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Manage Your iPod with MediaMonkey as an Alternative to iTunes for Windows

If you own an iPod you might not be happy with how big and bloated iTunes is and want an alternative. Today we look at using MediaMonkey Standard as an alternative for managing your iPod and audio collection.

The Standard version of MediaMonkey is free for Windows users, is light on system resources, but packs a lot of power for managing your music and iPod. After we installed MediaMonkey and plugged in our iPod Touch 3rd Gen running iOS 4.0.2, it recognized it right away and were able to easily transfer our music collection to it.

Install & Setup MediaMonkey

Installation is straight-forward following the install wizard. When selecting the file type associations, make sure to check iTunes file types.

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After installation MediaMonkey starts, you’re presented with a welcome message and the opportunity to purchase the Gold version. Click OK to the message and we can start getting things setup. Or if you want to get the Gold version it’s $34.99 for a lifetime license and you’ll get the following options over the Standard version…

  • File Monitor to automatically update the Library
  • Integrated CD/DVD Burner at 48x speed
  • Support for Multiple Collections
  • On-the-fly audio conversion
  • Advanced search and auto playlists
  • Unlimited MP3 encoding
  • Virtual CD
  • High-speed conversion and leveling on multi-core systems

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By default it will scan your Music folder which should already include iTunes content if you have it installed.

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It will also offer to import all of the data from WMP and iTunes…click OK.

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After your content (including purchased) is imported you will see it all in the MediaMonkey Library.

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All of our iTunes audio content was imported sans Videos and the iOS Apps. We had our iTunes U lectures, Podcasts, and of course our Music.

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You can add or rescan tracks to the Library at anytime from the File menu.

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Playlists in MediaMonkey

The playlists feature functions like you would expect from a music player. There are some included by default, you can create your own, and remove the ones you don’t use.

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You can remove a Playlist by doing a right-click then Remove, or by simply highlighting a playlist and hitting the Delete key.

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Use Your iPod with MediaMonkey

The first time we plugged in our iPod Touch running iOS 4.0.2 it was automatically recognized, out of the box with no additional plugins required which is very cool.

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You will also be able to see all of the music on your iPod.

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Now you can go through your Library and drag and drop whatever songs you want to your iPod.

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Or you can highlight the audio you want on your iPod, right-click and Send to iPod.

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There are a lot of neat customizations you can do with your iPod. Right-click on it and select Configure Device.

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This opens up the Device Profile window where you have several different options to choose from including Auto-Sync which makes managing the music library easy.

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There are several other options you can use to configure how your iPod works with MediaMonkey too. Although some like Auto-Conversion are only available in the Gold version.

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Access Music from Home Network Locations

One of the cool features of MediaMonkey is the ability to access music no matter where it lives on your home network. For example, here we have a lot of MP3s, FLAC files, and Audio Books on our Windows Home Server. You can easily navigate to the music files on your home server and add them to your Library.

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It also comes with a couple skins by default and you can download others from their site and from the community.

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If you aren’t happy with iTunes 9 and think iTunes 10 was a less than stellar upgrade, it might be time to look for alternatives. MediaMonkey provides a lot of options, and plays a large amount of music file formats. If you want an alternative that will allow you to manage your iPod out of the box, MediaMonkey Standard is free and works well.

There are also some cool addons and plugins available out there in the MediaMonkey community that we’ll be taking a look at in future, including ways to better manage your iPod, so stay tuned for that.

What about your guys? Leave us a comment and tell us your favorite ways to use MediaMonkey.

Download MediaMonkey

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/7/10

Comments (26)

  1. Jaws4theRevenge

    I’d be keen to hear user feedback about using an iPod with this software.

    I’ve been looking to buy an iPod Nano (5th Gen.), but having to use iTunes is a big stumbling block as I can’t stand to use it.

  2. onedeafeye

    I have an older iPod and MediaMonkey works really well with it. Start MM, then plug the iPod into a USB port. MM picks up the iPod, removes any music I’ve deleted, loads any new stuff and safely disconnects, all automatically. iTunes was only loading parts of specific songs after my library got to about 2300 songs, and I couldn’t fix that. MediaMonkey is the answer. Wish I’d had this program a long time ago!

