Miro4: open, cross-platform iTunes replacement that does BitTorrent, podcast channels, and synchs to everything

Nicholas from the Participatory Culture Foundation sez,
Miro 4 has just been released! We believe the open media world can be just as integrated and usable as the closed, top-down, DRM'ed systems of companies like Apple. And we want to prove it. Miro, free and open-source, is now a full alternative to iTunes and Windows Media Player:

* Syncs music and video to Android phones and tablets
* Buy music and apps from Amazon and other stores inside Miro
* Stream and share music and video on your local network
* Gorgeous, totally new UI
* Works with your iTunes library, so it's easy to try Miro and see if you like it
* A very fast bittorrent client
* Powerful video player supporting and converting almost any format

Basically, it rules. Android is going to be 50% of the smartphone market by the end of the year, but millions of Android users are still using iTunes, software that explicitly refuses to sync to their devices. That seems a little crazy doesn't it? We think Miro 4 can change that.

Miro 4 (Thanks, Nicholas!)

(Disclosure: I'm proud to volunteer on the board of directors for the Participatory Culture Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Miro)


  1. Perfect. I’ve been waiting for something like this for ages.
    Thanks for the heads up *tips hat*

  2. Not to be overly critical, but if you’re trying to prove the value of open source, why would you copy iTune’s abysmal interface? Surely you should take the opportunity to make something that doesn’t look and function like a piece of 1990s shareware.

    1. What interface would you suggest? Sorting and displaying media is a very dense information display. iTunes does it fairly cleanly (although it falls apart for media with poorer metadata support like books). I’m always on the lookout for media managers to try. If you think there is one out there that has a significantly better interface design I’d love to hear it.

      1. I see people talking about iTunes having a horrible interface all the time but I’ve never once seen a viable alternative. Looking at the videos on the site I don’t have a lot of faith that navigating my 12,000 plus item library will be easier. I will give it a try though.

    2. why would you copy iTune’s abysmal interface?

      Hmmm… I’m hearing a lot of whining about the UI in this thread, but not any suggestions for an alternative interface.

      What would you guys prefer? A command-line interface?

      1. The best interface is centered on fast incremental searching. Google has shown this is the best interface to the web. Read some of Jeff Raskin’s work on ‘The Humane Interface’.

        The best interface would let me type, and as I typed it would show album, artist, and song titles that match what I have typed so far. At any point I can hit one key to play the first entry in my results, or the only entry in my results.

        Other areas like building playlists should have similar interfaces based around search.

        1. I can see this might be helpful if you have an absolutely massive library, but if you know the artist name you just type that in not in a search and it with bring you to it, then flick to the album with the left button and to the track with the down. or use your mouse once you are at the album.

          Using the search box it updates as you type it in, so it sort of is doing that, you seldom have to write the whole name for it to appear on the list.

          1. I have a large but not massive collection that is very eclectic.
            I have many thousands of songs that are the only song from a particular artist. So I might want to play that string quartet that covered Metallica but I don’t remember the name of the quartet or the song. With a universal search that has access to notes and tags as well as titles it would be easy: ‘metallica cello’. With a limited ENTER ARTIST NAME HERE interface I would just give up and forget about it.

        2. “The best interface is centered on fast incremental searching.”

          Doubling up on Sam: The hell it is. fast incremental searching is fine when I want to search. But what happens when I want to scroll? To get an overview of what vast wasteland lives in the De-Do section of my music library?

          I’m really, really tired of people criticizing the iTunes 3-pane browser. It was a new design (though perhaps not original) when Apple introduced it, and it made managing large collections of music much, much easier (by using a 3 layer heirarchy).

          I don’t use iTunes (well, almost never), but I do use Rhythmbox, which emulates the iTunes 3 pane browser. I have a hard time imagining a substantially better experience, given that it (like iTunes) has “fast incremental search” and the pane-based heirarchy.

          Sometimes I wonder if the critics of iTunes just have the 3 pane view turned off, or have never noticed how its search function works.

        3. The best interface would let me type, and as I typed it would show album, artist, and song titles that match what I have typed so far. At any point I can hit one key to play the first entry in my results, or the only entry in my results.

          Ok, I’m confused. Have you actually used iTunes? It does that exactly and has so for a very long time now.

          (At least on my Mac it does, I haven’t tested it with Windows)

      2. Exactly. They can criticize, but the can’t create. A complaint without an alternate suggestion is NOISE.

        1. No, I’m sorry, that’s bullshit.

          I don’t have to be a professional sports player to know when someone makes a bad play; I don’t have to be a professional chef to know when my food tastes bad; and I don’t have to be a professional plumber to know that my pipes are leaking.

          It is entirely legitimate to know that something is broken without having the expertise to fix it yourself. I can tell you that my car is driving badly and shaking like hell, but that doesn’t mean I can tell you what’s wrong in the nuts and bolts of it. And I can definitely tell you that I don’t enjoy using a program without being able to pin down exactly why it’s bad to use or what could be done to fix it.

          Pointing out that there’s a problem is a vital first step in fixing it, and discounting people’s problems because they don’t immediately know how to go about fixing it is a terrible way to manage things. Telling me “suggest something better or shut the fuck up” just strikes me as childish.

          1. You don’t have to be a programmer to criticize a program, no, but you really ought to have a idea of what type of program is better — otherwise it is meaningless whining. Same thing applies for your other examples: if you say a restaurant has bad food, you ought to be able to give an example of a better restaurant that the bad restaurant ought to be more like even if you can’t cook. That’s constructive criticism.

