Musictube – YouTube Music in Playlist Mode

good
key review info
  • Application: Musictube 1.2.1
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
application features
  • Play full albums or even discographies of millions of artists present on YouTube.
  • (2 more, see all...)

For some time now, YouTube has become the place to go whenever you want to listen to music with no strings attached. Musictube pushes things further by allowing you to create your own playlists without using a YouTube account.

Usually, if you want to listen to music on YouTube without wasting time browsing through videos, you can opt for other users' playlists. The downside is that you cannot eliminate certain songs or rearrange them.

Of course, you can always create your own playlists, but this means that you have to log in to your account and then spend time arranging songs in an order that most definitely will not always suite your mood.

Furthermore, to make changes and adjustments you have to go through the same process all over again: it really does make you think twice if you shouldn’t just carry that USB or music player with you anyway.

Musictube is designed to put a stop to this hustle: it allows you to search, arrange in playlists and listen to music hosted on YouTube, without needing an account or a predefined playlist.

The Looks

Musictube looks very much like your average music player: the top and bottom toolbars contain basic track management buttons, while the middle area allows you to search and add content to your playlist.

The search area will automatically make room for the playlist tab as soon as you start looking for tracks, but it also adds three new panels that will help you manage the results. In the end, the songs that match your query are organized by album and their metadata is displayed in the 'Info' panel. The 'Versions' tab is listing different recordings for the song that is currently playing.

All in all, Musictube makes good use of the available space while keeping up with the Mountain Lion design (comes with full screen support). The additional panels that open up once you actually start using the app integrate naturally in the big picture.

The Works

Since Musictube is based on YouTube content, the included search capabilities are very important: this is how you can reach the music shared by users. Unfortunately, there is no documentation to let you know how these results are gathered or how you could refine the search (granted, separating multiple terms by a comma does the trick, if you are inspired enough to try).

The tracks seem to be organized by album or artist, but, in some instances, the results list also included single tracks. As far as I can tell, the albums thumbnail displays their cover art, while the single tracks display a musical note. You will notice that each entry in the results list will reveal a Play button on mouse over: if you press it, the entire album will be added to your playlist (or you could drag and drop it in the Playlist area).

On the other hand, if you double click on the thumbnail’s bottom strip, you will be able to browse the album content and add only certain tracks to the playlist. Sending tracks to your playlist tab can be achieved in various ways: by pressing the entry’s Play button (regardless if it is a track or an album), by double clicking the bottom strip, or via a simple drag and drop.

In the Playlist tab, you can view the track number within the album, the track name and length. The entries can be rearranged using drag and drop and you can start listening to a certain song by double clicking it.

The problem is that specific errors or “annoyances” occur quite regularly. Certain albums do not have a complete metadata but are listed; as a result, although you cannot even see the track details or names, you can add them to your Playlist tab. At the other end, certain tracks that are included in the album metadata, being listed and included in your playlist, turn out to be unreachable. Moreover, be careful not to give too many commands one after the other because the application will freeze and crash.

Once you are past the playlist set up, things run quite smoothly. In the Info tab, you can view the lyrics and album metadata for the current track, while the Versions tab allows you to find different recordings for the same song. Notice that on the bottom toolbar there is a button which allows you to switch between Live, Cover and Studio recordings.

You can also view the video content in a small thumbnail at the bottom of the Playlist tab: you can toggle it via the Video button (click the thumbnail to switch to full screen mode or press Command + B). You can adjust the resolution from the Video menu. The same area contains the Shuffle, Repeat and Clear buttons (all in connection with the Playlist tab). To remove individual tracks, simply select the entry and press the Delete or Backspace key.

Musictube does not try to keep you away from your friends: you can open the YouTube page of the current track with a simple hotkey (Command + Y), copy the YouTube link to your clipboard (Command + U) or directly share the link via Twitter, Facebook or email. In addition, you can connect to your Last.fm account: once logged in, a Scrobbling button will be added in the bottom bar.

The Good

Musictube is great if you want to listen to YouTube music without worrying about the next track every 5 minutes, or taking the time to add playlists to your account. By performing searches within the app you can also find entire albums that have a quite extensive metadata.

The best part is that you can add, rearrange or remove tracks in no time, just like in a traditional audio player. Musictube does not offer you the possibility to save your playlists, but it does remember your last arrangement between sessions.

The Bad

Musictube’s workflow is intuitive enough, but the lack of any documentation is quite vexing when dealing with the search tool. The idea of browsing audio content by album is great, but it remains a mystery which type of YouTube posts can be found among the results.

Musictube does not react well to different consecutive commands, especially if the tracks are missing: the app freezes and ends up crashing (the time span between the freeze and the crash is quite long, so a quick restart gets things going faster).

At the same time, I believe it would have been useful if you could connect to your YouTube account and access your playlists without using yet another desktop client. In all cases, you should be able to save playlists, even if they only remain accessible within the application.

The Truth

Musictube proves a good ally against time wasting if you are willing to get passed its drawbacks: missing metadata, missing tracks, sometime confusing search results and frequent crashes, if your commands are too rash. Musictube is also useful if you want to research your favorite artists and listen to entire albums.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 4
features 3
ease of use 4
pricing / value 3


final rating 3
Editor's review
good
 
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