MusicMatch Jukebox 8 Free (Basic); $19.99 (Plus) MusicMatch www.musicmatch.com Rating: 4 CPUs
MusicMatch Jukebox 8 attempts to be a one-stop shop for music on your PC; it can play music, encode files from CDs, burn audio CDs, and manage your library of tunes. For the most part, MM8 delivers and is a significant improvement over version 7.
The program has two versions. The Basic version (free) lets you rip MP3s (slowly), burn CDs at 2X, and play songs, albeit without personalized playlists. The $19.99 Plus version adds full-speed MP3 ripping and CD burning, the ability to record from line-in devices, CD label printing, and more.
MM8 can play audio CDs, MP3s, Windows Media, mp3Pro files, and a handful of other file formats, but support for Ogg Vorbis is notably lacking. The nifty AutoDJ feature automatically shuffles your music based on genre, tempo, mood, and other criteria. Want two hours of fast-paced techno? If it's in your music collection, AutoDJ will find it. You don't have to enter all of that information yourself. The program fetches track titles, cover art, and other information from the Internet, although some fields weren't automatically filled in my tests.
Clicking the Now Playing button while listening to a tune reveals a Web page showing that artist's discography and other information. The encoder can create MP3s, WAV, mp3Pro, and Windows Media files from your CDs, and advanced encoding features include timed recording (good for a radio program), fade effects, and digital audio extraction settings.
MM8 can also play online radio stations. Although you can listen to most streaming radio stations, the program is tightly integrated with the MusicMatch MX subscription service ($2.95 or $4.95 per month). You can use the program to create a customized station that plays a favorite artist or music from a particular genre.
Reprinted with permission from Computer Power User magazine.