AlbumPlayer keeps its attention focused on music organization and play back, and handles those tasks with ease.
AlbumPlayer is not trying to be everything to everyone. Instead, this audio software focuses its attention solely on music playback, on being jukebox software for music aficionados, and it succeeds. Its tabs let you switch between viewing all of your music, to sorting by artist, genre, composer, moods, and more. You also can create custom collections of your favorite tunes for easier access, though I found it unfortunate that you had to do so in a separate menu, rather than right in AlbumPlayer’s main window. AlbumPlayer costs 30 Euros ($39 on 2/26/13) and has a free, playtime-limited demo.
The first time you run AlbumPlayer, it asks you about your input device. AlbumPlayer is designed to work with touch screen controls as well as the more standard mouse and keyboard combination. After you make your choice, the software loads, and you’ll see that it includes a few music samples. The developer says he put these samples (which are very small snippets of tunes) in there so you can see how AlbumPlayer will look when content is loaded. To add your own content, you have to point AlbumPlayer in the direction of your music collection. It located and added tunes quickly, but it balked at adding much of the content from my iTunes library before I downloaded and installed a dll that it suggested. (AlbumPlayer says that this step is necessary because of licensing restrictions.)
Once your music is added, you can use AlbumPlayer’s slick controls to browse your collection. AlbumPlayer will allow you to rip CDs, but not burn them, nor will it sync with any portable devices (although you can copy music to a memory card). This is not an oversight, the developer says: AlbumPlayer is designed solely as a music organization and playback tool. And in that it succeeds: its slick interface lets you search through album covers, almost as if you were using a real jukebox. I tested AlbumPlayer using a mouse and keyboard and was impressed by the experience; I imagine it would be even more impressive using a touch screen.
AlbumPlayer would make an excellent addition to a party, as you could create custom collections of music and allow party guests to do the same. It includes a Party Mode, which allows guests to select songs and create playlists, but uses a password to prevent them from editing your actual music collection or messing with the contents of your PC.
Another cool party trick: if you have an iOS or Android device, you can take advantage of the TunesRemote version of AlbumPlayer. It’s a 15 Euro upgrade over the Personal License, though you can purchase them as a package for 39.50 Euros ($52.89 as of 2/10). That’s pricey for a music player, but it does give you the cool option of controlling the jukebox software remotely, from your mobile device.
Still, the bottom line is this: even the most basic version of AlbumPlayer is quite expensive at 30 Euros, which is close to $40. The demo is limited to 15 minutes of continuous play. And if you’d like to use it in a commercial setting, such as a restaurant, you’ll have to pay 53 Euros for the commercial license. With that price—and its limited feature set—AlbumPlayer isn’t for everyone.
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Liane Cassavoy is a veteran technology and business journalist. She contributes regularly to PCWorld and has written about business issues and products for Entrepreneur Magazine and other publications. She is the author of two business start-up guides published by Entrepreneur Press.