    3. Well, you know, I happen to like iTunes user interface a lot, and it’s been solid and reliable for me ever since I upgraded from OS 9.22 to 10.2.8. I’ve copied my whole iTunes library from one computer to another several times as I’ve upgraded my hardware, including copying it to Windows when I had to go Windows-only at work during a dark period in my career. I don’t know what people are doing to it to make it misbehave, but I love it.

  3. Very cool idea. I’m downloading. Can software like this stop insulting us by trying to get all of our crap set to Bing. Bing is garbage. I understand you need to find a way to make cash, but i’m 10x more likely to do that with a donate bar than unclicking Bing crap.

  4. Owning three android devices this sounds like quite an excellent way to sync media to my phones, tablets, etc.

    Will definitely be giving it a try.

  5. I’m @work and the site is websensed for me. Question I have is can this replace iTunes for syncing an iDevice? If not, then calling this an Itunes replacement is a bit misleading IMO.

  6. I’ve been a Miro user for years (back when they were “Democracy Player” and love the previous incarnations (although they’re plagued by glacial start-up). Happy to see a more fully featured version arrive; I’ll be updating as soon as I’m home from work. And hopefully remove iTunes once and for all.

  7. I had to uninstall. This software keeps saying “There is no disk in the drive” error DR08/DR21.

    1. yep, doing it to me too, looks like will have to uninstall miro one more time if no solution

  8. Their FAQ and Help pages appear to have not been updated yet – can anyone tell me if Miro will sync iPods?

    1. I was curious about this, as iPods don’t seem to be mentioned at all, so I just installed Miro 4 and tested it. It didn’t auto-detect my Nano, but when I went to the Connect screen and told it to show all devices, it appeared. I read the contents fine, and I was able to drag an mp3 across to the device. There are also controls for moving tracks from the iPod to Miro, and they work too.

      So in terms of music, it does seem to be okay with 2nd gen iPod Nanos at least, which is nice to see. The pre-ticked additional Yahoo install, not so nice to see, especially as the installer makes no effort to tell you what the install actually is or does. Maybe that approach raises enough funds to offset my hurt feelings, but if I recommend Miro to anyone (and from what I’ve seen so far, I may well), it’s going to have to be with a caveat about that tickbox.

      1. Yessssssssssss! I’m at work so I couldn’t try it out, but hopefully this will replace iTunes for me.

        @EH, etc: My biggest problems with iTunes are functional and not esthetic. One example is that adding new MP3s is really clumsy. And if they’re in a folder that contains MP3s that are already in the iTunes library, they’re duplicated in the library so you have multiple entries for one MP3. iTunes has no way of removing duplicates. You can get add-ons that help mitigate that, but it seems farcical to me that a modern program can’t recognize when a duplicate is being created. One glaring omission is the lack of a “play next” function similar to Windows Media Player’s “add to now playing list” function. You can do something similar by always playing from a playlist, but if you hit play on an album and decide on what you want to hear next, there is no way to queue it up! You have to stop what you’re doing, create a playlist, add the album(/track/etc) you were listening to and then the album you want to listen to next. Complete idiocy. Maybe it’s patent related?

          1. File: Display Duplicates = File: Display Songs With The Exact Same Name By The Same Artist Even If They Are Obviously On Different Albums But Ignore The Two Files That Are The Same But Have A Trailing Space

            I’m just sayin’.

          2. The problem with that is you still have to manually select and delete each duplicate. If you’re dealing with thousands of duplicates (which is *easy* to end up with, trust me) it will take a lot of tedious work to un-do something that shouldn’t happen in the first place.

  9. Cory, I have always loved Miro, as it gave me access to “stuff” I could not get elsewhere but desperately had to have.

    Most excellent, and how it tickles me that you are involved in it.

    Boing Ho! (You know like Tally Ho) my man!

    But if Ed is right and the interface is like iTunes, I totally see why they did it, but it is a very clumsy interface and don’t even get me going on iTunes stores useless search process….Oy!

  10. Cory, since you are on the board could you find a better way to raise funds that spamming us with unnecessary toolbars and other bloatware? Many people will be tricked into loading it in the first screen, and I was frustrated that after I had already decided not to load the bloatware ANOTHER pop up window came up asking me to install it.

    I liked Miro on Facebook, but decided not to send $5 because of these skeezy tricks.

  11. Separate Play and Pause buttons, what? It’s a media player app, not a VCR from the 80s.

  12. Miro was a great program but unfortunately the implementation was awful. The slow startup time was incredible, it used endless amounts of RAM (would have to close and restart it) and it was just crash-prone.

    Just using uTorrent and VLC is a far more usable solution I found…

  13. Still no High DPI support (on Windows). Version 4 looks even worse on higher DPI than before. Not all buttons visible in first-run menus. Requires separate Flash and Bonjour install. Thank you, but no.

  14. I’m psyched that there appears to be a viable alternative to iTunes – although huntsu’s post is a bit concerning.

    I agree with EdCS, re: disappointment that Miro has chosen to emulate iTunes’ sub-par UI, and the missed opportunity there.

    RyanH – don’t know what UI to suggest, but as a user not a UI designer, I can only say that the existing interface doesn’t cut it imo.

    Lastly, is everything even indirectly related to Apple required to be described as “gorgeous”, “beautiful”, and “stunning” regardless of whether it actually is or not???

