Instinctiv – An Alternative Music Player For The Mac

Jeffry Thurana 11-05-2010

mac music playerWhen it comes to a music player in Mac, iTunes is the default choice. With the advantage of being the leader, Apple has made iTunes so good and so full featured that it’s extremely difficult for other Mac music players to catch up.


Not only does iTunes gives its users superb sound quality, it’s also the official synchronizer between users’ music (and movie) library and iGadgets (iPods, iPhones and iPads). Add the iTunes Store to the equation and you have Mac music player that no developer with a normal mind has the nerve to compete against.

But I guess the word “normal’ in not in the dictionary of the developer of [NO LONGER WORKS] Instinctive, a brand new music (only) player for Mac (and soon for every other platform). They’ve just sent their baby to fight the giant.

Use Your Instinct

Despite all of its greatness, iTunes is not without flaws. One of its strongest points is also its major weakness: iPods might be the most popular media player out there, but that doesn’t mean that everybody has one. How should people synchronize their library to other gadgets?

And even though Apple has designed the interface to be as streamlined and as user friendly as possible, some people still think that it’s a bit crowded.

mac music player


If a Mac music player wants to survive in a world dominated by iTunes, it should come with unique personalities that people can’t find in iTunes. Instinctiv does just that. It tries to fill the holes left by iTunes flaws. Aside from being a minimalist music player, it also offers a “synchronization to (almost) any device” feature. And as a bonus, Instinctive is also a social music player.

Even though the synchronization feature is saved for the next discussion, other features are on today’s menu.

After the routine download and install process, you can start using the app. The first thing that you will notice is that the interface is nothing like iTunes. There are only two simple panes: the small functions pane on the left and the bigger list pane on the right.

mac music player


The app will automatically read and display the content of your iTunes music library. You can browse and play the tunes from there.

Another way of navigating through the songs is to use the search function. Choose “Search” on the left pane and write down the search string(s). Click on the result to start playing.

free mac music player

To go back to your previous action, use the navigation function on the upper toolbar. It behaves like the back button on a browser. There’s also a Play/Pause button – along with fast forward and backward on the lower bar.


free mac music player

I also noticed something else while playing my songs using Instinctiv: it automatically adds cover art to most of the songs that don’t have one. Nice.

Three Shuffles A Day Keeps The Tickets Away

Next feature is the “Shuffle“. Click the icon on the left pane and Instinctiv will give you three different ways of shuffling: Instinctive Shuffle, Play songs similar to…, and Random Shuffle.

free mac music player


After trying all three, I am honestly confused. I can’t tell the difference between Instinctiv Shuffle and Random Shuffle. Both options only play random songs. The “Play songs similar to…” option also did nothing but playing random songs.

I wonder what really (and what should have) happened behind the curtain. Maybe the confusion is caused by the app that is still buggy, maybe my song list is not big enough, or maybe the app simply needs time to learn. I might’ve missed something here. If anybody can enlighten us, feel free to use the comments below.

Update from Instinctiv: “Regarding shuffle: we have 3 shuffle modes, a) Instinctiv shuffle – which is a smart, mood-based shuffle which takes into account your listening behavior and uses our recommendation algorithms to suggest smart playlists to you (if there is a song you don’t like, just skip until you find a mood that suites you), b) Seeded shuffle – which takes a song in your library and plays continuously based on your mood, c) random shuffle = shuffle that is just random tracks from your library.

I also found out that the “Tickets” feature is still not working (at least not for me). I clicked on the icon and I got a blank pane with a non-functional search bar.

The Face, The Book & The Tweet

One feature that I think will make many users happy is the ability to tweet and to update your Facebook status with the currently playing song.

If you play a song, you will see two small but familiar blue icons on the bottom right of the Instinctiv window. You can click on them to let the magic happen.

music player for mac

But before you can utilize the social feature, you have to make some modifications in the Preferences. Open the “Preferences” window (“Instinctiv – Preferences” menu or “Command + Comma“) and click the Twitter tab. Fill in the necessary data and close the Preferences.

08 Instinctiv Preferences - Social.jpg

Then every time you click on those social buttons, this will happen:

music player for mac

And that’s the first part of our discussion about the Instinctiv Mac music player. Tune in for the second one where we look at the synchronization feature.

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  1. Ol' War Paint
    June 23, 2010 at 3:38 am

    I'd be interested in some performance/memory comparisons. iTunes and it's sneaky lil helper app sometimes seem to hog resources. Does Instinctiv have a smaller resource footprint?

  2. Dagaza
    May 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Seriously? This is supposed to compete with iTunes? I can't see it happening, from what I've seen it isn't even close to iTunes, however it does have a nice clean interface.

  3. Dan Sitter
    May 11, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    This looks like a pretty sweet alternative to i-Domination of Macs and all that goes with it. I'm excited to see if it will allow for my Android to sync up with this, as I'll wait until you guys tell me how it works. LOVE this site by the way. I find so many uses from you guys as a teacher it makes my life so much easier.