At a Glance
- Lightweight and fast; customizable interface
- Windows only; Have to enable M4A playback
This simple, speedy, and lightweight music-only player is a good pick for most Windows PCs.
Your music collection may be gigantic, but your music player
doesn’t have to be. That’s the idea behind MusicBee, a free music
player for Windows PCs that’s designed to deliver a simple but
powerful way to manage your music collection.
MusicBee is simple and speedy to set up: once you download and
install the app, you point it at your music collection and it
automatically adds your tracks to its music library. It scanned my
mid-sized music collection in just a few minutes; before I even had
time to monitor the progress of the scan, my MusicBee library was
Unfortunately, playing back my tunes wasn’t quite as easy. All
4,298 songs in my library refused to play until I either enabled
QuickTime in MusicBee’s Preferences screen or until I downloaded a
file called BASS_AAC.dll. MusicBee’s creator says this step is
necessary to play back M4A files, because if he were to include
BASS_AAC.dll with the app, he would be faced with patent fees. And
while many freeware music players don’t require this step, he says
they should. Enabling QuickTime was, well, quick, and even though
MusicBee says that downloading the .dll file will provide a better
playback experience, I had no issues with MusicBee’s
MusicBee’s interface is a bit text-heavy, but it’s easy to
customize. You can move panels and windows as you wish, so you see
less of the current playlist and more album art and song lyrics.
You can change the application’s skin–it comes with several
options installed–to give it a completely new look. And you can
switch between a full version of the player, a compact view that
shows just the current playlist, and a mini player, which is simply
a thin bar that you can move around your screen.
MusicBee is strictly for music only at this point, but the
developer plans to release a video playback plugin later this year.
It’s not as visually pleasing as Clementine, nor
does it support as many platforms, but MusicBee will appeal to
Windows users looking for a speedier, lighter-weight alternative to
Windows Media Player.