MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All-In-One Music Manager [Windows]

MusicBeeLogo   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows] What do you use to manage your music library? iTunes certainly is the popular choice, even on Windows. There are other options like Winamp, Songbird, Mediamonkey and Foobar just to name a few. I’ve used many of them and used to be a huge MediaMonkey fan. But I grew tired of MediaMonkey and wanted to find something new and better.

That’s when I stumbled across MusicBee — a powerful, but easy-to-use media player for your music. What attracted me to it was that it was something new (or at least new to me). What kept me, though, were the impressive features.

Playing Your Music

MusicBee has some great features to add into your music listening experience. What’s great about so many of it’s features is that it has them already without the need of installing plug-ins. First off, it connects directly with Last.fm so you can scrobble all of your music — which is very nice. Lyrics and album art come naturally to MusicBee. It has several different ways to display the song information, album art and lyrics, and I encourage you to explore them. Below are a couple of different set up options you can have.

In this view, the artist information, Now Playing and lyrics are displayed on the right side panel.

MusicBee   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

You can see in the view below that the artist information, along with lyrics and multiple links to the music online, are displayed in a single pane at the bottom of the media player.

MusicBee Artist Information on Bottom   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

As you can see, MusicBee gives you a ton of options, but in an interface that doesn’t make it overwhelming or confusing to use.

MusicBee supports all major music formats as well as conversion between them. You can automatically populate the Now Playing queue using rules from a tool called Auto DJ. You can also find new music right within MusicBee by setting Auto DJ to stream similar artists from Last.fm

MusicBee AutoDJ   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

It’s very easy to build your own playlists within MusicBee. You can also create auto-playlists and radio-style playlists. If you use a specific program, even like iTunes, to listen to your podcasts, MusicBee now covers that as well and automatically downloads any new episodes. There is access directly in the media player which allows you to connect to online radio stations and save your favorites.

Another feature that I was impressed by was the cataloging of Audiobooks within MusicBee. Not just that it can separate them from your other music, but it will remember where you left off and will pick up in the same place next time you want to listen. And just like audiobooks, podcasts and radio stations are kept separate from your music library.

Tagging and Managing Your Music

Tagging within MusicBee is a breeze. You can automatically organize library file names and structure, store new music in the Inbox until it is properly tagged, manage duplicates and create custom tags. MusicBee has an extensive tag editor and tag inspector that allows you to edit and view all tags. You can also filter the library to show different sections by specific criteria that you create. There is also an option to save custom searches when looking for tracks.

MusicBee Tagging   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

MusicBee has a unique tool that actually “listens” to the song to identify and tag it. It’s not flawless, but it works pretty good. Of course you can search for and download the appropriate album artwork as well. MusicBee also includes the capability to view upcoming album releases and concerts as well as accessing popular music blogs and stream new music directly in their feeds within MusicBee.

Get Social With Your Media Player

MusicBee Artist Information on Bottom Last.fm    MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

We’ve already discussed that MusicBee can scrobble to Last.fm, but with the Facebook app, Last.fm Scrobbler, you can also share what you listen to in MusicBee to your Facebook timeline. What’s posted is displayed in the “ticker” under “Recent Activity,” just like Spotify.

Last.fm Scrobbler Facebook   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

Go Partyin’ With Your Tunes

So you took your laptop to a friend’s party so you can listen to music and while you weren’t looking, some jerk messed with your computer. That wouldn’t have happened with MusicBee as it has a “lock” function that requires a set password to open.

MusicBee Lockdown options   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

This is great for parties, also if there’s kids in the house. Contrary to other media players with a similar function, the lock feature still allows guests to browse for and play music, but blocks access to settings within the media player as well as any access to your computer.

MusicBee View Menue Unlock   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

Sync and Rip Your Music

We’re constantly going places, so being able to access our music anywhere is a must. With MusicBee, you can easily synchronize your music to your mobile device. Whether you’re syncing to Android or iOS, MusicBee can do it. It also provides secure and accurate CD ripping and file conversion. MusicBee imports from iTunes and Windows Media Player and can monitor folders on your computer for new files added — so you’ll always have the most updated music in your library.

