Music isn’t the most important thing on my Mac. I don’t store my entire collection on it, nor do I depend on computers for playing music at home. Consequently, I’ve never really devoted much time to checking out the various helper apps available for iTunes.
Which might have been a mistake, because some of them are very helpful indeed. When, for the third time in one morning, iTunes started playing a song whose name I couldn’t remember, I decided I needed something to display basic song information for me, in an unobtrusive manner.
After a lot of hunting around, QuickTunes turned out to be the right ticket.
It hits all the buttons I was after: it’s free and released under the GPL; it’s subtle and ignorable; it’s very flexible with loads of useful options and preferences; and it includes all the standard controls for iTunes that you’d expect.
I tried a bunch of others before I settled with QuickTunes. I liked the subtlety of SubtleStatus, but wasn’t keen on the way it requires additional scripts to launch and quit itself; Ivy is very attractive but takes up too much screen space for my liking.
Needless to say, there were plenty of other Dashboard widgets, Menu Bar controllers and third-party apps that I didn’t try. Feel free to make your own recommendations below.