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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, 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 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.
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.
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.
Click any of these albums to play them, or search for an artist to see an overview of their work.
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.
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.
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.
I really enjoyed seeing music videos pop up for some songs, and a button lets you expand the video if you want to watch.
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. 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.