Enrich Your iTunes Experience With GeekTool & TunesArt [Mac]

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00-TunesArt-logo.jpgI don’t think I need to give a long introduction to iTunes as many consider it to be the best digital music manager and player available today. MakeUseOf has even dedicated an entire PDF Manual for it: The BIG Book of iTunes.

But even the best will still have room for improvement. I was looking for a GeekTool script to display my “currently playing” song’s data on the desktop when I found TunesArt. After playing with the app for a while, I consider TunesArt as one of those must-have iTunes software downloads.

And combined with GeekTool, TunesArt would create a lovely and functional iTunes desktop.

Tunes at your finger tips

TunesArt is a menubar application that will do its job while sitting quietly in the background. If you click on it when iTunes is not active, you’ll have the option to turn on iTunes.

iTunes software downloads

And if iTunes is running, you’ll get full iTunes control and more right from the menubar; including the ability to set the song rating, option to display lyrics, title and artist of the currently playing song.

iTunes software downloads

One of the true strengths of TunesArt is the ability to assign shortcut key to various iTunes control. So, even if your fingers are busy typing your next best seller, you could tell iTunes to skip the track that you hate without even have to leave the word processor.

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To activate this ability, you have to go to TunesArt Preferences, and open the “Shortcuts” menu. Check the “Enable Hotkeys” option, and click in the shortcut fields to assign your preferred combination for each available control.

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The Preferences window gives you many other options to tinker with. From the General menu, you can choose whether iTunes will launch and quit along with TunesArt and whether you want to fetch lyrics from the net and attach it to the songs with no lyrics.

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On the eye-candy side, we have Cover Art and Notification menu. The Cover Art menu lets you choose which cover art style you want displayed on the desktop.

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Meanwhile, the Notification menu deals with how (and for how long) you want TunesArt to display notifications every time iTunes plays the next song. You can use TunesArt’s own notification, or Growl (or both).

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TunesArt notification will appear under the menubar icon.

cool itunes software

If you want to, you can activate the Last.fm feature that will connect you to Last.fm and send the list of songs you’ve listened to and recommend other songs based on the list.

itunes software

It’s obvious that you need to have a Last.fm account before you can use this feature.

Tunes on your desktop

TunesArt  is an iTunes software downloads that will place a cover art image of the playing song on your desktop. And if you activate the feature from Preferences – Cover Art, playback controls will appear everytime you hover your mouse near the cover art display.

The lyrics display is a nice addition for those who like to sing along. You could edit (and add) the words directly from this window. TunesArt also has a (supposedly) very nice feature to add lyrics to songs automatically from the internet. But from during my few days of trying the app, this feature was always non-functional.

itunes software

User could do a quick search of iTunes library via the search window and jump to the chosen song. Assuming that you have set the shortcut key combination, all the navigationa could be done without lifting a single finger from the keyboard.

geektool

The geek and the tune combo

As I mentioned at the beginning, I use TunesArt in conjunction with GeekTool script to display iTunes information. The duet is proven to work wonders in beautifying my desktop.

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The GeekTool script that I use is:

osascript -e ‘tell application “iTunes” to if player state is playing then get XXXXXX of current track’

where XXXXXX is one of the metadata of the song such as: name, artist, album, etc. You can get more metadata fields by referring to iTunes’ column headings.

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Please refer to my previous article about GeekTool on how to utilize the scripts.

Some drawbacks

Please note that you will not be able to close iTunes if you are using the above iTunes script in GeekTool. The script will keep on re-opening iTunes everytime you try to close it. This issue will not be a problem for those who always keep iTunes open. The possible solution is to put the scripts in a different group with other script so you could uncheck and deactivate them anytime without disturbing the rest of the scripts.

I’ve also mentioned one bug that I found in TunesArt — fetching lyrics. Maybe because it’s still in its beta version, the lyric searching feature of TunesArt is still not working. Hopefully the developer will fix this issue in the future release.

