Newton Blog
By Thomas Brand

31st May 2022 Swinsian

Swinsian1 is a native music jukebox app for the Mac. It displays songs in customizable columns with a browser just like iTunes did before it became a music store, video player, iOS app organizer, social network, and streaming service.

With Swinsian you can make smart playlists. You can edit tags on multiple tracks at once. You can shuffle songs. There is a 31 band Graphic Equalizer, and real-time search. Swinsian even syncs your music with classic iPods, and streams my music over AirPlay. In short Swinsian is everything you expect from "Classic iTunes" running on a modern Mac.

In addition to being a great iTunes replacement, Swinsian has some powerful features for managing a large music library.

FLAC

Unlike Apple Music/iTunes Swinsian plays FLAC. "Digital audio compressed by FLAC's algorithm can typically be reduced to between 50 and 70 percent of its original size and decompresses to an identical copy of the original audio data." FLAC is free software, with royalty-free licensing that is best used for making archival copies of your CD music collection. Swinsian supports FLAC metadata tagging, album art, and fast seeking. It even plays back FLAC albums ripped as a single file with an accompanying cue file.

Watched Folders

Swinsian's Watched folders allow you to manage music stored outside of your Swinsian library. A Watched folder can be any directory on your computer, removable storage, or local network share. With Watched folders, you get to choose which songs get automatically copied to your Swinsian Library, and which songs play from their watched location.

With Watched folders:

  • Store your music collection on a local server and access the songs as if they were saved in your local Swinsian library.
  • Keep half your music on your computer and the other half on external USB storage and access it from the same Swinsian library.
  • Watch a Dropbox folder you share with your family, and Swinsian will copy/move new tracks into your library automatically as songs are added or modified.
  • Import new songs and playlists from Apple Music each time Swinsian is opened.

If your music collection is too large to fit on a single volume but you want to manage it all from one library, there is no better remedy than Swinsian's Watched Folders.

Metadata

One of the reasons I own all of my music and store it locally, is that I am very particular about the metadata I associate with it. I don't want Apple Music changing my music's metadata automatically without my consent.

Swinsian makes managing your music's metadata easy with helpful tools like an always visible Tack Inspector, and multitrack Find and Replace with Regex support. Tags can be edited on music stored locally or in a remote Watched Folder. For albums ripped with cue sheets, Swinsian will attempt to update the cue file. Album art can be embedded or stored as an accompanying folder/cover image file.

Swinsian makes finding duplicates easy by giving you control on how closely to match a track's title, artist, album, duration, and file size. Finally your library statistics including your favorite artists, tracks, genres, and albums sorted my play count are all available from a glance using Swinsian.

Perfect?

Swinsian isn't perfect, and development has slowed in recent years. The latest Mac OS features like Dark Mode are not yet implemented. As of today Swinsian is an Intel app and requires Rosetta 2 to run on Apple Silicon Macs.

Despite its setbacks I still consider Swinsian a Mac-Assed Mac app due to a thoughtful feature set and adherence to Apple human interface guidelines. If like me you value your music collection and want a way to access it beyond the limited confines of your MacBook SSD, then Swinsian is for you. Please consider purchasing a copy today, if not for yourself, then as a way to support Swinsian's continued development and ensure I never have to launch Apple Music ever again.


  1. [Swinsian][verb] Old English: To make a (pleasing) sound, make melody or music.