  15. This looks like exactly what I have been looking for. Downloading now. I hope it supports FLAC. *crosses fingers*

  16. Does it work with ipods/ipads? Also, does it integrate with the iTunes store, or just amazon and bit torrents?

  17. The interface is gorgeous. It looks like another program I know. What is it called again? Oh yea, iTunes. It baffles me when people criticize something all while copying its over all interface.

    Further, except for syncing with Android phones and Bit-torrent, what different does it offer? It really isn’t a full alternative to iTunes as it doesn’t allow you to buy from Apple.

  18. “… millions of Android users are still using iTunes, software that explicitly refuses to sync to their devices.”

    seriously? Why on earth would I use horrible iTunes when I don’t have too? I buy amazon mp3s – use winamp to organize/playback and sync with android. Miro might be a good replacement for winamp – but if it can’t sync to an iphone/touch, we’re still stuck with iTunes. right?

    1. I’m one of those Android users who still messes with iTunes, and I can tell you I would ditch iTunes immediately if I could find something that would play the TV shows I bought from Apple years back. I still watch them occasionally, but Apple hasn’t seen fit to extend their DRM-free state from their music to their television offerings. Unless I want to walk away from a couple hundred dollars (I don’t), I’m stuck with iTunes, even if I only use it to keep my iPod synced.

      Also, for the computer tinkerers out there, if you want a UI that’s customized specifically for your tastes, you could always try building your own in foobar2000.

  19. So, where is the linux version? I’m trying to download it and it’s nowhere to be found, only osx and windows versions… I’ve ended up downloading the src tar-ball and compiling myself. Not the best way of showing how easy and wonderful and “justworky” linux is.

  20. So, when you say “synchs to everything”, are Apple products a part of “everything”? As in, “the other 50% of smartphones”? Because I would dearly love to never have to deal with iTunes again. It is dreck.

  21. Best practice is to untick every checkbox you ever see in every installer, and only tick the ones that are clear about what they do and that provide a benefit you desire. I think Yahoo pays like $5 for every install of their PII-vacuuming toolbar, so that basically explains that.

    And yeah. I don’t require critics to have a replacement in mind, but what exactly is wrong with the iTunes interface? What makes it “abysmal” beside the search facility in the Apple store, which actually has zero to do with the player interface. Frankly I like the Artist/Genre/Album style of UI.

  22. Downloaded it, installed it, and ran it.

    So far, it’s been taking 70-85% of my CPU for the last 20 minutes or so for “Importing audio details and artwork” and also decided that everything my iTunes library was a podcast and there’s way to tell Miro they aren’t. There aren’t any smart playlists, which I use to automatically organize my music, audiobooks, podcasts, and videos. I don’t like the traditional spreadsheet interface with columns at the top and Miro’s album-cover-on-the-side interface would have been cool if each song wasn’t displayed as a big individual entry. Also, it looks like there isn’t good support for audiobooks; a remember the last played position feature and its own sidebar entry would have been enough.

    I want to like Miro, but it simply doesn’t have the features I’m used to in iTunes and it made a bad first impression by being very CPU intensive (and therefore sluggish in performance) while adding my library. I’ll give Miro another shot in the future if they add a lot of significant features, but for me as it is now, it’s unusable.

  23. This looks great and I’ll check it out for my Android devices, but your headline says, “…and synchs to everything”. It syncs to androids but not iphones. I live in a wonderful world where I have multiple devices, but you should amend the headline, I’m guessing a few iPhone users got their hopes up before clicking through. Thats the thing about iTunes, it sucks even if using it with an idevice.

  24. The only thing I hate about iTunes (on the Mac) is how DRM gets between me and my devices, I like the interface overall, expect when it comes to how the playlists work with desktop folders (I’d like it if Playlists were automatically made with the title of the folder you dragged into iTunes and added the songs from the folder).

    I haven’t tested this yet, but does Miro let you hook up multiple Apple devices without trying to sync over everything like the DRM crapware that’s built into iTunes? IOW, can I hook up multiple devices ilke an iPhone, Shuffle, iPod Nano, etc. to the same computer and share the same library without it trying to erase each one to match the other, etc.?

  25. I’m not convinced.

    – It put half my itunes music as podcasts (seemingly for no reason..?)

    – The side bar is very uncustomisable, (If I don’t want sources why can’t i remove the thing on the side for it?)

    – I don’t see why I would want to go on youtube on my music library, would prefer youtube without adverts on firefox.

    – I find it harder to navigate than itunes, If I want to jump to an artist on itunes I press the first letter of the artist and it goes to that letter, I can then scroll or keep typing to get there, miro begins a search. I don’t want to search, when I reach the end of that artist I would like music to keep playing.

    – If I’m not sure what I feel like listening I enjoy flicking through the coverflow, miro just confronts me with a wall of text.

    – itunes store for podcasts is very easy and doesn’t automatically try to get me to get some podcasts they think are good. (miro already had a load of podcasts on the side.)

    – If I want to torrent things I’ll use utorrent. I don’t want to seed all the time if I need my bandwidth but I want music at least open all the time.

    – I find the entire program counter intuitive, why show art work for every song not just the album?

    – I don’t understand why people want swiss army programs. You are not camping. The computer is more like a house so you can have things specific to the job and if you don’t use something much you can throw it in the shed rather than have it attached to your living room.

    – Maybe I just don’t have enough of a problem with itunes, I’ve skinned it with silent night so its far more pretty than miro and removed ping with external program so the entire thing is clean and easy on the eyes. I have a £5 phone so wont need to be syncing it with anything.

