Tag Archives: review

Why is Clementine my favourite music player?

9 Apr

Everyone complains about how many different music players are available for Linux. Some people say that developers should join forces and make the best music player ever. But choice is amazing, competition is often stimulating, and defining the best one depends on what each user is looking for.

I can safely say that I haven’t tested even a twentieth of the available full-featured music players.

In the open-source world, I have tried Banshee, Rhythmbox, Amarok, Exaile, Audacious. In a different world, I also have used Winamp and – I dare say – iTunes and Windows Media Player (eeek). But I have been using Clementine for quite a long time, and I do not feel the need to look anywhere else anymore.

Clementine started its life as an Amarok 1.4 fork, with a first release in February 2010, and at the time of writing, the player has reached version 1.2.2.

Following an extremely trendy format, here is the list of main reasons why you should give it a go and be happy forever – according to moi. It is in no way ordered, so do not worry about those numbers!

1. Fade-out

Something I have never seen anywhere else is a lovely fade-out when a song is stopped or when the player is closed. How sensible is that!

You can of course customise this the way you want:

Clementine's fade-ins and fade-outs are highly customisable.

Clementine’s fade-ins and fade-outs are highly customisable.

You can get rid of all the “fades”, or you can make Clementine fade out when you pause a song, and chose how long for. You can even cross-fade between tracks for a smoother playlist.

2. Open source

Of course, I wouldn’t even go for a closed source music player. The choice of open-source music players available doesn’t even let you justify looking anywhere else.

Clementine’s development is hosted on GitHub.

Clementine's source is available on GitHub

Clementine’s source is available on GitHub


3. Cross-platform

Open source software is not just for Linux. The Clementine project does an amazing job at making their software available to most music lovers, independently of the platform they use. Just have a look at all the download options they offer:

Download options on the Clementine website

Download options on the Clementine website

So, if you use different operating systems on different machines, you can at least play music the same way.

4. Desktop integration

At least for Ubuntu, Clementine is very nicely integrated in the environment. An indicator is visible in the top panel, and changes depending on the state of the playback. A notification bubble appears when the track changes and gives you all the information you need.

Clementine is also controllable from the sound menu, with the option to chose from your playlists straight away.

And if this isn’t enough, you can also control it from the launcher with a simple right click.

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 5. The developers are cool!

I like software even more when the humans behind it are great people. Obviously, the fact that Clementine is open source makes them score quite a few points already. But I generally want to find out if I can contribute financially to my favourite projects. Here is what the website says on that particular topic:

What the website says if you want to contribute money to the project... :)

What the website says if you want to contribute money to the project… :)

I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of things that make me believe in humans.

6. Not too heavy

To tell you the truth, I am not exactly sure what is heavy and what is not, but at about 60 mb of RAM, I feel like Clementine playing a song is not too much of a weight on my system, on par with Nautilus and way under Firefox, Thunderbird and Chrome.

How does Clementine compare in memory usage?

How does Clementine compare in memory usage?

The download for an Ubuntu 13.10 64 bits system is just 7.2 mb at the time of writing.

7. Lots of music providers

List of Clementine 1.2 providers

List of Clementine 1.2 providers

Clementine bundles more than 20 sources for music, from open license music website Jamendo to your music stored in your Dropbox or your Google Drive, as well as several radio station providers and streaming giants Spotify and Grooveshark.

A few of those providers require that you own a premium account to use them, but there is enough choice to please everyone.

Nota bene: following the news of Ubuntu One closing down in June 2014, the Ubuntu One provider has already been removed from master.

8. Artist and song info

You can also click on the Artist info tab to get to know lots about whoever you are playing, see photos, discover similar artists and read about their history.

Wikipedia provides the biography by default, but if you scroll down, you will be able to chose from 9 other providers, including LastFM and Discogs.

The Song info tab, on the other hand, gives you LastFM stats and the lyrics from three different providers.

Clementine 1.2 Artist info tab. You can select a photo to have a closer look at it.

Clementine 1.2 Artist info tab. You can select a photo to have a closer look at it.

 9. Tag your collection properly

MusicBrainz is one of my favourite open data project. It is a well-built database about music, so humans can read it like and encyclopaedia, and so robots can use it.

I am of course delighted to see that Clementine uses MusicBrainz for its tagging functionalities. It is now even easier to have your collection properly tagged, as you can let Clementine automatically look through MusicBrainz for you!

MusicBrainz tagger in Clementine 1.2

MusicBrainz tagger in Clementine 1.2

10. Remote control

One of the latest additions to Clementine is its ability to be controlled from your Android phone thanks to Clementine Remote.

Clementine Remote on Google Play

Clementine Remote on Google Play

You can use your phone to browse your library, add songs to your playlist and change the volume, without having to go to your computer + stereo system.

∞. It gets better!

Of course, Clementine keeps getting developed, so it constantly gets better. One of the latest things I have notice on GitHub is the fact that we will soon be able to add our Soundcloud credentials into Clementine in order to have a look at our own tracks and subscriptions:

Soundcloud commit on GitHub

Soundcloud commit on GitHub

♥ Give it a go!

Head to the download page to try Clementine with your library, and see if it works for you.

Still not convinced? Have a look at this AlternativeTo page to find other open-source alternatives – surely you will find your favourite!

Cheers for reading!