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iTunes may not be the best media player on the market, but let’s face facts: with its tight integration with our iPods and its excellent playlisting tools, it’s very likely the digital jukebox you’re using every day to manage your music. With that in mind, it’s time you take iTunes to the next level. We’ve already tackled the 20 Best iPod Utilities, so today we’re taking a look at the 25 iTunes add-ons that can take your iTunes experience from good to great.
Notifiers and Universal Shortcuts
- CD Art Display (Windows): Display currently playing track, album art, rating, and tons of other wildly customizable features. In addition, CD Art Display can download missing album art and create universal hotkeys for controlling iTunes. (Download) (Read more)
- moreTunes (Windows): Similar to CD Art Display, moreTunes displays a floating album art notification but instead has an emphasis on completing or repairing your metadata. moreTunes also has a recommendation feature and works with several other non-iTunes media players. (Download) (Read more)
- Quicksilver (Mac): Control iTunes playback, browse your iTunes library, and more from the comfort of your favorite application launcher and beyond Quicksilver. (Download) (Read more)
- DeskTunes (Mac): Another iTunes notifier, DeskTunes floats the current album art, track name, and rating on your Mac desktop. (Download) (Read more)
- You Control: Tunes (Mac): Control iTunes from the menu bar, define universal hotkeys for changing tracks, view current song info or navigate and play any song in your entire iTunes library all from the You Control: Tunes menu bar drop down. (Download) (Read more)
- DockArt (Mac): This plug-in performs one very simple tweak, replacing your iTunes icon in the Dock with the album artwork of the currently playing song. It’s not a huge tweak, but it’s certainly lovable. (Download) (Read more)
- iConcertCal (Windows/Mac): Installs a new “visualization” to iTunes that scans your music library and then displays upcoming concerts in your area for artists in your iTunes library on a calendar. (Download) (Read more)
- iTunes Folder Watch (Windows): Monitor folders for new music and automatically add the songs to your iTunes library if they haven’t already been imported to iTunes. It’s a feature everyone wants and tons of other players have, so this one’s a must-have for a lot of iTunes users—especially if you download from sources other than iTunes (*wink*) (Download) (Read more)
- Senuti (Mac): Copy songs from any iPod to your iTunes library. There are other iPod-to-computer tools available for Mac and Windows, like iPod -> Folder, but Senuti stands out for this list for its ability to tell you want music on an iPod is already in your library and which songs are not, making it easy to slurp new songs from a friend’s iPod without introducing duplicates into your library. (Download) (Read more)
- iTunes Export (Windows): Okay, so let’s say you decide that you really do want to move your iTunes library to another computer, or maybe you just want to export the perfect playlist to a thumb drive to give to that special someone. Either way, iTunes export gets your music out of iTunes for moving to another computer or device. (Download) (Read more)
- MP3 to iPod Audio Book Converter (Windows): Turn your MP3 audiobooks into the iTunes standard M4B audiobook format easily with MP3 to iPod Audio Book Converter. (Download) (Read more)
- iTunes Sync (Windows): Love iTunes but haven’t shelled out for an iPod? iTunes Sync syncs your iTunes library to your non-iPod MP3 players—like one from this verified working list. (Download) (Read more)
- XiphQT (Windows/Mac): Play back audio files encoded in the popular open source Ogg codec with the XiphQT plugin. (Download) (Read more)
- DRM Dumpster (Mac): Automates the tedious but generally simplest and most effective method for stripping DRM from iTunes music—by burning it to a CD and ripping it back to your library. (Download) (Read more)
- iTunes Remote Control (Mac): Remotely control playback of another iTunes library on your network by playing and skipping tracks, browsing playlists, searching songs, and more. (Download) (Read more)
- iSproggler (Windows) and iScrobbler (Mac): Automatically upload your iTunes listening habits to the popular social music recommendation site Last.fm. (Download iSproggler [Windows], iScrobbler [Mac]) (Read more)
- Moody (Mac): Tag your tunes by color-based moods with this simple tagging tool. Not only does Moody take the work out of tagging, but it also automatically creates playlists for you to listen to your mood music. (Download) (Read more)
- Quick Tag (Mac): Quickly add tags to the current song playing in iTunes with a simple, universal keyboard shortcut and autocompletion for quick tagging. Metadata goes into the Grouping field for easy playlist creation later. (Download) (Read more)
- Qloud (Windows/Mac): Cloud adds a button to iTunes for in-program tagging of your music, which—for better or worse—integrates with Qloud’s social networking and recommendation feature. (Download) (Read more)
- AutoRate (Mac): Some people love rating songs in iTunes, others don’t. But the great part about ratings is that they’re really handy when you’re creating smart playlists, which is why AutoRate—an app that analyzes play frequency and skip count to automatically assign ratings to your music—is a handy download to have in your pocket. (Download) (Read more)
- Soundflavor DJ (Windows): Soundflavor makes audio fingerprints of your music and builds playlists based on similarity of those fingerprints. (Download) (Read more)
- The Filter (Windows/Mac): Another playlist creation and recommendation tool, give The Filter three songs so it knows the feel you’re looking for and it will build you a playlist based on that mood. (Download) (Read more)
- Top 13 iTunes AppleScripts (Mac): Whether you’re looking to create playlists like a list of all your one-hit wonders or three-for-all blocks of your favorite artists, I highlighted the 13 best iTunes AppleScripts for bolstering iTunes on the Mac. (Read more) To weed through the entirety of excellent iTunes AppleScripts, check out Doug’s AppleScripts.
If you’ve already read our list of the 20 Best iPod Utilities you may notice one or two repeats where the utility still applies to iTunes, but overall the list features a completely different set of software. And while you’re supercharging iTunes with new functionality, be sure to check out a few iTunes power tips for taking advantage of killer iTunes features included by default that you may not know about.
Adam Pash is a senior editor for Lifehacker who can’t stop fiddling with iTunes. His special feature Hack Attack appears every Tuesday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Hack Attack RSS feed to get new installments in your newsreader.