    Out of interest what is everyones problem with itunes? I don’t find it hard to navigate at all. I don’t see how music could be presented better than a list you can easily jump around alphabetically and flick through the art work big at the top.

  26. I too am curious. Can someone maybe list the UI elements they so dislike in iTunes as well as elements they would like to see in an alternative? Not trying to be snarky, just honestly would like to know.

        1. Um, yeah, or vinyl, which I prefer. Except with physical media (gasp!) you can make subets – heavy metal here, psych there, Balinese gamelan over in the corner. Then when you’re in the mood for some particular flavor, you can flip through the subset of your choice, not your ENTIRE ALPHABETIZED COLLECTION. I’m not going to apologize for finding the experience of using a goddam spreadsheet to find my music unappealing.

  27. Using iTunes database is not a feature, it’s a bug. Sticking with Songbird. The combination of incremental search + coverflow is quite nice too.

  28. In regards to your “play next” problem, use iTunes DJ. If you’re already listening to a song in your main library playlist, right click (ctrl-click) on the track you are listening to and select “Play Next in iTunes DJ” have it continue in the DJ. You can also queue up other tracks this way as well.

  29. Have a look at Spotify for a well thought out media interface.
    Apart from a much nicer layout for artists/albums/tracks, it has big wins on searchability and cross-linking.

  30. While it has some sync’ing issues, I prefer Media Monkey 1000 times over iTunes. It’s fast, responsive, searches as I type, and lets me sync my Android phone and my iPod.

    Trying to use iTunes with my 75,000+ library of songs is close to impossible.

  31. If this was 4chan I’d post some picture involving rage and then add:

    >mfw realize iphone doesn’t have a delete function on the phone.

    I detest iTunes. I don’t have a media manager, call me old school but I know what’s on my computer. I don’t need a program to tell me where and what my mp3’s are. I have a Sansa Clip, drag and drop, done.

  32. The site only mentions Android and iPads. Does it synch with other MP3 players and phones?

  33. Looks more than a tiny bit like iTunes does it not!!! How about a bit of originality guys?

  34. “The best interface is centered on fast incremental searching.”

    The hell it is. Maybe for a shitload of stuff I keep no inventory for, like the internets, but for my music, I know what I’ve got and I don’t need to search through it. I know how the alphabets work and can use a mouse just fine in a gui, thanks. If I want to play Cash, I just fire up the ole itunes (by clicking on it’s icon in the dock) and then scroll my artists collumn to Johnny Cash, and then double click it. All with my mouse.

  35. Can you jump back and forth between Miro4 and iTunes or do you have to make the choice to use one or the other?

    1. From Miro4’s home page: “It’s very easy to switch from iTunes to Miro– without any copying. Just point Miro to your music and video folders and those files will appear. If you don’t like Miro (impossible!), nothing’s changed.”

  36. I didn’t like the ads in the installer and program. The program might be open source, but I bet that toolbar crap isn’t.

    Since it is open source, maybe someone will make a better version of it.

    I know they need money, but I am allergic to this method of getting it.

    I don’t want to be too negative, I’ve watched this project for a while, and I think it has potential.

  37. iTunes — YUCK! I use it on my Mac because it’s sort of the default but it’s a kludgy, crappy program that’s never been up to Apple’s design standards. Worst feature: every time I upgrade my computer it kills all my metadata (star ratings, playlists). With a big library, that’s a huge pain.

    On a PC, iTunes is utter rubbish. Actually, I hate how iTunes stores my music in the first place, buried several layers deep in the iTunes folder.

    Also, the program is prone to losing music. Occasionally I’ll look for something and it’s just gone! Or, I’ll click on a song and it won’t be able to find it. I have to go browsing through my library to reconnect the song with it’s title. Friends have reported the same problem so it’s not just me.

    Worst of all, I am totally unwilling to ever, EVER sign up at the iTunes store because I don’t trust Apple not to scan my whole music library looking for clues, patterns, non-DRMed music or anything else. Maybe I’m excessively paranoid but Apple is not a company that fills me with confidence in regards to user privacy and free speech protections.

    I’ve been using Miro for years. I hope their music management is good enough for me to finally abandon iTunes!

  38. Tried to install miro4.

    Started, locked up my system looking for videos on hard disks that don’t exist on my system.

    Rebooted, Tried to run again, gui said it hadn’t been started properly, and software locked up.

    Sorry dude. Not ready for release. Too buggy.

    That’s why linux doesn’t budge against MS and Apple. Too many people working on too many versions of the same thing, way too few people on things like debugging. I was hoping Todd Shuttleworth was going have really change some of that problem in the open source community with ubuntu. First couple of years looked promising, but now were are right back where were were when ubuntu started. 25 different ubuntu releases. All of them in early to mid alpha state at release. I’d like things to be different. I’m disabled. I’m on a fixed income. I’d love to be able to switch to open/free but the fonts are not all that readable. Fonts are critical. It’s the main thing I use my computer for. Read websites. Reading ebooks.

    It’s why so many programmers have moved to Apple. OS X is a unix that they can trust will work all the time.

    1. why reboot linux? what about removing miro’s per-user configuration file and restarting? (noooo, not your computer, just the program!)

      and who is todd shuttleworth?

      you are right about debugging. one person is missing in the miro debugging effort: you! :-)


  39. I have a Mac G4. Repeated crashes trying to view podcasts, and there seems to be no way to remove or delist tracks besides rightclicking, selecting remove, and -then- clicking OK – this is really cumbersome. Also have the same issue with the program flagging several hundred tracks as podcasts that aren’t.

