Software Request: Music Player Optimized for Classical Music Playlists



I would love a music playlist software or service (like Spotify) specifically for classical and multi-movement music that properly grouped movements by track, categorized, randomized, and ultimately treated multi-movement pieces as they should be: as a single work.

Some Back Story

Way back in the day, back before MP3s were really a thing, I listened to and composed MIDIs. That was also around when I first started programming with a copy of Visual Basic 3, which I copied from a friend's dad's computer. The source code and even the binaries for this ancient app are long lost, but I had made a playlist desktop app for playing MIDIs. At the time, there were some apps that did this, but I found them annoying in their feature set, so I set out to make one I wanted to use myself. I succeeded and I used that MIDI player basically every until broadband internet and MP3s took over.

Fast forward to modern times, and we have a deluge of music players and playlists, streamers, and organizing software.

But, as a fan of classical music, I'm distraught that there doesn't seem to be a good way to play classical music if you want any kind of randomization with the playback. MP3 and media players all seem to treat individual tracks as single, isolated, songs (most of the time, they are).

And while, no doubt, sometimes I just want to listen to the funeral march from the Eroica Symphony, more often than not, if I'm listening to music on a randomized playlist, I want to listen to the whole symphony as one cohesive work, as it was intended, and not just get some random movement from some random piece.

This is where seemingly every single software seems to break down and fails to deliver the desired experience to listeners of classical music.

The Proposed Solution

The solution is to be able to specify certain tracks are a part of a larger whole, and when the music player is on random, and it decides to pick a track, that it always

  1. Picks the first track in a group, and
  2. Plays all tracks from that group in order

"But, Jesse", you might say, "Why not just merge the tracks together yourself and have one big MP3 file?" Surely, I could do that, but that's less-than-ideal, as the movements are separate and should remain separate tracks, and they can definitely be appreciated individually.

Ideally, this is how I'd love to see this change reflected in a playlists's interface: Select a series of contiguous tracks, and the right-click context menu would give an option like "Group Together", "Couple Tracks", or "Link Tracks". I've mocked this up using Spotify as the base.

Right click - Group Tracks

Like Movies?

At this point, you might still be wondering "Why on earth is this so important to you?" The answer is that, as many people might be unaware, classical music is comparable to movies. With movies, while individual scenes can be appreciated without watching the rest of the film, the experience is usually far better as a single cohesive experience.

So, like movies, classical music (and some modern music as well) should be experienced as a single piece.

So why not just build it myself?

Which brings me back to the original app I had built for MIDIs so long ago. No doubt, I could rather simply put together an app that covered the bare minimum for what I need, at least for playing music from my PC.

On first consideration, it almost sounds like something that could be a product that solves a niche. But the problem is that this is not a big enough problem to merit the effort to build an app that solves this specific problem. Instead, this is a solution which would be superior in this one area, and inferior in practically every other area. It's a simple app to do on the desktop, but it's 2012 - just a desktop app doesn't cut it anymore, and the majority of my music is listened to from my phone rather than from my PC. This means now we're in mobile app, music synchronization, and all the headaches that come with duplicating effort to make a PC client and mobile clients - then suddenly, I'm competing with Spotify, Winamp, iTunes, and Microsoft Live (or whatever the descendant of Zune is) among others.

And frankly, that's a lot of work just to make a minor enhancement to how a playlist is randomized.

The truth is that this is simply a feature, and not enough of an innovation to justify an app of its own. All that is necessary to make the entire proposed app obsolete is for something like Spotify or to implement the solution, that's my hope, because Spotify is way more awesome than some app I'll put together just to solve this one minor nit.

So does something like this exist?

So does anything like this already exist? I'd love to know. If enough people find this worthwhile, perhaps I'll consider making a standalone app specifically for this kind of music, or maybe someone will find it inspiring enough to make it themselves. I'd love that, too (but please make an Android client).

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