own collection or Shoutcast, occasionally last.fm.

RogerInHaddenham
RogerInHaddenham

For turn-it-on-and-just-let-it-play music, Planet Rock (UK DAB radio station) is all I listen to at home. It fills the house & because it's radio it doesn't eat into my broadband, a bugbear I have with internet music services. On the move, I listen to factual podcasts from the BBC & science mags with Busker on my old Palm Tungsten E2

smoaky
smoaky

On the PC all the time so I prefer Pandora or Slacker Radio

TaDaH
TaDaH

I use Winamp for playing .mp3s on my computer and DROID X. I recently started uploading some of my music to Amazon's Cloud.

LeMike
LeMike

O a PC: WinAmp. Elsewhere, A Thorens deck, Ortofon cartridge, Technics amp, and JR speakers, all vintage 1978. Oh yes, and LPs!!

ipedoe
ipedoe

I use either my BlackBerry Torch where I manually manage the music or HTPC in the living room. No iTunes.

sboverie
sboverie

My car stereo has an iPod connector and can control my nano. This is great for long distance travel with the music set for random. I reluctantly have iTunes on my computer, but only to update the nano; I never use it for music since it is clunky and sloppy on PCs. I like using Winamp on my computer, set for random music play so that I get classical songs mixed with modern music and the range is from piano to bag pipes to guitar to chants. I frequently kill the processes for iTunes to speed up the performance of my computer. I also disabled iTunes updates; I only use this excrable app less than once a year or less.

elder879
elder879

At home and work my primary music source is Pandora radio. After hitting my free hours I am perfectly happy to pay $.99/month for unlimited listening. In the car or doing things like mowing the lawn I listen to playlists on my Android phone, it isn't an active phone so I can't stream to it but it still makes a perfectly good camera and mobile music player.

TyDavis22
TyDavis22

I have used I tunes, rhapsody, wimamp, windows media player, vlc and jet audio. Jet audio was the best also real player was kind of good too.

ScarF
ScarF

Turntable, SACD and CD.

manguybro
manguybro

use my laptops, iphone, and ipad to stream music via pandora or sound cloud to me where ever i am. if in the car its iphone connected to my stereo system. if at work its my iphone or ipad with mono BT headset (looks like im a pompous a%# with my BT headset but no one knows im listening to music). in garage its my laptop to the shop stereo system. as long as i have a signal, wifi or cell, im streaming audio.

jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

Windows Media Player on my primary PC (this is the one I actually download/rip music to), then that library replicates to Google Music, which I use on my other PC at home and my work PC. I use a little SanDisk MP3 player in my car and I use my Android everywhere else, either playing locally stored files or streaming from Pandora or Google Music.

Frenz9
Frenz9

Currently using Itune/Ipod but am eager to get far away from apple products. These days its hard enough just to put songs onto the MP3 player >_>

thamossop
thamossop

Going for a run, the mp3 player on my phone. In my car, the radio wins 90% of the time over the MP3 CD player. At home,in the mix, on the CD/Vinyl decks. At home, near a computer, Winamp. Used to use Foobar 2000 but haven't reinstalled it since I rebuilt my PC last. That said, I probably listen to stuff on youtube more than anything else, but want to eventually get some MP3 decks to replace my CD and vinyl. The only time I've installed iTunes at home was when I was forced to because it was bundled with QuickTime and I promptly uninstalled it thereafter. I've used it at work as we have Macs there and you can't avoid it.

dogknees
dogknees

Mobile doesn't work for me. Background music also doesn't work for me. Listening to music means LISTENING to it.

seanferd
seanferd

However, I received several comments in the discussion thread for that blog post suggesting iTunes should not be installed on any new PC. That sentiment perplexed me for a second Install it on a new PC on the off-chance someone has an iPod? This is known as crapware. If a user of the computer wants iTunes for an iPod or whatever, by all means, install it. So, this isn't about a music player of choice, then, it's about how you get the content you want? To answer the apparent question about a software music player: VLC. Hardware? Sansa player. How do I get content? Wherever I find it. Manually. And if I did use iTunes or something similar, it certainly wouldn't be auto-starting at logon to run in the system tray. I'm not sure what these prior commenters have against iTunes other than the obvious don't-use-it, don't-install-it. Is it full of security holes or a DRM monster on your machine?