    One thing iTunes does well is change the attributes of several files at once – when this program tries to do that -at all- it crashes. Half a dozen times in just the last ten minutes.

  40. I wante a podcatcher that will automatically speed up downloaded podcasts to 1.5x or 2.0x speed so I can listen to more audio. Anybody know if Miro 4 does this?

  41. This may be interesting.

    Just take care not to install Zugo, which comes bundled with it.

  42. I’m willing to switch from iTunes to something else; the main stumbling block is, I need something that’ll keep all the metadata intact. All the rating, playcounts, manually-edited song titles or artists; all that needs to stay intact, because I am not going to sift through thousands of songs and do it again. I’ll admit, though, that I haven’t really put much serious effort or research into finding something else, so maybe every iTunes-alternative already does this and it’s a non-issue.

  43. Thirds on the nay to ‘fast incremental searching is the best interface.’ It’s ok for typing phrases, but even then I usually turn the google feature off because it’s distracting. And personally I fear that all of this auto-complete, auto-spell, auto-correct technology is turning us, and moreso future generations, into grey, goopy idiots.

    Does Miro allow for tagging music with keywords? That’s the main thing I think is missing from iTunes in terms of getting a handle on thousands and thousands of songs from different genres, moods, etc. Apple’s solution was a trojan horse: show us all your music data, and we’ll analyze it for you (and use it for whatever else we want). But imagine if you could make a dynamic playlist based on, “all music in the genre ‘Indie Rock’, with tags: ‘breakup’, ‘whiskey’, ‘acoustic'”. Yes, you’d have to tag everything yourself, but that’s a lot better than giving up your privacy.

  44. Installed Miro a few years ago. It was the slowest, draggiest app I ever tried to use. Uninstalled.

    Tried again a few weeks ago. Surely they fixed it by now, right? Never found out, because Miro infected my computer with Bing search tools over my explicit refusal. That makes it malware.

    No chance I’m going near it again.

  45. Ah, I see the “Come up with a better idea or STFU” contingent is out in force. Defensive much?

  46. I never liked iTunes when I had to use it (only when troubleshooting a relative’s iDevice), but I’ll give this a go.

    Could they not come up with their own style though?

  47. Hmmm… No 4.0 version for Ubuntu yet? Funny that an open source software like this makes the only open source OS in “big three” list stay a version behind.

    Sure that it will be fixed soon, but quite contradictory.

    Waiting for 4.0 to show up in their PPA…

  48. Yeah, I really think you guys should update the teaser on this post to include a disclaimer that this does NOT, in fact, “synch to everything” – like iphones, ipods, or the touch.

  49. MusicMatch Jukebox had my favorite UI of any media player so far (before Y! ruined it). If you want reasons to hate the iTunes UI, burn CDs. I also cannot fathom why people love the “checked songs” crap. I use iTunes because the store, the lack of alternatives, etc. Not because it has the best UI I’ve used.

    If you want to know why everyone uses iTunes and its interface, then you simply have to look at your current phone and/or MP3 player. Before then people always copied RealPlayer or Windows Media Player.

  50. It’s not an iTunes replacement, it’s iTunes for devices other than Apple devices.

    It does not work with Apple devices.
    It seems not to be any improvement over iTunes in functionality.

    Nice to see open-source development, but it’s not what the headline promises. I’d love something that could actually let me use my iPod with something other than slow, buggy, locked-down iTunes. This is not it.

  51. Um, how can they call it a “full alternative” to iTunes when it doesn’t actually work with Apple devices? This is an open-source replacement for non-Apples devices.

  52. I’m another MusicMatch user, casting about for another jukebox system to replace it. Miro looks interesting, but the emphasis on video is so strong that I’m skeptical about how well it will address my needs, which are mostly audio.

    S’pose I can look at foobar2000…

    BTW, subsets work just fine in a jukebox system if you take the time to tag your collection and select by tags. Though, frankly, I _like_ shuffling the complete collection in most situations — music for driving would be the major exception, and the other is that I still want to see a system clever enough to realize that if it plays an intro track it should usually (but not necessarily always?) follow that with the song it introduced rather than taking another random jump.

  53. I have installed it twice now am getting the same error both times.
    Tellling me to insert a disk in drives Q and R I do not have a drive Q or R.evrytime I click cancel it pops right back up.

    Eset is also picking up a potential threat Zugo-silent.exe some sort of toolbar which I unchecked so it shouldn’t be trying to install.

    Is only one other person having this problem?

    Win7 Ultimate 64bit sytsem


  54. Another vote for foobar2000. The first thing I noticed about Miro was how slavishly it imitates iTunes’s awful UI and even functionality, just like Songbird does and so many other “iTunes alternatives”. Being slightly more open seems to be their only real feature.

    foobar2000 is everything iTunes isn’t – i.e. user-configurable. You can configure track groupings, sort by complex formulas (I have it by album artist, sorted chronologically by album within), configure keyboard shortcuts for absolutely everything, watch multiple folders on local or network drives – it compiles a tag database from whatever locations you set as the Library, leaving the folder configuration up to the user.
    There are plugins for waveform seekbar (think Soundcloud’s interface), more advanced playlist viewers, faceted search interfaces, native last.fm submission…

    And best of all is the inbuild mass-tagger, so much better than the disaster that is iTunes’ tagging – tag common fields at once, easily enter different track titles (etc) or even auto-tag based on filename patterns. Add whatever additional tags you want to your files, and use those to sort or search as well.
    And with Discogs and Musicbrainz components, retrieve far better info than Gracenote’s limited database.
    Plus you can keep the artwork in a file in your album’s directory, or embed it if you insist – far more easily than iTunes’ clunky time-consuming method (unless all your music is in iTunes/Gracenote).

