Ubuntu Linux, Day 13: Playing Tunes in Banshee
When I click on Music, the next pane over displays a list of all of the artists (including the four different variations of 2Pac, or the seven different variations of 50 Cent). Some of the artists listed--like Beck--I wasn't even aware I had. That is because I don't. Not really. I have one song by Beck on a various artists compilation called DGC Rarities, Vol. 1.
Clicking on an individual artist name in the pane brings up a list of that artist's albums in the right pane. In the case of the Beck song, though, clicking the DGC Rarities, Vol 1 album in the right pane will only display or play the one song by Beck, not the whole album. If I click on All Artists at the top of the list of artists, then all of my albums are displayed in the right pane, and in that case I can at least go find the DGC Rarities, Vol 1 album listed alphabetically, and play it in its entirety.
The one redeeming quality of Banshee is its integration with online media. By default it provides connections with the Amazon MP3 Store, Miro Guide, Internet Archive, Last.fm, and the Ubuntu One Music Store.
My favorite part, though, is the Context Pane. It is not on by default, but if you click on View in the menu bar and enable the Context Pane, you get a display at the bottom that shows you recommended artists and relevant information related to the music you are currently listening to. It also displays the top albums and top songs by the artist.
While playing Prince's Dirty Mind album, it showed me a list of recommended artists that included The Family, Wendy & Lisa, Vanity 6, Madhouse, The Time, and Jesse Johnson. As an avid Prince fan, I was already aware of those connections and already own most, if not all, of the music by all of those artists as well, but if it were a new artist I was just getting acquainted with I would appreciate the one-click access to similar music and connected artists.
There is a lot that I hate about iTunes, but Banshee has given me renewed appreciation for that unintuitive disaster of a media player. The Context Pane is cool, but it's not enough to overcome the things I don't like about Banshee. Thankfully, I can just open that Ubuntu Software Center and go find a better media player.