  3. DiAnne

    Woo hoo!! This is awesome. I hate iTunes with a passion. I just bought a new computer and was determined NOT to put iTunes on it.

    I have one question before I download that perhaps someone could answer. I mainly use my iPod Nano for audiobooks. Because it is only 16 GB, I can only keep a few audiobooks on it at a time, which is no problem.

    Does anyone know if MediaMonkey has the “audiobook” feature similar to what iTunes has. In iTunes, I was able to designate files as audiobooks and then tell the iPod to not shuffle them and to remember the position. If it has those capabilities, then I could have both music and books on the iPod, but if it doesn’t then I’ll probably just only keep books on it and keep it off shuffle.

    MysticGeek – you seem to always have articles that I need. Thanks!!

  4. RG

    Will MM play iTunes purchased content (movies, TV Shows, music), and allow you to view closed captions/subtitles, like iTunes does?

  5. Rusty

    DiAnne,
    MediaMonkey supports ‘bookmarking’ of audiobooks, and doesn’t shuffle them (in the default configuration–you can change it if you want).

    RG,
    MediaMonkey 3.x will play iTunes-purchase music. It does not yet support video (that’s coming in version 4.x).

  6. Randi Baker

    I have a Zume 8GB player – How do you load – podcasts or webinar?
    From my computer
    What kind of plug ins do I need?

    Thank You in advance
    Randi Baker

  7. DiAnne

    Rusty – thank you for the answer. You rock!!

  8. Wander

    I’ve been using mediamonkey for years now, especially because if its great tag-features
    It can automatically put all songs in folders named after tags (e.g. Music/%artist%/%year%. %album), and rename the files according to tags (e.g. %artist% – %title%) and it has multiple ways to search for missing tags (years, lyrics, album art), and can easily find any duplicate songs you have
    Ive tried other programs, but none of them loaded a library with thousands of songs as fast
    Almost everything can be customized, the only thing im missing is it being able to play video as well

  9. Hayden

    Looks relly good but one question how would I update my firmware for my ipod touch? can this program do that our do need itunes for that?

  10. Jay

    How does MediaMoneky compare with Amarok, Foobar and other tools you have reviewed before?

  11. rochan

    The services provided by Media Monkey are more than that of iTunes. The sad thing is that because of low advertisement, Media Monkey almost didn’t have the chance to beat up iTunes in the market. The only ones who can find Media Monkey are those software analyst guys like me who favors open/freeware. But now, since howtogeek featured it, it may boost its popularity in a widespread manner.Wait…when did I last use iTunes anyway?

  12. Chln

    I’ve tried Media Monkey and a bunch of others mentioned here. None of them do a very good job with podcasts. I hate itunes, but am afraid I’m going to have to stick with it until a better podcaster comes along.

  13. Troy

    What about app management?

  14. Jack

    Is this compatable with the new iPod Nano 6G?

  15. Ross

    Hi, I want to use my work laptop as my host. I however need to use a different laptop for my music is this manageable with media monkey without wiping all of my apps ?? Hope you can help, thanks Ross

  16. SUNNY

    Why my iPod shuffle 5 is not recognized as iPod, but as a folder? If I move music to this file, is music able to be played on my iPod?

  17. Roxy

    I downloaded MediaMonkey and I was of the “impression” that it would ‘come’ with the features to convert my files from AAC to MP3 – but now it’s telling me I HAVE to download QUICKTIME!!! Please tell me that I’m doing something wrong….I DO NOT want to download another program.
    PLEASE HELP!