    The iPod component (foo_dop) can write to all iDevices including iPad 2 (with a couple of additional dlls) and lets you assign tag patterns to iTunes fields, so I have all album titles on my iPod prefixed with [YYYY] so they’re properly sorted chronologically, and I have all multi-artist albums appear in compilations (because Apple merrily ignores the Album Artist tag).

    And of course it’s compatible with LAME for CD ripping/file conversion and for tagging for gapless playback. No need to waste your time analysing the files after the fact iTunes-style.

    It’s not for everyone, because it takes some work, and because it’s Windows-only. It works, mostly, in Wine, but there are enough niggling things that I actually bother to run WinXP in VMware on my Mac, just to use it :) Best of both worlds!
    (but I wish there was a decent alternative for Mac)

    1. frogworth, you really had me sold on the foobar2000 app until you had to slip in the “windows-only” knife at the end there. :/

      1. frogworth, you really had me sold on the foobar2000 app until you had to slip in the “windows-only” knife at the end there. :/

        I’m really sorry :( You’re not alone in that, but the developer seems to simply have no interest in making it cross-platform; it seems to dependent on Windows code.
        For that matter, the many components that make foobar so awesome are likely to have huge issues moving to other platforms too. *sigh*

    2. It’s not for everyone, because it takes some work

      Hmm, sounds like it’s “better” than iTunes for some and not for people like me who don’t want to really “work” at getting something as simple as an mp3 player to work.

      sort by complex formulas (I have it by album artist, sorted chronologically by album within), configure keyboard shortcuts for absolutely everything

      You should further investigate “smart playlists” in iTunes, it allows you to sort your music with an incredible array of multiple options including the one you mentioned. Keyboard shortcuts for anything as well, just venture into your sys prefs keyboard shortcuts pane and have at it if on Mac.

      I keep seeing people who apparently aren’t very experienced with iTunes saying iTunes can’t do… a whole helluva lot that it CAN do (and then some).

      I really don’t think iTunes is as bad as the people (who don’t know how to use it) say it is, really.

      1. I know “smart playlists”, and they’re not as smart as foobar’s autoplaylists, and the problem is that then you need to have a playlist for everything.
        And the Mac’s keyboard shortcuts pane is semi-useful, but doesn’t really offer keyboard shortcuts at the required level for me.
        In any case, the tagging issues have considerably more weight for me (being able to tag en masse – not iTunes-stye – and retrieve tag data from Discogs or Musicbrainz), plus being able to override the super-annoying organisational issues on iPods.

        I do know iTunes, and its shortcomings. If an mp3 player is just something simple for you, then I’m happy for you – use iTunes :)

        1. I know “smart playlists”, and they’re not as smart as foobar’s autoplaylists, and the problem is that then you need to have a playlist for everything.

          Hmm… how so, specifically? You can quickly and easily make iTunes smart playlists that populate themselves based upon nested conditional choices you pick and basically maintain themselves (simply click “live updating”). The choices/scenarios are endless, yet easy to access so you can quickly get down to listening to music in all kinds of interesting ways without wasting lots of time figuring it out.

          Please name a specific, complicated way you can sort music that iTunes smart playlists can’t do? I’m exceedingly curious about this!

          Actually, the more I investigate foobar, the more I’m seeing where smart playlists have it beat (no pun intended) in ease of use AND power.

          Oh, and fair warning… don’t forget that you can use custom Applescripts with iTunes as well:

          tell application “iTunes”
          display dialog “More powerful than you understood?”

          And the Mac’s keyboard shortcuts pane is semi-useful, but doesn’t really offer keyboard shortcuts at the required level for me.

          How so? What was the limitation(s) you ran into specifically? You’re getting a little hazy here.

          1. Sure. Because you can’t add custom tags, you can’t do something like I do to order albums not only by year but within years with an INDEX tag – so that Autechre’s “Envane” EP comes before their “Chiastic Slide” album in 1997.
            It’s all very well to focus on smart playlists – perhaps they’re as powerful as autoplaylists in foobar now, but only within the other limitations of iTunes. I found them annoying to construct when I was forced to use iTunes a couple of years ago, but they’re not my main focus anyway.

            Keyboard shortcuts: sure, if I wanted to screw around with Applescript I could probably do it with just about as much ease as in foobar, but since there’s no Discogs plugin, and since iTunes doesn’t want me to be aware of where the actual files are and doesn’t want me to encode my files as lame-encoded mp3s or flac, it’s a moot point.

            I’ve laid out a number of other features iTunes lacks – quick, convenient, extensible tagging being #1; waveform seekbar being #2; rewriting of iPod album titles etc being #3.
            Extensibility in general is what it comes down to – I can’t organise (smart) playlists the way I want to because I can’t tag the music to the extent that I want to.

            I realise I’m semi-evading your questions, but for a reason: I know that iTunes isn’t what I need it to be, for reasons that you’ve similarly evaded – in fact you ignored them twice, I note on re-reading my first reply to you :)
            Fair enough – I can well understand that those features are irrelevant to you, in which case, yay! Not so for me, in which case yay! I have foobar.

