Music playback may not be all the rage on PCs these days as it was back in the old days, but it is still one of the most common activities performed on a computer.
Unsurprisingly, a number of highly advanced music players are available for the Windows 10 platform, many of which go beyond the call of duty. Not only can these play your music collection, they offer advanced management features, customization, synchronization and cloud playback, all for the sweet, sweet price of free.
Some of these applications are still stuck in the 90s, though. But that only adds to their retro charm, as they still remain fully functional and compatible with the latest version of the operating system.
So here is a list, then, of the best music players for Windows 10.
Windows 10 UI,
Read ZIP / RAR,
If there’s one music player that looks like it has been designed from the ground up for Windows 10, it’s Dopamine. Fantastically named for the organic chemical that tells your brain to feel good, this music playback application is the most modern of the bunch, making full use of exclusive Windows 10 features like notifications, tray controls, and a UI that looks like it was designed by Microsoft.
The main screen is a sleek blend of cover displays, track listings, and playback controls. And you can play your songs and music in a range of interfaces — from a Cover player to a Micro player and even a ridiculously small Nano option for minimum footprint.
Taskbar controls are included, as are ratings for each file in the form of hearts or stars. And speaking of files, all the popular formats are included from WAV to FLAC, MP3 to WMA. Media management is fine, too, and the program asks for a scan of your library upon first start.
New features are added in this continually updated open source program. Dopamine may lack the advanced options included in some of the other music players listed below, but when it comes to the playback experience, this newest kid on the block is about as good as it gets.
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License: Open source
Latest Version: 1.2.862.4
What Clementine lacks in looks, it makes up for it in versatility. The library management features in this music player are second to none, allowing you to easily add and effortlessly organize your entire music collection. All major file formats like MP3, WAV, AAC and FLAC are supported, and missing details like artist name and genre can be automatically download. The app even lets you enjoy music and Internet radio from services like SoundCloud and Spotify.
Plus, thanks to cloud integration, Clementine can also directly search and play the songs that you may have uploaded to a variety of online storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive. The process is as simple as signing into the cloud storage service, and your media will be automatically detected and added to your library or playlist.
With a funky name like this, a music player like foobar2000 is not something that everyone would be willing to try. It’s one of those programs that has its roots in the early 90s, and this shows in its extremely minimal user interface. But look beyond its boring UI, and this music player is one of the most customizable and extensible program on the market.
It is possible to granularly tweak the foobar2000 user interface by modules. There is the core UI, but you can also bunch together modules like playlist view, equalizer, frequency and spectrum meters, album and artist view alongside. Add to that support for almost all audio formats, including more obscure ones like OGG, ALAC, AIFF and SND, and you have a winner. The app can even read ZIP files and RAR archives, and the ability to rip Audio CDs is also available.
Foobar2000 is super lightweight, and can be installed as a portable app.
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Latest Version: 1.3.15
One look at AIMP, and you can clearly see that it looks a lot like the veteran, Winamp. At least, with its default user interface. But the similarities do not end here. It also draws inspiration, in usability, from that classic program. In other words, if you want a music player that is incredibly simple to use, where you can just launch the application, add a few songs, and let it work its magic, then AIMP is what you need.
There are no library scans, and the main UI is made of just the now playing module and the playlist editor. A search bar is provided to easily find any track, while standard functions like equalizer, shuffle, crossfade, are but a click away. Format support ranges from FLAC to MIDI and DTS, and a variety of plugins are available that can connect to web based services like Last.fm.
Special mention for the hundreds of downloadable skins that completely change the look of the program. AIMP boasts the most vibrant community of designers among all the music players mentioned here, and they keep on creating some delightfully amazing artwork for the skins.
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Latest Version: 4.13
Audacious offers a functional single window UI that can do all the work for you, from adding and managing your music library folders to advanced playback support. Playback controls are up top, while a horizontal playback status bar at the bottom shows the now playing information, complete with an album art and a spectrum analyzer. A very powerful search functionality that lets you find the track you seek in seconds round up the package.
Files like FLAC, WMA, MP3 and WAV can all be played back, and it is also possible to directly add various plugins right from within the program that extend the functionality. Advanced playlist support like duplicate track removal, shuffle and crossfade, and tag editor help make this an allrounder. It’s focus on low resource usage also works in its favor.
