When iTunes was first introduced, it was lean, trim, and efficient. It was focused and to the point. However, as the version number has grown, iTunes now manages, plays, and purchases your movies, TV shows, music, and podcasts.
It’s a mammoth of an application, especially for those of us on a basic MacBook (yours truly). When you just want to play your media, iTunes can be overkill. A simple player is what you need, and Everplay aims to be that player.
The main view of Everplay is a condensed version of iTunes. It reads from your iTunes library, cutting out the organizational features of iTunes. Leaving only a player, you are faced with a cover flow-like view of all your music (or Podcasts, shows, or movies.) The list can also be populated by specific playlists.
Clicking on an album smoothly reveals a list of its songs. At bottom are the controls. You have access to Last.FM controls and the usual playback controls (play, pause, rewind/fast forward) along with control over shuffle and repeat. Finally there is a very speedy field for searching your library.
When Apple makes an application, that niche for software developers generally closes – every Mac owner has that area of their computing life covered. In this case, playing their music. Everplay is braving a difficult market, and I see the app as being aimed at more advanced users – those who understand more about computer resources.
When Everplay is playing a song, it takes up about 46 – 52 MB of Real Memory. Under the same circumstances, iTunes takes about 63 MB of Real Memory. (These results are not scientific, just my observations)
Last.FM is a free, online radio. Basically, you install one of the several tools available to your system, and when your music is playing, it is sent to their database. In this way, they build a detailed profile of your musical taste, providing you with a recommendations and music streaming
Last.FM support is fully featured – more so than any other iTunes companion I’ve used. You can stream from radio stations, post on other users and artists shoutboxes, love and ban songs and, of course, scrobble your music to the Last.FM database.
Yes, you read correctly. Everplay has Twitter integration. It can tweet when you love a track with Last.FM and when the song changes. It also lets you update your status just like you would from the Twitter website.
Song InfoEverplay puts the album artwork, along with the song name, album, and band on the desktop. Not particularly useful, but nice to look at.
If you want to be notified of song changes, you can use Everplay’s internal system, or Growl. When a new song comes on, a pop-up bubble appears in the screen corner with the relevant information.
Jukebox Mode & More
Jukebox mode is a handy little feature that acts like your own personal DJ. It selects and builds a queue of songs for you to listen. Everplay can also play your movies and TV shows, but with a caveat. Everplay can’t play DRM protected files. That takes iTunes purchased video out of the picture, which is a real shame.
Everplay can be rough in a few areas. For example, when I first tried to stream radio from Last.FM, the application reported an error. Rather than telling me what was wrong, Everplay made me open a log file. Next, the Twitter integration frustrates me. Its one thing to have it tweet when you love a song, but being able to tweet what ever you want, in a music app? That’s wrong. Feature creep at its finest!
Everplay took a brave leap into Apple’s market and, for the most part, succeeded. Its uses less memory than iTunes, lets you scrobble to Last.FM, and adds keyboard shortcuts. That said, I can’t see myself leaving Coversutra for it.
The UI is a little rough around the edges, and crashes are common enough that Everplay isn’t making it into my daily Mac usage. That said, the application is still young and full of potential.
So, to wrap up: Everplay needs to refine UI and cull extra features. Overall Everplay makes a great little companion for playing your music, costing $19.95 for a full license.