MusicBee Rip CD   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

And don’t hate for the CD in the screen shot — it was the only CD I had with me that wasn’t in my car at the time.

Customize Your Experience Even More

I’ve already showed you some of the views that MusicBee can display, but there are many other skins and plugins available. Yes, plugins to do even more with MusicBee. What surprised me about it was that since installing it is that I haven’t needed any additional features (unlike most other media players) — it works and offers a plethora of features right out of the “box.”

MusicBee “Theater Mode”

MusicBee Theater Mode   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

Speaking of plugins, if you’re familiar with MiniLyrics or Subsonic, MusicBee supports both of those.

There are also options to switch from the Main Player to the Mini Player or Compact modes.

Mini Player

MusicBee Mini Player View   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

Compact Player

MusicBee Compact Player View   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

Although I think both of these views are very nice, I feel they are oddly named as the compact version is larger than the mini version. But once your used to it, it’s not an issue.

Another way to control the media player is right on the Windows Task Bar. What’s impressive here is that it’s not just the basic play/pause, next and previous controls, but it also includes up and down ratings as well as a “heart,” or a favorite, button for Last.fm.

MusicBee Start Bar   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

More Advanced Options For Your Music

MusicBee has a ton of awesome features for everyone from the less-organized music fans, to the crazy, every-file-must-be-organized-correctly music fanatics, myself being one of them. Tools such as the 5-band Spectrum Visualizer, Smart Crossfade, Gapless Playback, 10-band Equalizer are going to satisfy even the biggest audiophiles since there is no need for any additional software. Below is the window for analyzing track volume.

MusicBee Analyze Volume   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

Portability — Run MusicBee On Your Portable Device

MusicBee offers an executable file to download and run without any installation needed. This is excellent if you want to take all of your music with you or just manage some of your tunes on a portable hard drive or flash drive. It’s also nice if you prefer to skip the installation process on your computer and just run the executable.

MusicBee Website Portable   MusicBee: Your Powerful, Yet Simple, All In One Music Manager [Windows]

Conclusion

I’ve just barely touched the tip of the ice berg on what MusicBee can do and the preferences that are available to you. However, I hope that this has helped you get started and built up some confidence to explore the program. You may feel a tad bit overwhelmed reading all of this, but once you download the program, you’ll find that it’s naturally very easy to use and there’s a very small learning curve. However, there honestly could be an entire guide written on the program, which speaking of guides, be sure to check out The Internet Music Guide For The Audiophile.

What programs have you tried to manage your music with? Do you use MusicBee? If so, what tips and tricks do you have to share? If this is your first time hearing about MusicBee, will you switch from what you’re currently using to listen to your music?

You can download MusicBee, only available for Windows, for free.

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41 Comments -

1 votes

Lambvolution

i’ve bee already use aimp3 for my music collection..but music bee like interesting, maybe i will try this application

1 votes

Aaron Couch

You should! If you do, feel free to give me feedback on what you think of it.

Thanks for reading!

0 votes

Lambvolution

finishing intalled…btw do you know how to automatically add music to library/playlist/now playing when i click it? i try but when i click it, my files is replacing the old files and not add it.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Where are you clicking the file? Within MusicBee or in Windows Explorer?

Are you wanting to automatically import all your music into your library? I guess I’m not 100% certain what you’re asking.

1 votes

Tug Ricks

I used to use Media Monkey, but after getting tired of them always prompting me to upgrade to their paid service, I started looking around at the other options. I settled on MusicBee because of its simple interface and how easily it manages the duplicates in my music collection.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Tug,

I agree 100% and really those are the same reasons I switched. I liked Media Monkey, but something about it bugged me. I even had the pro version, which I switched to MusicBee from. It’s just better I think.

Thanks for reading!

0 votes

DivinoAG

I’ve been looking forever with a media player to replace Winamp, specifically something that have the one feature iTunes has and apparently no one else: Shuffle by Album.

