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Can’t find a particular song on Spotify or Rdio? Try Atraci, a Windows, Mac and Linux music player powered by YouTube. With it you can stream over 60 million songs – Spotify offers “over 20 million” songs. There are no ads, and no need to sign up for an account.

When it comes to streaming services, there’s a lot of choice out there. We’ve already compared Spotify and Rdio Spotify vs. Rdio: A Complete Comparison Spotify vs. Rdio: A Complete Comparison I recently cancelled my Spotify Premium membership after a year of uninterrupted monthly payments to the company. This decision came about when I accidentally signed up for 14-days of free Rdio Unlimited. Quite frankly, I... Read More , frequently considered the two best commercial options. These subscriptions services both provide ad-supported free versions, but some find their musical offerings to be limited.

If that’s the case for you, check out Atraci. This app uses YouTube as the main source for its music, which hardly makes it unique – we outlined four simply YouTube music players 4 Simple YouTube Music Players For A Swim In The Stream Of Free Music 4 Simple YouTube Music Players For A Swim In The Stream Of Free Music YouTube is an unlimited source of restriction-free music anyone in the world can listen to. While it's easy enough to find and listen to it on YouTube itself, there are other, easier ways. Read More earlier this year. But Atraci just might be better than all of them, because of its focus on the user experience. The interface is beautiful, and finding the music you want is simple thanks to accurate metadata.

Playing Any Song

Open Atraci and you’ll be presented with a playlist of currently popular songs.

atraci-main

Simply click a song to play it. If there is an accompanying music video, you’ll see it at bottom-left – otherwise you’ll see album art.

Not sure what to listen to? There’s also a featured artist function, which provides a playlist and information about a particular artist.atraci-featured

Of course, this being a streaming service, you probably have a good idea of what you want. Start typing an artist and you’ll see results quickly.

atraci-search

Click any of these albums to play them, or search for an artist to see an overview of their work.

atraci-search-results

Album art and track information comes from iTunes, Last.fm and Soundcloud –YouTube provides the actual streams. Atraci claims to provide the highest-quality version of a given song available on the service, but this sometimes leads to problems.

atraci-clearly-wrong

In this case I clearly got a video discussing the song instead of the song itself. Now, to be fair, the music video for this song wasn’t released on YouTube – and it’s possible there wasn’t version of the song on that site. But it’s odd to get a commentary about a song instead of the song itself.

That was the exception instead of the rule, however.

atraci-search-album

For the most part, finding an album is as simple as typing its name. You’ll see an overview of the tracks, and you can start listening with a single click.

atraci-album-view

I really enjoyed seeing music videos pop up for some songs, and a button lets you expand the video if you want to watch.

atraci-playing

Playback was smoother than YouTube itself, suggesting to me that Atraci is not using Flash. The result looked great on my machine, so enjoy.

Wait, Is This Legal?

This is a difficult question to unpack. 60 million songs have been uploaded to YouTube, but in many cases (not all, but many) it’s not the actual artist who uploaded the tracks – meaning many of the tracks Atraci plays are unauthorized uploads. While it’s not illegal for you to listen to unauthorized tracks, it is illegal for those tracks to have been uploaded in the first place.

Basically, Atraci lets you listen to songs in a way that doesn’t really benefit the artist.

Atraci does not allow you to download songs – it only lets you play them. It’s also not a peer to peer service, meaning you are not helping to distribute files illegally by using it. All it does is let you stream music YouTube provides to its users, regardless of whether it should be doing so.

So is using Atraci illegal? No. Does doing so support the artists you love? Not at all. If you love an album, buy it.

Is There Something Better?

As I’ve said before: Atraci is not the only service that turns the music you can find on YouTube into something resembling a streaming service. In my opinion, however, it does the best job – you’ll completely forget you’re using a service that’s scraping YouTube to find music.

There are lots of ways to play YouTube music on your desktop – you can, for example, play entire YouTube playlists in VLC Watch Entire YouTube Playlists In VLC, Here's How Watch Entire YouTube Playlists In VLC, Here's How Do you love YouTube playlists, but wish you could watch them outside your browser? You can use VLC for the job, thanks to a simple extension. Here’s how. Read More . But if you want something that’s easy to use, and makes finding music easy, try Atraci.

But maybe you know of an even better tool for the job – awesome! Point it out below.

  1. Jessica C
    July 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    What would you consider the key differences between Atraci and Grooveshark?

    • Justin P
      July 29, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      This is a desktop program with, in my opinion, a much nicer user interface. The selection is also a little better.

      On an unrelated note: I have no idea how Grooveshark is still operating – they've been charged with copyright violation so many times.

  2. Joseph S
    July 28, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Is it my connection or the app does not play songs? Anyone?

    • Justin P
      July 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      It works for a few songs, but nothing hosted on Vevo is my theory. Weirdness...

  3. DonGateley
    July 27, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I think its reliance on a YouTube API makes it highly vulnerable to being shut off as it seems to have been.

    Again, it would be really cool if we had thread addition notification by email here. Being open loop really limits the usefulness of a comment section. I'd like to follow this thread, for example, by email notification to see if there is any news about Atraci working again.

    • Justin P
      July 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      I'll forward this suggestion on to our dev guys, but will also try to alert you when things are working again.

  4. qpease
    July 27, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Got the same here: Nice look, but no music. Great idea though. Better luck in the next version.

    • Justin P
      July 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Yeah, here's hoping they get it working. It's pretty hit or miss right now, though it was working well when the article went out. My fault?

  5. tide111
    July 27, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Installed it on my imac. No music I selected would play. Maybe the RIAA got to it sooner than Matthew H predicted.

    • Justin P
      July 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Yeah, it seems like the mainstream stuff is having trouble but search for something a bit more obscure and it works. My theory is Vevo is involved.

  6. Matthew H
    July 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Interesting stuff! I give it 5 days before the RIAA shuts it down.

    • Justin P
      July 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      You can't stop the signal, dude.

  7. Shawn Rosvold
    July 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Great idea. But none of the music would load or play for me. Time to uninstall.

    • Justin P
      July 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Yeah, I'm getting mixed results. I think Vevo has been blocked, hope the team is working on a workaround.

  8. Collin R
    July 27, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Pretty nice concept, and it is indeed beautiful and fairly easily too use and navigate :)

  9. Anor Neto
    July 26, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    nice program,
    thanks for the tip!

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