October 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

The Great Simplifier: Play iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio from One Mac App

Music apps have quote demonstrably given us more ways to access and listen to music than ever before. As cool as that is, it can also be a headache to jump between them — say, Pandora, iTunes, Rdio, and Spotify.

Assuming you’re a Mac person, an incredibly elegant solution exists to your problem: Americo Trading’s Music Control, which streamlines the audio control process for Pandora, iTunes, Rdio, and Spotify into one seamless, unobtrusive menu bar app. Not only does this make them all easier to get to, but you no longer have to remember to turn off Pandora before firing up Spotify. Finally!

(Bonus: If you have more than one Mac, things get even more interesting; Music Control can also control these apps to and from up to five Macs on the same local network, although this feature does not work with Pandora, as you’ll see below.)

After testing out Music Control, we definitely recommend it if you regularly use any mix of iTunes, Pandora, Rdio and Spotify. It does exactly what it says it does, and installation and use couldn’t be easier. We like the mini-dock’s simple interface and the fact that it hangs out in the menu bar, without getting in the way.

Yes,  the $5 asking price might scare off some potential users — but keep in mind that, for the entire month of October, 20 percent of profits will go to the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, to support their efforts to restore music education in public schools. Just by making your life easier, you’re giving a dollar to a great program.

Here’s how to simplify your music life on OS X.

1: Install Music Control

If your Mac is sporting OS X Snow Leopard, Lion, or Mountain Lion, head to the Mac App Store and install this $5 app. To use Music Control on multiple computers on a single network, you’ll have to install the app on each computer. Each purchase can be installed on up to five computers, so long as they’re all connected to the same iTunes account.

Music Control Step 1

2: Enable universal access

This allows you to control different audio players within the app (and on different computers, if you like). Open up “System Preferences” by clicking the Apple icon in your menu bar, and then click “Universal Access” (or “Accessibility” in OS X Mountain Lion). Select “Enable Access for Assistive Devices.” Again, you’ll have to do this on each computer with which you want to use the app.


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