We all love listening to music on our Mac, whether it's through iTunes, Spotify, or even a YouTube playlist. Music helps us focus, relax, or we just want some noise in the background. While you could just use something basic like iTunes, there are many other apps out there that can play music for you like iTunes, while doing so much more. Here are some of our favorite music controller apps for the Mac!
Why you can trust iMore Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Plaaying works with both iTunes and Spotify, which covers a large user base. It removes the friction from both of these services, making your life much easier.
If you're a master of keyboard shortcuts, then Plaaying will be your new best friend. There's a handful of keyboard shortcuts available that allow you to seamlessly control your music without ever having to stop what you're doing. And if you're a person who likes to love and rate songs, Plaaying allows you to do that too. There is also a beautiful menu bar controller that shows off album art, and you can automatically share what you're listening to on Twitter at a frequency that you set. Or it can scrobble to last.fm, if you even remember what that is.
When you get a FaceTime or Skype call, Plaaying will know and pauses your music automatically, no extra input needed. You can also set up timers for media to automatically resume.
$4 - Download Now (opens in new tab)
MyTuner Radio Pro
Do you prefer to listen to the radio but want to do it from your Mac? Then you should give myTuner Radio Pro a try.
With myTuner Radio Pro, you can access radio stations from over 200 countries and territories across the globe. This means over 40,000 radio stations to choose from, whether you want to listen live, or if you just want some talk radio, sports, or good ol' music. And if you want to listen to some podcasts, myTuner Radio Pro does that too. There is also a preview of the top 25 best selling songs in each market, so it's also great for music discovery. MyTuner Radio Pro is compatible with AirPlay.
$10 - Download Now (opens in new tab)
Want the highest quality of video and audio available? Then check out Vox.
With Vox, you can dump in all of your truly lossless formats (FLAC, APE, WAV, DSD, etc.) and listen to your best music, without any drop in quality. Vox also supports multiple playlist formats and can play audio files stored on other network drives. You can control the media player from the main interface, Dock context menu, or main menu controls. Vox can get all album artwork for you automatically, so you're never stuck with blank images for album art. There is gapless playback support, a powerful equalizer, and tons of other features.
While Vox is free to download and use, you can get even more out of Vox with VOX Premium. This subscription service ($5 a month or $50 a year) gets advanced audio features, AirPlay and Sonos sound system support, cloud streaming with unlimited music storage and absolutely no decline in quality, and more.
Free with in-app purchases - Download Now (opens in new tab)
Clementine is an open-source multimedia player that can play pretty much anything you throw at it. Whether you want to listen to CDs, local playlists, to Internet radio, Clementine can do it all, and seamlessly switch between them as you please. There are also smart and dynamic playlists, album art downloads, and more.
Honestly, while Clementine has a bit of a dated look and feel to it, the program is still incredibly powerful and works across multiple platforms, thanks to the open-source nature. It is more about functionality with Clementine, rather than style.
For those who are looking for a modern, beautiful, and open source media player, then IINA is it.
IINA has a sleek, fluid interface that feels like a native Mac app. It's designed for Dark Mode, and it has picture-in-picture compatibility, so if you like to watch music videos or movies, it doesn't need to interrupt your other work. As far as controlling your music and other media, IINA supports everything, from the Touch Bar to trackpads for gesture controls. With some under-the-hood magic, IINA is also capable of playing anything, from local media to online streams to YouTube. No matter what you need, just throw it into IINA and it will play. And you'll be able to flawlessly control it from anywhere thanks to all of the gestures and control options. No interruptions!
BarTunes is a nifty little utility that lives in your Mac's menu bar. It's out of sight, out of mind until you need it, and then you can bring it up with just a click.
BarTunes works exclusively with iTunes. But once you install it and launch it, BarTunes just lives up in your menu bar with a few options on how it should be displayed. You can opt to have it show album artwork in the menu bar, and you can display the control buttons in the menu bar. Or you can just click it for the traditional drop-down menu. No matter which way you go, BarTunes stays tucked away until you need it.
BarTunes lets you pause/play, skip, or go back to the previous song. You can also "love" a song or rate it directly from the menu bar. If you often use iTunes for all of your music needs, then BarTunes is a no-brainer.
Free - Download Now (opens in new tab)
While most of us may think of Alfred as just a general launch bar with a ton of useful features for quickly launching and finding apps and files, it's also great for controlling your music.
With the Alfred Mini Player for iTunes, you're able to envoke the iTunes Mini Player in Alfred with just a few keystrokes once you get it set up. You can find albums and playlists to start playing the music, and then pause/play, skip, and go to previous song in several keystrokes. It's simple and built-in to everyone's favorite launch bar. Plus, you can find workflows to make Alfred work as a controller for other services like Spotify.
What are your favorite music controller apps?
These are some of the best music controller apps that we've found available for the Mac. What are your favorites and suggestions? Let us know in the comments!
Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.