If you are anything like me then you have a large computer-based collection of music and that library is, at least partially, a mess. Over the years I have tried countless solutions to fix that mess, but one I have long heard about, but not tried is MediaMonkey. This app does more than just attempt to clean up your library — it also serves as a player, streams to DLNA devices on your network and can sync with mobile devices.
In fact, the app boasts a long list of features — manage media, identify tracks, tag, organize and rename, automatic library updates, download music and podcasts, sync and backup with mobile devices, record and convert, burn, play and stream to devices.
Get the App
MediaMonkey is free, but there is also a “Gold” version that can be purchased, which retails for $50 USD, and comes along with a few additional features — likely none that most users will really need.
“Manage small to very large collections of audio files and playlists (50,000+), whether on a hard drive, network, or CDs. Look up missing information and album art online, tag almost any audio format, and automatically rename/re-organize tracks on your hard drive”.
Once installed, there is a bit of setup to take care of. A wizard will pop up to guide you through this. If you did not get the paid version then you can simply click “Next” to bypass the registration page. Next you will have to choose what file types you wish to associate with the app. The final step will prompt you to browse to your music folder and show MediaMonkey where to find it. It is not network-aware, but you can map the drive (if it is on a different computer) to make this work. The app does recognize other computers on the network in a general sort of way, so you can also use this method.
Depending on the size of your library, scanning could take some time.
The interface is not complicated, There is the basic menu across the top and a set of icons below that. Despite being simple, it contains everything you will need.
- MediaMonkey Gold
- My Computer
My Computer (which displays those previously mentioned mapped drives) is the easiest way to navigate to your music files. From here you can browse to the song you wish to play and double-click the track to get started.
Play controls are displayed at the bottom of the screen with track information to the right side in a column of its own.
The Tools menu is where most people will likely find most of what they installed this app for. Several options exist for cleaning up your library, such as Auto-Tag from both the from the web and based on the file name. Users can also synchronize tags and work directly with ID3 Tags from here.
This is also the place to go to both rip and burn CD’s and also access extensions and options, the latter of which contains a number of features to allow the customer to set things exactly as he or she wishes them to be.
The Options page alone could be an entire article so I recommend exploring, but I will point out one very important feature, which is “Media Sharing”. This is where you can set up streaming of your music to DLNA devices, such as Google TV, Roku and many DVR’s and Blu-ray players. You will need to enable this feature and add players manually.
Options also lets you change the look of the app by using skins, and sync with portable media players like the iPod and others. You can even add plugins to the app. Plugins are divided into sections — Input, Output, DSP, General and Visualization.
The directory, which is displayed down the left column, contains a couple of interesting options, one of which is Podcasts. Click the arrow to the left of this to open up the options. Options include Subscriptions, Directories, Location, Genre, Year and Files to Edit. Subscriptions contains a list of the shows you are subscribed to and Directories will allow you to discover new shows.
Net Radio contains two directories to aid you in finding stations to listen to. The default directories are the prominent Shoutcast and Icecast networks.
Both contain hundreds of stations covering every genre. You can browse through them based on the genre and find almost anything you could possibly wish to listen to.
The Web has several options available — Amazon, CDUniverse, eMusic, HDTracks and AllMusic. If you click on one, Amazon for instance, a browser window will open within MediaMonkey. From here, you can browse and purchase music.
Many of these options allow you to right-click on them and add more — for instance a new podcast directory or a different location to purchase music from.
While there is a paid version that adds a few features, MediaMonkey free does more than enough to satisfy almost any music lover. The Gold version does add faster CD burning, on-the-fly file conversions and a bit more, but probably not enough to justify the cost.
MediaMonkey is a one-stop app for everything you could possibly want, with music listening, burning, ripping, podcasts and even internet radio. Perhaps best of all, the app affords you the opportunity to finally clean up that mess of a music folder that we all posess. And it does all of this free of charge. It is hard to beat that.