MPD + Quicksilver on OS X
I don’t know about you, but I let iTunes manage my music on Mac OS X and have done so for years, since when it was only kind of bloated and annoying instead of incredibly bloated and annoying like it is now. So even though iTunes itself is kind of awful at this point, all my music is organized the way iTunes likes to organize it, and most options for buying music have iTunes integration. iTunes is and has always been the path of least resistance for music management on a Mac.
But I don’t like using iTunes to play music anymore. Hell, I don’t even like to have it open most of the time, if I can avoid it. So I use mpd to play music instead. It stands for music player daemon and it’s just a process that runs constantly in the background and plays music when you ask it to. It’s not very user-friendly out of the box. With the help of the venerable and surprisingly still actually alive Quicksilver, I was able to make it more convenient and user-friendly. I set up a Git repository containing the helpers I used to set this up.
My music playing needs are pretty minimal but I like to have them streamlined. Here’s what this setup can do in one keystroke:
- Search and play albums that iTunes knows about using Quicksilver’s fuzzy searching
- Get the name of the song being played
- Manage playback using media keys on a standard Apple keyboard
Unfortunately this path is not for the faint of heart. You should be comfortable with a terminal for it. At many points while setting it up I got the feeling I was continuing to work on it more out of sheer cussedness than because I thought it would ultimately be worth the time I was putting in. But now that I’ve blazed the trail maybe it will work a little better for you. Many of the difficulties stemmed from figuring out which dark corners of Quicksilver actually work as they’re supposed to, so hopefully those won’t cause you the same difficulty.