            I maintain that foobar is a genuine alternative to iTunes (for music obviously, not video), in that it represents a very different philosophy and offers a lot to users who are disenfranchised by iTunes. Miro doesn’t seem to do that, but maybe that’s because when I see “iTunes replacement” I think “music player” rather than “Bittorrenty-video-thing”.

          2. Sure. Because you can’t add custom tags, you can’t do something like I do to order albums not only by year but within years with an INDEX tag – so that Autechre’s “Envane” EP comes before their “Chiastic Slide” album in 1997.

            You can put custom tags in the comment field (and iTunes will use those for sorting, etc.) and there’s AppleScript with endless possibilities if you want to have all this rather esoteric joys with music sorting as well.

            It’s all very well to focus on smart playlists – perhaps they’re as powerful as autoplaylists in foobar now, but only within the other limitations of iTunes. I found them annoying to construct when I was forced to use iTunes a couple of years ago, but they’re not my main focus anyway.

            I focused on smart playlists because you presented autoplaylists as some sort of smarter sorting for music and most of your entire argument against iTunes has been pretty much against what you perceive as its dire limitations in that area.

            I think it’s all very well to focus on smart playlists when in fact your suggestion that autoplaylists are superior and iTunes is severely lacking in sorting ability is misinformed.

            Keyboard shortcuts: sure, if I wanted to screw around with Applescript I could probably do it with just about as much ease as in [foobar]

            So what’s your problem with iTunes, then? Not to mention you don’t need to fuss with anything, just go to the system prefs panel for keyboard shortcuts as I already suggested.

            but since there’s no Discogs plugin


            and since iTunes doesn’t want me to be aware of where the actual files are and doesn’t want me to encode my files as lame-encoded mp3s or flac, it’s a moot point.

            You can store your iTunes library anywhere you want, it’s in the preferences. Nothing is hidden otherwise anyway. They are stored in a very clearly marked folder called “iTunes Music” by default in your “Music” folder.

            And, um… you do realize that AAC, etc. outperforms both of those formats, but if you insist on using them anyway, there are Applescripts, Plug-ins and/or QuickTime components for those that will make them work with iTunes. But I will concede iTunes doesn’t use those inferior formats by default and does not encode them AFAIK.

            I realise I’m semi-evading your questions, but for a reason: I know that iTunes isn’t what I need it to be, for reasons that you’ve similarly evaded – in fact you ignored them twice, I note on re-reading my first reply to you :) Fair enough – I can well understand that those features are irrelevant to you, in which case, yay! Not so for me, in which case yay! I have foobar. I maintain that foobar is a genuine alternative to iTunes (for music obviously, not video), in that it represents a very different philosophy and offers a lot to users who are disenfranchised by iTunes.

            It sounds like it is a genuine alternative to iTunes and better in plenty of esoteric features, but I’m just not sure it’s better overall for the majority of users out there. There’s plenty of esoteric things you bring up, but I don’t see a solid reason to discount iTunes (in general) especially when I find that some of your assertions against iTunes are little misinformed at best.

          3. Sorry Cowicide, got distracted…


            looks quite nice, but it’s certainly a lot clunkier and less powerful than the foobar one.
            Custom tags in the comments field is a pretty lame way of handling custom tags… FWIW.

            I concede that iTunes does the trick for most/a lot of people, but I know of a lot of people also who find it frustrating. It really isn’t that customizable, and really, Applescripts are something of a pain (as are foobar’s Titleformatting and syntax to a newb, no doubt).
            You’re not going to get a customization like the awesome waveform seekbar, for instance. Mass updating of tags is going to remain fairly laborious (I’m guessing).

            There’s a fair bit of discussion of AAC vs LAME mp3 on forums like Hydrogenaudio, and it’s far from conclusive that mp3 is “inferior”. At low bitrates, AAC is certainly better, but I’m encoding a -v2 to -v0. FWIW.

            More frustrating still is the way iPods/iPhones/iPads organise their music, and so (counterintuitively), while I have one as my mobile music player, I will favour foobar or something similar regardless of its other advantages, because I can screw with the iPod’s iTunes database without affecting the mp3 tags (e.g. rewriting Album Title as [Year] Album Title). When I loaded my iPhone up in iTunes and accidentally clicked on some tracks for which the database had been altered, iTunes immediately corrected them based on the tags – which is fair enough, but puts paid to my nice workaround.

            In the end my dislike of iTunes is a combination of my dislike of Apple’s paradigms for organising music (which are slowly improving), ease of doing the sort of things I want to do, and aesthetics. So it goes.

      2. So you have to work to understand iTunes, which is a good program, but since you have to work to understand Miro, it’s a bad program?

        1. So you have to work to understand iTunes, which is a good program, but since you have to work to understand Miro, it’s a bad program?

          You may want to work harder to follow the conversation. I don’t think people are even bothering to use iTunes or give it a chance before they blow it off and it shows in this thread as people keep saying it can’t do things that it easily CAN do if you bother to use it longer than 3 minutes.

          And, I haven’t said a single bad thing about Miro in this thread; I think you’re confused.

  55. itunes is and always has been buggy and slow on Win machines. I would never, ever use it by choice. When I won an ipod touch I begrudgingly sullied the sacntity of my pc by installing that apple garbage. What did I get? Unexplained hangs and memory hogging galore. At least I don’t have to look at that infuriating pinwheel!