MusicBee has it, and has pretty much everything else I want aside from simple music playing: lyrics, auto-tagging, solid library ordering features. I’m really impressed. Thanks a lot for this recommendation, I’m sold.

0 votes

Tug Ricks

MusicBee is like Goldilocks for me. iTunes is too bloated, and Winamp is too minimal, but MusicBee is just right.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Couldn’t agree more Tug!

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Glad you like it man! It really has me sold as well. I’m somewhat surprised it’s not more popular in some ways. It’s been featured on several tech blogs, but still isn’t “well known” if you know what I mean.

Hope it works out for you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to help!

0 votes

DivinoAG

I do have one question. I think there is only one feature I’m missing from Winamp, which is a good volume auto-adjust. I know I can use the Volume Analysis feature to include ReplayGain metadata into my files, but on Winamp I additionally used the DSP plugin RockSteady to keep the overall volume of songs all the same.

I have seen the option to import DSP plugins from Winamp, but after using it for these past few days, I don’t think it’s doing anything. Is using ReplayGain my only option here, or do you know of any way to make this work?

Additionally, do you know of a good Android remote control app for MusicBee?

Thanks again for the recommendation.

0 votes
0 votes

Toxteth

MusicBee is great with the one exception that it doesn’t play well with the ipod classic. Hopefully they’ll get that sorted out one day.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Hmm… has the team confirmed this? Or have you talked to them or anyone on the MusicBee forum about your problem?

0 votes

Toxteth

I posted on the forums and it seems like there’s no fix coming soon. I was advised to stay with Mediamonkey if iPod sync was important. I’ve been using both (MM for syncing, MB for playing) but it’s not ideal. I really do like MB, though.

0 votes
1 votes

Kelly Buchanan

I will be trying this. I’ve been using MediaMonkey but have been looking for something else.

1 votes

Aaron Couch

Glad this was a help to you Kelly! You seem to be in a similar situation that I was in. Media Monkey is great, really… but MusicBee just makes sense to me! I don’t really know how to describe it, but it’s just better. Plain and simple.

Thanks for reading by the way. If you have any questions, just let me know!

0 votes

dspang

I was using Mediamonkey for the longest time now. Then they upgraded to 4 and it became so so unstable on my computer. Then MusicBee came along. Been very happy with it for quite some time now.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Yeah same here. Honestly, I was in love with the theme that I had for MediaMonkey… and then it updated and screwed the theme up. It wasn’t the main deciding factor, I just switched to a different theme, but it definitely was one that made me look for other options.

Thanks for reading!

0 votes

tarzan2001

I discovered MusicBee a few months ago for tagging my music collection. I find it to be quite reliable, and easy to use. I previously used the program MPTagThat. It was also a good program, but complete tagging required many steps, whereas in MusicBee you just check off which properties of the music file you want updated, and it does it all in one go! Of course, no tagging software is perfect, and I have encountered several errors–including one instance of a song’s album art being replaced with a picture of some random fish tank! :P lol. The program I use as my primary music player, however, is foobar2000. It’s lightweight and very quick to load, which comes in handy when you just want to listen to a quick tune, without needing all the extra features of a program like MusicBee. Foobar2000 is quite customizable too, though the only add-on I’ve installed so far is for the ability to display lyrics.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Tarzan,

Haha… a fish tank… love it! I love it because I can relate.

I’ve tried Foobar2000 some. Perhaps I should look into it again. What I use to play quick tunes, as you described, is VLC. The same advantages you described in Foobar, I have chosen VLC for. Because although having a full-featured media library to organize all your tunes is nice, sometimes you just want to quickly play a tune and not worry about everything else.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

1 votes

Saikat Basu

Just installed it. Liking it so far. So far I have definitely found it to be a speedier, lighter-weight alternative to Windows Media Player.

1 votes

Aaron Couch

Saikat,

Glad you like it! I love it and you’re right it’s certainly faster than WMP. I’ve actually found it quicker to load than MediaMonkey and several other programs similar to it.

