I love music and have a huge iTunes library to prove it, but having to go into iTunes every time I want to view what’s playing, select a new track or rate a track I’m listening to gets annoying! Especially when I’m listening to music for a long time while I’m working on something…
For quite some time I was looking for a more minimalist interface (or application) that could manage my music without as much hassle, and I came across an application called CoverSutra, from a small developer called Sophiestication.
When running, CoverSutra sits on your dock, displaying the artwork of whatever’s currently playing, and gives you a larger album art in a CD case template, with song and album information on your desktop. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing on your desktop, but it’s also a very functional application, compatible for Mac OS X 10.4 through to 10.6, although newer versions only support Leopard and Snow Leopard.
To save you from having to go into iTunes to change a song, clicking on the application in your dock opens up a centralised player controls window which offers the main controls that you need to access including volume control, shuffle, ratings and of course the option to skip to the previous and next tracks. The thing I like most about the window, and the application in general, is how unobtrusive it is when you don’t need it. If you need to access the player controls, just quickly click the dock icon, and when you’re done, click outside the window to close it – it’s efficient, simple and functional.
Another feature that impressed me was the “Music Search” function. When CoverSutra’s running, a musical note icon appears on your menu bar, which turns into a spotlight-esque search box. To find an artist, song or album, you just type the name of what you’re looking for in the search field and you’re presented with a list of results matching your search criteria. One thing that annoyed me about this was the separation of searching for playlists – if you want to search for a playlist, you have to select “Playlist” from the list of drop-down options by the search box. I’d much rather see an all in one search capability which separates playlists on the results, rather than have to tell the application to search for playlists.
The final feature I wish to talk about is Last.fm integration, which is a very welcome addition for those of us who use the service. If you go into the CoverSutra preferences and type in your Last.fm details, every song you listen to will be added to your Last.fm service. Again, this feature is unobtrusive, and I prefer using it to Last.fm’s own application for sending information about the music I’m listening to.
I highly recommend the application to all you music freaks out there using Mac OS X that want a more minimalist interface for their iTunes music playing experience. You can download a trial from the CoverSutra website, which is fully compatible with Snow Leopard and iTunes 9. If you want to purchase it, you can do so for $19.95 or £12.84, also from the website.