It may not be the best at what it does, or come with a sleek and stylish look, but Audacious does everything a modern music player is expected to do, and does it well.
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License: Open source
Latest Version: 3.8.2
A fan favorite, MusicBee hits the perfect balance between being easy to use and customizable, feature rich and lightweight. It’s a powerful program that offers advanced tagging and syncing options, management of media with support for a wide range of formats, and smart playlists that update based on custom filters.
MusicBee keeps an eye on your hard drive for changes, and automatically adjusts your library accordingly, while also offering the ability to import libraries from iTunes and Windows Media Player. Files can even be converted to another format on the fly, while syncing.
A podcast directory is available that can be used to subscribe, download and listen to podcasts. And there are advanced options to tune the audio with a 10-band equalizer, and customize the player with different skins and layouts, including a mini player and compact player. Where MusicBee falls short is with minor annoyances, like MP3 and AAC encoders needing to be installed separately due to licensing issues, and the UI not being as customizable or streamlined as some of the other choices.
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Latest Version: 3.0.6335
Boasting a clean and minimalistic look, with solid media management functionality baked in, aTunes looks very similar to a certain software that goes by the name of iTunes. In fact, the similarities extend to the full screen cover flow mode. But beneath the simple interface is a music player that is at home with almost all the required functions and functionalities.
Things start with automatic management and organization of your music library, with options to view the digital music collection after filtering it on the basis of metadata like album name and genre. Support for smart playlists and duplicate track removal is offered too, and aTunes plays nicely with a whole bunch of audio formats, including the five most popular ones in MP3, AAC, FLAC, WMV and WAV.
The app can even connect to web services like Last.fm, letting you listen to Internet radio stations, and it has the ability to download podcasts, too. However, just like the interface, the documentation that is available for aTunes is bare minimum. It’s easy enough to use the program, but if you need help with some of its more advanced functions, you will have to pay a visit to the official forums.
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License: Open source
Latest Version: 3.1.2
Although this is another discontinued music player like Winamp, its last release was around four years back, in 2013. Songbird is an expansive music management and playback solution that has support for all the most popular audio formats, including DRM protected media. The interface supports skins (called feathers here), and web functionality like the ability to download MP3 files and subscribe to MP3 blogs as playlists is also available.
You can also edit and save metadata tags, and Songbird can watch folders for changes. Automatic library files organization and media important and exporting means the program is at home when it comes to media management, making it worth a try, particularly for those that are in need of superior media management.
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License: Open source
Latest Version: 4.13
You may not think that it is possible to be intimidated by a music player, but installing and launching MediaMonkey for the first time will very much leave you overwhelmed. There is a plethora of impressive features on offer here — it will take you a while to completely get a hand of all the available options. Including advanced functionalities like iOS and Android syncing and DLNA sharing.
But MediaMonkey is not as good looking or as lightweight as other music players in the list.
Worse yet, some of its features like advanced searching, automatic library organization, on the fly conversion, smart playlists are locked behind licensing. You need to shell out either $25 for the version license, or $50 for a lifetime license to access these features. Considering the fact that many of these features come out of the box with other programs, it makes it hard to recommend MediaMonkey ahead of other choices.
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Latest Version: 4.1.15
Of course, a list like this is not complete without some of the biggest names out there. Names like Windows Media Player, Winamp and VLC that still have millions upon millions of users. All three are solidly built, and although don’t see that many updates, continue to generally work well.
Windows Media Player
If you don’t want to bother installing yet another music application, or can’t for some reason, then the native Windows Media Player that is part of Windows 10 comes with robust library management features in a familiar and highly usable interface.
Arguably the best music player ever built, and certainly one of the most popular. There was a brief moment in time when Winamp was competing with the likes of Sonique, the second most popular audio player around. But it ultimately left every player behind, all thanks to its complete feature set and UI.
VLC Media Player
Hard to deny, or even imagine, just how popular VLC is when it comes to multimedia playback. Perfect for all types of audio and video formats, you can play just about any format you throw at this program. That said, it is tough to call it a fully featured music library management solution, though.
Did you find your best music player for Windows 10?