From making playlists to collecting your favorite tracks and uploading music to your MP3 player, Apple’s iTunes has defined how a whole generation listens to music.
However, the company replaced iTunes with dedicated media apps for podcasts, TV, and music to accommodate consumers’ content consumption trends in the modern age.
There are several iTunes substitutes for Windows. MusicBee, Amarok, PotPlayer to name a few. Though the best iTunes alternative for Windows is VLC Music Player. It’s free, open-source, free from ads, and compatible with most formats.
Why explore iTunes alternatives for Windows?
For Windows users, iTunes can be a pain. The software hogs resources doesn’t have a web version, and has authorization limits that can be troublesome if you have multiple devices.
Not only that, but the iTunes for Windows interface seems to be confusing for even the savviest of PC users and has for a long time been outdated. It also has high synching time, compatibility issues with devices, and irregular backup functioning.
If you don’t like using iTunes for whatever reason, there are several iTunes alternatives for Windows as mentioned above. They are less resource-intensive, offer various options, tools, support for media file formats, and offer an easy-to-use experience compared to iTunes.
Let’s dig in more.
VLC media player is an open-source or free multimedia music player that’s known for its utilitarian interface. The player is easy to use, sports a minimalist design that fits in with Apple’s aesthetic, and supports a wide range of audio and video formats.
The player doesn’t contain ads, spyware, or engage in user tracking. Plus, you can use it with multiple devices, unlike iTunes, which can be troublesome owing to its authorization limits.
VLC also loads rarely supported formats that iTunes can’t load such as an album or movie so you can play it without issues. If you stream a lot, VLC’s ad-free experience when using web channel streaming apps will be worth your while.
The all-in-one complex and powerful player comes with a wide range of advanced options and settings you can tweak. You can play most popular audio and video formats including CDs, DVDs, AVI, MP4 and MKV without downloading, installing, or fiddling with codecs.
VLC player has been in active development since 2001 unlike iTunes, whose interface is somewhat outdated.
The player supports online streaming with most mainstream protocols, its skin editor can be customized, and you get hardware acceleration for fast GPU playback.
MusicBee is a great iTunes alternative with many features and an easy to use interface. The music manager application comes with DSP effects for fine-tuning sound, an equalizer, and gapless playback for listening to music without interruptions.
You can also personalize MusicBee using beautiful skins to tailor the player to your liking. You can also make your own skins or download more from the add-on section.
MusicBee supports podcasts, web radio stations, and SoundCloud integration. This way, you can play any music you want to and turn your PC into a jukebox to play your favorite tunes any time.
MusicBee also comes with an auto-DJ function, which you can use to create or discover playlists based on what you like. You can also use the auto-tagging function to organize your collection.
The software is available on Windows and supports audio books, Groove Music, podcast and playlist syncing.
Unlike iTunes, which eats away resources, MusicBee is a lightweight player and you don’t need video features. It also comes with an impressive audio-based tools tally.
Plus, its interface is more user-friendly than iTunes, and you get a quick way to select radio, podcasts, music, or audiobooks.
You also get multiple screens via menu tabs in the MusicBee graphical user interface, which are akin to using a web browser.
The service also provides a rich selection of audio options such as an audio format converter, extensive data tagging, podcast directory, and ability to stream content from internet radio stations.
Like iTunes, you can also rip or burn CDs from MusicBee, which is useful if you need to archive music to a disc or import music to a disc.
MusicBee is free to download and use, faster in performance than iTunes, and can sync with your devices using a plugin.
Amarok is a media player with an interface that’s rich in features.
The player works with Windows, macOS, Linux and Unix operating systems so you can use it with multiple devices without authorization issues like iTunes.
You can also use more functionality through other services like Librivox for streaming audiobooks and OPML Podcast Directory for podcasts.
The player has a powerful API that allows you to access music from anywhere directly, or connect to Ampache service remotely or download and upload to MP3 tunes Locker. This way, you can browse and playback media files remotely.
It’s also easy to create playlists with Amarok, which automatically updates playlists, and customize more information on the files while managing your collection. To do the latter, you can use sorting, tags, or renaming capabilities.
