There are probably countless streaming media services that you use regularly – YouTube for music videos, and any number of websites for listening to streaming music and live radio. Forget using endless apps and website after website; Tomahawk lets you access everything in the same place.
Download a free copy of the application (it’s available for Windows, OS X and Linux), run through the installation and then start to configure the services you would like to use in conjunction with Tomahawk.
Click the Settings menu and select the Configure Tomahawk option. In the Services section, there are an impressive number of music and streaming sites for you to choose from – just tick those you are interested in using.
There are a number of familiar names here –Grooveshark, Spotify, YouTube et al – and while in some cases you can simply tick the box to activate the service in question, some require that you have an account already in place (a paid-for account in some cases).
However, there are plenty of streaming services that require no sort of account, and there is also the option of connecting the app to your social networking accounts so you can not only share your currently playing tracks with your friends and followers, but also discover new music by browsing through what they have been listening to.
Linking to Twitter, Jabber and Google Talk is not essential, but it does open up a new world of music discovery, so it is certainly worth considering.
It’s likely that you already have a sizable collection of music stored on your hard drive and network devices. Tomahawk is not just about listening to online music, it’s about being able to access anything you might want to listen to.
Move to the Collection tab and select the folders in which you have stored music files. If you have files stored in network locations, you’ll have to map these to a drive letter so that they can be accessed through Tomahawk.
When you’re happy with the settings you’ve put in place, click OK and you’re ready to start listening to music. You may have to wait for a while as your local music collection is scanned and cataloged – you can keep an eye on this in the My Collection section of the main page.
Searching for music in your own collection is easy enough; just head to the My Collection section and enter your search term in the Filter box. Playlist and song queues can be built up by right clicking on a track a selecting the Add to Queue option.
Things start to get more interesting when you incorporate online music services in your searches. To do this, you need to use the search box at the very top of the program window. Enter the name of a song, album, or artist and Tomahawk will scour your own offline music collection as well as the online repositories you have enabled.
If you have opted to link Tomahawk to Google Talk and Twitter, head to the Super Collection section and you can perform a search of the music collections of your contacts in addition to your own.
In addition to regular playlists, Tomahawk also offers the chance to create ‘radio stations’. These pull in tracks that match the search terms you specify, and there is scope to get very specific or leave things more open if you prefer.
Click the ‘Create new station link’ to the lower left of the program window and enter a name for the station you would like to create. Now use the first drop down menu to choose the criteria that should be used to set up the station – this can be a particular genre of music, artists that are similar to each other, length of track and much more.
You can get more specific by clicking the + button to the right and specifying additional criteria.
The Browse section to the upper left provides an interesting way to discover new tracks and artists. ‘Charts’ lets you know what is proving popular at the moment, while New Releases can be used to browse through the latest additions to iTunes and Rovi from the same place.
Has the emergence of ever more online music services changed the way you consume music? What are your favorites? Share your thoughts and experiences.
Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.
- Published 04/7/13