  18. Juan

    I’ve been using iTunes for the past 5 years, mainly because I’ve been using a Mac and because of the ability to keep all my music easily accessible, without browsing through Explorer folders to play what I wanted.
    I want to switch to another iTunes-like program which allows me to manage my collection, which consists mainly of ripped CDs (AIF and flac). My problem with iTunes is that it doesn’t natively play flac files, and I do not want to use any of the workarounds out there on the Internet.
    Been hearing good things about MM and Helium, but still undecided. I use WMP to “sample” music before adding it to my main library, and also VLC to play flac files before converting them to AIF.
    I might try out the free MM player and use it for a few days. As they say – the grass is always greener on the other side…

  19. Juan

    Oh – forgot to mention on my post above.
    My current system is an AMD Phenom II x4 BE 3.2 GHz, and 12 GB RAM.
    My iTunes library has about 8900 items (mostly lossless music) and it’s about 360 GB, and iTunes works nice ‘n fast. No slowdown whatsoever, but I’m afraid as I add more stuff I may run into some slowness.
    We’ll see…
    Happy to use iTunes for now.

  20. Ryan

    I`ve been using MM for about a month now after hearing so many good things, and I like a lot of what it does. However it is almost completely useless for managing music on my iphone4. I have never used auto-syncing and never will, so maybe thats my problem? Anyways, these are some of the issues I’ve been trying to deal with:

    - Artwork randomly appears on different songs on my iphone than they do in the Library, or is sometimes missing altogether. I have gone through my entire library song by song; all artwork is correct.
    - I have assigned every song a “grouping” (rap, rock, electro, etc) and this works fine in the library, but when I sync the music onto my iphone any tagging I’ve done under grouping disappears. Iv tried using “comments” instead but the same thing happens.
    - Occasionally my iphone will “lose” all music and say something to the effect of “unable to locate music”. I then have to attach my phone to MM and play a song from my phone, which for some reason allows the phone to “find” the music again.
    - Playlists on my iphone are completely useless. I am unable to create playlists for my phone in MM ( so I use itunes to do this). I then open up MM and am unable to move music from my phone to a playlist.

    None of these issues happened in iTunes (which of course has its own issues) but I think after a month of experimenting with MM I`ll go back to iTunes.

  21. slee

    @Juan: 12GB of RAM !!??!? With that much RAM and 3.2 Ghz phenom you shouldn’t have any slowness even if itunes is terribly bloated/buggy for Windows; guess it really depends how much music you have though.

    @RG: Yes MM will let you play all your istore purchased DRM crap, you just need Quicktime or Quicktime Lite installed. There are scripts/plugins that will run lyrics, subtitles, captions, whatever with your audio/video files. A separate script is needed for video playback. If you don’t know anything about scripts/plugins don’t be worried I didn’t either a few months ago; the people at the MM forums are extremely helpful.

    IMHO, if you run OS X use Itunes, if you run a Windows OS use Mediamonkey. I have both on my W7 system but prefer mediamonkey for it’s versatility/customiziation.

  22. samaha

    i wana ask how i after syncing my ipod how can i edit the playlists in it :S
    and is it somehow possible to copy the data from my ipod to my hard drive or the itune thru media monkey ??

  23. Silverman

    so MM doesn’t seem to acknowledge my ipod touch out of box. I got it last winter holiday season so i was wondering if the issue is its too new or do you have to have itunes so it can give MM permission to access you ipod.please let me know what i can do to get it to accept my ipod touch. Secondly how to geek, you have put together a wonderful easy to comprehend sight and I would bake you a cake if I could.

  24. Dan

    So when iTunes did another one of its “updates” (meaning a failure to install and a groan from me as I knew it would be several hours of following detailed instructions from Apple on how to completely remove all of its programs to do a clean install) I decided I’d had enough.

    MM took a little bit to figure out – ended up with duplicate songs and podcasts, and playlists I couldn’t delete.

    My solution was to wipe the ipod’s contents, create a MM playlist with all the music I want to have on it, and sync with the playlist.

    So happy to have an alternative to iTunes’ headaches, sluggishness, and insistence on installing a whole bunch of programs that, as far as I can tell, do absolutely nothing for me. (Bonjour? Anyone?)

    Thanks MediaMonkey!!

  25. Corey

    I do not have iTunes on my comfuser, how do I get MM to ‘see’ my iPhone 3G?

  26. Corey

    No one knows how to get MM to ‘see’ an iPhone 3G w/o having to install iTunes in the 1st place?

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