Personally, the drawbacks are minor issues. I found the GeekTool – TunesArt combination to be truly amazing – a great alternative to Bowtie in terms of appearance, and to GimmeSomeTunes (mentioned here) in terms of functionality.

Do you know other alternative iTunes software downloads to enrich your iTunes experience? Please share using the comment below.

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13 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

musc

hello,
is there any handy application who can delete the missing files in the iTunes library??

when you own above of 1000 songs, than it would be a real great thing.

Nite

I think this is what you are looking for..
dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/ss.php?sp=removedeadsuper

Reply

AndyK

Jeffrey,

I think Geektool iTunes Lyrics display is a very buggy script. If you simply want the Track – Artists to be displayed. I have written an article using Geektool on my blog here. I repeat, displaying the Track information is not buggy. Fetching the lyrics causes iTunes to relaunch.

http://andykashyap.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/desktop-of-the-month-october/

Also I think Quicksilver gives tremendous control of your iTunes. It’s quite sad that people don’t usually appreciate the brilliance of quicksilver and it’s versatility to handle iTunes. With a “Show current playing track” feature + Growl, you are good and well set as far as notifications of waht track is playing. With on the fly playlists+ triggers to search through albums, and a completely non-obtrusive display of tracks being played. You really don’t need anything.

If you have a completely cluttered music collection, you can download Pollux, to re-organize your mp3. For lyrics, as you mentioned Gimmesometune is awesome.

I tried TunesArt, the sad part, i feel it’s an extra menubar icon along with growl, quicksilver and gimmesometune, you dont need that :)

Thanks, I hoped this helped.

PS – You need to make a full article only on geektool. It’s difficult to scan through articles for scripts :)

Jeffry Thurana

Thanks for the input. So far, my approach to GeekTool is discussing it to accomplish one specific function at a time. A complete all in one script guide would be nice. I’ll put that subject in my list.

AndyK

Let me know if you need any help with gathering scripts. I have a few scripts on my blog. And also a text file where I have gathered scripts from across the internet. Have a look at the blog, or feel free to ask me if you need any data or scripts. It’s awesome reading your Mac articles. Thanks for writing regularly and maintaining the high quality of articles

Reply

Nite

The best software for finding and downloading lyrics is GimmeSomeTune. Very efficient! It does everything TunesArt does and a bit more. Try it out. It’s free (donationware I guess).

musc

thanks Nite,
but the application name you gave me is for updating lyrics.

i just need something who can delete errors in my library (old missing files)
iTunes detect delete or moved files, but iTunes not clean up the miss in the library

Reply

musc

thanks Nite,

but the application name you gave me is for updating lyrics.

i just need something who can delete errors in my library (old missing files)
iTunes detect delete or moved files, but iTunes not clean up the miss in the library

Reply

Nite

musc,
I had posted another message. But I think it hasn’t been updated yet. Anyways, go to the dougscripts website and search for the Super Remove Dead Tracks 2.1 script. That’s the one you want I guess.

musc

hello Nite

have found the “Super Remove Dead Tracks 2.1 script. ” on dougscripts.com

10000 x thanks for your big help :)

Reply

Question

Anyone found Geektool scripts for song and artist that DO NOT restart iTunes?

Jeffry Thurana

Haven’t tried it, but maybe this will help.

I’ve got the link from Andy’s blog above. Thanks Andy.

AndyK

Hey Jeffrey,

I had a small question regarding iTunes and backing up iTunes. Is it possible for you to email me a simple solution to backing up my iTunes music collection/playlist/ratings to an external portable drive (so that it is accessible to a Windows computer) without using Time machine? Also, I want to sync my regular \Music\iTunes folder with my External drive backup, so that whenever I buy music, it automatically backs up my music without me having to do it manually. Also, I want to play my music from my laptop and not from my HDD. So I don’t want to ‘move’ my collection buy just ‘copy’ it. So I am guessing consolidating my itunes collection is not an option.

Thanks a ton!

You can email me at andykashyap-at-gmail-daht-com

Thanks!

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