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

via Windows Media or Flash, when traveling in the car it's either CDs or FM radio...I do still have cassettes, along with vinyl and, dare I admit it... 8 track tapes!

robo_dev
robo_dev

Dock it to the car stereo and listen to iTunes collection as well as various MP3 files. Also get streaming audio from the web over the iphone to listen to various radio shows as well as my favorite, 5-0 Radio (Police scanner app).

technomom_z
technomom_z

UberMusic on my Android for my local collection, Google Music or Spotify for stuff in the cloud.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't listen to much music any more, and almost never away from the car or home radio or CD player. I get live news is via FM radio, either in the car or the FM receiver in my.MP3 player. (I use the .MP3 player more for FM than anything else.) For hourly talk radio programs that I didn't catch live, I'll download the podcast to my hard drive, then transfer it to the .MP3 player. I manage the inventory on the .MP3 player directly from Windows Explorer, and usually delete podcasts after a single listening.

GSG
GSG

I use an MP3 player, but refuse to use "i" anything. I have a Creative Zen Micro that I've really enjoyed that replaced my Creative Nomad that after 10 years is still running, albeit only when plugged in. I listen to audio books, and I was amazed at the quality of the movies that I've put on it. I never thought StarTrek (2009) would look good on a screen that small, but it's pretty amazing. Of course, I listen to music as well. I am disappointed with the radio portion of it though. Even with the earbuds (I hate all earbuds) that are the antenna, I can't get but a couple of stations and the signal is quite poor.

Jaipo
Jaipo

so technically Zune

SKDTech
SKDTech

My HTC Thunderbolt, but only because my 1st gen Zune finally kicked the bucket. Mostly I have been listening to audiobooks in the Audible app which is much more convenient than syncing them onto the Zune was. Other than that I use my PC.

nate.irvin
nate.irvin

I just use iTunes and a pair of headphones to listen to the music I've downloaded over the years. I don't really like iTunes, but it works, and other players bug me more.

rsantuci
rsantuci

Winamp at work and iPod for yard work.

Slayer_
Slayer_

On my computer, or TV or whatever. Usually if I am using it on a TV, I'll use Winamp with a visualization. If I am just listening to background music while I work, I built my own media player. In 2005 everyone used iTunes? I doubt that, far as I know, iTunes never really became popular until the iPhone. And from then till now, still most people only use it because they have to, and would gladly use something else if they could. (With some tragic exceptions of course, after all, all generalizations are false :) ) In my old Winter beater, I used cassette tapes cause thats what it had, in my new beater, it has CD's so I use that, for my summer car, it support MP3 CD's, so I primarily use that, plus sattelite radio in each. I use my cell phone for in province listening to music, but if I leave the province, or the country and am in a place subject to roaming, I use a dedicated MP3 player instead.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

It seems how people choose to get their music delivered varies greatly.

K_Green
K_Green

The main reasons I use MediaMonkey: 1. the only player I've found that seems to actually store the ID3 ratings tag values inside the MP3 files instead of a database 2. dynamic playlists

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I prefer crickets and tree frogs, at least until the frogs have eaten all the crickets.

LeMike
LeMike

Yay!! Black Sabbath very loudly off vinyl! (My 14-yr old son was staggered to hear his dad listening to Sabbath like that!)

TyDavis22
TyDavis22

how did you build your own media player?

Slayer_
Slayer_

I originally built it because I liked to listen to music while working, but at the time, there was no Win95 media players with proper play lists and such. It also only uses about 3 megs of RAM when its running. Its really not that special. It only recently stopped working in Windows 7, I have to crack open the code and fix it. But it works fine in Vista and XP. So I am still using it. Here if you want it. http://trevorsarchives.selfip.net/archives/Programs/Trevors_Music_Mixer_Install.exe Be sure to use the internal updater immediately as the version in the install was unstable.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Missing dependencies.

LeMike
LeMike

Try running it in XP-Compatibility mode