0 votes

Tyler

I love MusicBee! The only reason i keep iTunes around is to sync my iPhone.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Tyler, I believe MusicBee does work with the iPhone. However, you probably still want to sync apps to it, which MusicBee obviously can’t do.

0 votes

Tyler

Yeah, and when I did try to sync my iPhone it told me i had to downgrade my iOS to 3.x, and I love 5.0 too much to do that

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Oh bummer. Well keep checking back on the MusicBee forums. It seems like there are a lot of fixes for those sort of things.

0 votes

Djordje Djoric

This app rocks! I first stumbled upon it few years ago when i got the ipod shuffle. Don’t like apple but got it for as a gift, and everybody likes free stuff :) Anyway, i looked for a good music manager that can manage my ipod without deleting my music from it when i change the computer i’m using like that pesky itunes… I was tired of WInamp and it’s memory impact and soundbird wasn’t my kind either. Then i found Musicbee and boy i was amazed. I recommend to anyone who has a big collection of music.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

Djordje,

That’s awesome! Way to look for an alternative instead of just settling for iTunes.

I have used Winamp some… enough to make me not like it and wonder why it’s so popular. I honestly think MusicBee is the best music manager available.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

0 votes

Djordje Djoric

I agree about MusicBee being the best manager. Tried many others after it for comparison reasons only but none was competetive.

I think winamp is popular cause it was the first that got out of it’s kind and for free, and you know what they say about old habbits :) It’s obsolete as far as i’m concerned.

Regards and keep up the good work, i love this website ;)

1 votes

Aaron Couch

That makes perfect sense. Most people don’t like change… even when it’s good.

And thanks! Your support is what makes writing so enjoyable!

0 votes

Andyincountry

Is it possible to print off a full list of the songs in your library? If so how?
This is a very nice player, doesn’t lag or freeze up.

0 votes

Aaron Couch

I’ve been looking into this the past few days Andy and I haven’t found anything that shows how to do that. If I do find anything, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Thanks for reading and I’m glad you like MusicBee!

0 votes

paq

In MusicBee, select all files in your library, right-click and choose Send To > Clipboard. Paste wherever you want it.

You can customize the format of what you copy in Preferences > Tags (2) > tag handling > ‘send to clipboard’ tags:

0 votes

Fredrick Ouma

i have been using winamp but i see the difference .this is cool

0 votes

Vishal Mishra

It is really great. I use it with MiniLyrics.

0 votes

PaulR

I too love this program… had issues with bugs such as using the wrong album art. This software combines the best of itunes and media monkey into one simple and easy to use music app. It just does it all.. what a great program. Far as I can tell it was created by one developer, which may be why it’s not well known or more popular. MusicBee 2.0 beta is out now as well, but haven’t installed yet.

0 votes

Michael H

I spent about half a day messing around with it. At first, I thought I was going to be great. It is definitely full of options and features. Many of which I really need. I think the interface might have too many sub-menus and different ways to accomplish the same thing though. That doesn’t make for a quick transition.

Tagging in MB is good but finding album information is not easy at all. Especially with soundtracks and compilations. I guess you have to pay to get the good stuff (meta data that is). Personally, I add too many albums to trade this for all the other nice features.

I’ll just have to keep using WMP to browse and play, MP3Tag to standardize tags and filenames, and Foobar to convert.

MB definitely has the most potential at of all the media players I have tried (too many to count), so I will be keep an eye on the updates.

0 votes

Matjaz Mirt

Using it few years (2, 3 I don’t know). And it still positively surprise me. A week ago I was searching for tool to copy Artist tag to Album Artist tag if it’s empty (for Google Music of course). And searching through web I found solution. In Music Bee. Only to download plugin. It really rocks!

0 votes

bert

Nowhere can I find how to create a playlist on MusicBee, I’ve been looking all over and can’t find any info. I’m an old fuddy duddy with little knowledge of hoe this things work, so I’m going to need much help. Would you please help me? Thanks for your attention.