The decision by developers Panic to make their Audion music player/editor available for free sparked a lot of interest when it was announced last week.
Audion has been, and remains, an excellent little app for playing and managing music. As Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser explained in a manner unusual for any business owner, Audion came this close to becoming Apple’s iTunes. But SoundJam became iTunes instead, and with iTunes so dominant, Audion simply can’t compete in any meaningful way.
But you still need Audion on your hard disk. Now that it’s available for free, you have nothing to lose, but there is a good practical reason for downloading it.
This comes from my own personal experience. I’m still using a trusty old dual USB G3 iBook, a machine that impressed me with its 20GB hard disk when I bought it about two or three years ago. Today, that hard disk is seriously overcrowded and every megabyte counts. I can’t afford to have my disk getting cluttered up with music that might be interesting, but is not actually worth keeping.
Now one of the problems with iTunes is that it doesn’t let you simply play an existing song. Download an mp3 file, double-click it, and iTunes imports it. This means making a copy of an already perfectly usable file; more disk clutter. Call me fussy if you like, but that bothers me.
The simplest way round this is to use the Finder’s built-in preview function to playback a file, but this brings its own problem. Try to do any other common tasks with the Finder while this is happening, and you’ll find them very slow. At least, that’s what happens on my creaky old G3.
Audion provides that simple drag-a-file-and-play-it functionality that iTunes lacks. If, like me, you like to listen to new music but might not want to keep it, or like to listen to radio programmes but have no need of keeping them afterwards, it’s an ideal and very useful little tool to have around.
What are your thoughts on the Audion story?