    I dont understand why people would want to sync their media up anyway…. For me, I have way too much media – my music alone would fill the largest available ipod. Syncing merely sets the stage for people to ridicule the terrible crap that ends up playing when you set it to shuffle.

    Thankfully these alternatives are being created, but I am reluctant to install because:
    1) I installed Miro when ver 2.0 was posted on BB in 2009
    and I found it was not so useful for me. What does it do that utorrent, Windows Explorer & VLC cant?
    2) I never use or need itunes (except for when my gf asks for help with the ipod that I gave her and sadly itunes cannot be replaced by Miro for the purposes of updating the OS)
    3) I bought a device that respects my freedom as the device owner. Drag and drop + Insstall anything without rooting the device? Yes please.

  56. I tried miro 3 a little while ago and found it lacking but on the basis of this post decided to give 4 a crack. Oops. It freaked out immediately upon running with the aforementioned “no disk” error and my machine took a fair bit of convincing to kill the processes. And the Yahoo business? C’mon!

  57. I might have actually liked this, but this has got to be the most primitive media view I’ve ever seen. If you want a better iTunes derived UI, take a look at Songbird. It has the option of the list view *and* a filter pane view. You can select specific albums, artists, etc, instead of being confronted with a wall of text.

    I don’t even know how to function without a filter pane media view. Just because you’re trying to copy iTune’s interface doesn’t mean you have to actively make it suck just so you can be familiar.

  58. Re: my earlier post about Miro 4 working with my iPod Nano – a half truth. It copies files to the device as if it were an external drive, putting them in a new ‘Miro’ folder in the root. But it doesn’t tell you it’s doing that that, and it does add them to the list of tracks found on your iPod. So within Miro it appears to have added them in the same way as iTunes, but in fact that’s just an illusion that only persists within Miro. You can’t play the tracks on the iPod afterwards.

    However it does certainly transfer music across from the iPod to your computer, so if you want something that does that, it could be worth a look. However I’m not impressed with it at the moment, because I think people are likely to install it on the claims of it being an ‘full alternative’ to iTunes, quite possibly along with the additional Yahoo stuff, when it isn’t. I’m sure as a project it has laudable goals, so this is a shame.

  59. Installed Miro, uninstalled it straight away as it crashed twice and I had to kill it with task manager.

  60. I don’t know. As a Ubuntu user, I primed my iPod with iTunes in a winXP boot, switched to rhythmbox and never went back. It may not be pretty, but it works like a charm. And though I’ve never bought anything through the Ubuntu service, I’m not a buy-it-in-digital-form guy anyway (too many computer crashes and too lazy to make backups regularly enough). It looks good though. How does this compare to rhythmbox, then?

  61. you know what makes miro REALLY AWESOME?
    if you’re not careful it automatically changes the homepage setting of IE and firefox to the superuseful Miro.com! yay! you had no idea you wanted that as your homepage, but now you do!

    also: your search engine is now bing. what the hell is that? is that an altavista product?

  62. I expect iTunes is great for mac users who like to buy stuff from the Apple music store. The previous line describes a person with vastly more disposable income than I have available for music!

    I use squeezeserver, various software players (SoftSqueeze actually tunnels over SSH!) and a couple of hardware squeezeboxes to play my collection of over 5,000 FLAC files painlessly. I like the interfaces much better than iTunes.

    Most of my music was ripped from CDs that were purchased directly from artists or given to me by artists. I use EasyTag to extensively tag the FLACs when I rip them, and I pull the album art from the Internet at the same time if it’s available, otherwise I scan it in from the CD with a Canon PIXMA (and tweak it as necessary in the GiMP) or get the artist to email me a scan of the original art. It took about two weeks, more or less, to rip my entire collection of CDs to FLAC. I did it in the evenings while washing dishes and doing other interruptable household chores. I plan to also to digitize my irreplaceable tapes and vinyl soon!

    I hope Miro continues to improve; it has the potential to be one of the best players evar. Remember how long it took to get from Netscape to Firefox? These things take some time, if you actually care about doing it right.

  63. Well, I can’t even try it out cause it keeps telling me to install a disc in my disc drive for some strange reason every time I open the program and I can’t get past that screen without laborious effort at task manager. I will be uninstalling your program once again, let me know if you make any improvements.

  64. I have also wanted to love Miro since back when it was Democracy player. I actually think the UI is fine – it’s the crashing that put me off this time. I’m running an XP machine with a reasonably new dual core processor and 2 gigs of RAM. After installing Miro 4, I ran it, but the program locked up, then errored out. I tried to restart and it said it was “preparing files” but that stalled out after the progress bar finished. I tried one more time to start Miro but got the same “preparing files” thing and stall. Uninstalled since I can’t seem to run it.

    All that said, I suspect I’ll be back for Miro 5…

  65. I’m going to download Miro and try it out; but for MP3 playing (and maintaining), I totally, totally recommend MediaMonkey. I’ve tried most alternatives, and it always comes out on top.

  66. I like the player, but it absolutely does not sync with your iPod as it halfway kinda advertises. I puts your music into its own Miro folder, which is not the correct file structure to play on an iPod. Pretty disappointing just based on that. I have other programs to listen to podcasts, watch videos and torrent.

  67. Ooh, great. Not only a terrible release, but you can’t even downgrade afterwards because the database was “saved by a newer version and you need the latest version of miro to open it”.

    Thanks a lot guys.

Comments are closed.