Not so long ago at Zath, we looked at CoverSutra, a minimalist iTunes interface that slaps some album artwork on your desktop and adds a host of convenient features for controlling your music. Well here we are again, but this time we’re looking at a rival application called TunesArt, which whilst largely based on the same principle, does have a few extra tricks up its sleeve.
It’s worth mentioning that when I bought the app, it was a great deal cheaper than CoverSutra on the App Store, costing me just 99-pence. However I believe that was a sale price, and it has now been restored to a slightly more thought provoking £4.99, and a few pounds more than Coversutra which is now on the App Store at a reasonable £2.99.
So what does TunesArt offer to justify such a price tag? Well, for starters we have the menu bar integration, which you can customise a little to your taste. Firstly there’s the menu bar icon, which is where you access a drop down menu which houses some features we’ll look at later on, but also you can choose between any and as many of three other options for the menu bar. A mini iTunes controller, including play/pause and forward/rewind controls on either side. You can alternatively, or additionally, have a rolling ticker showing off the track info, which is also available inside the drop down menu or on the desktop, and doesn’t look great on the menubar to be quite honest. Lastly there is the star-rating, which you can keep on the menubar and conveniently rate tracks as you listen to them, without going into iTunes. One of the great things I’ve noticed about TunesArt though is the ability you have to tailor your experience to your needs and wants, and so naturally you can opt to keep the icon in the dock instead of the menubar, or indeed, both.
Secondly, there is the social integration with Twitter and Last.FM. You can simply authorise TunesArt to access your Last.FM account and it’ll pluck your scrobbled music from there. Furthermore, authorising your Twitter account will allow you to share the music you’re playing from the menubar on the site, and you can even customise the standard syntax of the tweet.
Thirdly, there are lyrics, which, if stored in iTunes, can be displayed on your desktop in your preferred manner, which you can yet again customise from the preferences menu accessible via the menu bar, with options including the standard font and font colour options, as well as the positioning of the lyrics window.
Overall, whilst there are very few actual features inherently in an app such as this, TunesArt makes good use of social networking, and is a stable and quality application. I personally enjoy the host of customisation options available in TunesArt, which really makes it the winner in a contest against Coversutra, which was rather limited in my experience for an app which is almost entirely aesthetics. However, the price might be a sticking point now it’s gone up to £5, so CoverSutra is worth considering on value alone, despite it costing over twice as much as TunesArt originally.