The interface may not match what you get with iTunes, but it’s intuitive, and a more lightweight player than iTunes. Plus, you get similar services for free.
You can use community-developed scripts to enhance your Amarok experience, customize supplemental music information with the Context View, and drag-drop actions using the PopUp Dropper menu.
Amarok also provides over 45 multiple language translations so you can enjoy the player in your native language. You can import the iTunes database and keep your stats, play counts, and scores in Amarok.
You can also mark positions in tracks to listen to later thanks to Amarok’s automatic bookmarking, track files using the file tracking feature, and play and rip audio CDs to your collection.
PotPlayer is a South Korean-based media player app that provides an all-in-one solution for people looking for iTunes alternatives for Windows.
The player works whether you have large files or cutting-edge video formats. You can also customize and tweak options to your liking, and use its advanced features like bookmarks, scene previews, or clip recording to your advantage.
Unlike iTunes, which is resource-heavy, PotPlayer uses fewer resources so you can enjoy an uninterrupted experience.
The player comes with enhanced hardware acceleration for maximum performance so you can get the best out of what you have with minimum resources.
For an immersive viewing experience with 3D, PotPlayer supports various 3D glass types, and also supports various output formats.
The player is free but proprietary, so it’s not an open-source software. Plus, it supports text subtitles, Blu-ray subtitles, DVD, SMI Ruby tags, and ASS/SSA animation among others.
You also get various codecs so you don’t have to install them each time you use PotPlayer. It’s easy to manage and supports OpenCodec so you can add any codecs you want.
More advanced features include smooth, seamless video play, the ability to select what you want when using two sound cards, scene previews with snapshots, bookmarks, and a detailed interface.
Foobar2000 is a freeware, advanced audio-only player for Windows that you can use instead of iTunes.
The player has a simplistic interface but don’t judge it by its cover – under the hood is a capable media player with excellent audio format support. You can use optional plugins to convert between formats and transfer original music files to digital ones using its native CD ripper.
Plus, Foobar2000 doesn’t need much memory like iTunes. You can also use its advanced music tagging to add metadata automatically.
The player supports a wide range of audio formats including MP3, CD Audio, FLAC, WAV, AAC, MP4, Opus, Vorbis, WavPack, Musepack, AIFF, AU, Speex, and SND among others.
It also provides gapless playback, is easy to customize so you can use a user interface layout tailored to your liking, full ReplayGain support, open component architecture, and customizable keyboard shortcuts.
The player comes with lots of customization plugins and advanced functions, and you can use it on Windows 10/8/8.1/7/Vista/XP and Android or iOS devices.
Media Player Classic is an open-source media player for Windows that’s written in C++, supports GPU assisted decoding and is available in 42 languages.
Unlike iTunes, which hogs your PC’s resources when you use it, Media Player Classic is extremely lightweight so you won’t struggle playing music or get interruptions as you listen.
The player supports all common audio and video file formats available for playback, has no ads, toolbars and is spyware free.
You can even watch movies on Media Player Classic no matter which computer you use, and customize it to fit any needs thanks to its custom toolbars and a wide array of options.
The all-around player can also be used as a DVB player and comes with two separate projects: Black Edition and Home Cinema.
With Home Cinema, everyday users can enjoy the latest standards and video formats. The lightweight version is basic but effective while the Black Edition has more improvements, features, and enhancements but isn’t as easy or simple to use.
You get low resource usage, fast performance, and small installation size with Media Player Classic compared to iTunes, on your PC. The player also handles most formats without any problem and supports video capture, subtitle downloads, and Skype integration.
Its intuitive interface is easy to use and supports most media codecs out of the box. You also get playback support from discs, files, and external devices.
MediaMonkey touts itself as the media manager for serious collectors. The award-winning media player and organizer clean the mess in your video and music libraries so you can share and enjoy them across multiple devices.
You can manage over 100,000 video and audio files, classical and contemporary music, podcasts, audiobooks, or music videos. These can be on your network, hard drive, in the cloud, or you can record them from your CDs.
MediaMonkey also allows you to organize your files quickly using features like lookup and tags, automatic file renaming and organization, setting up playlists, or removing duplicates.
You can share your music and video between your PC and other devices, DLNA media players, TVs or cloud services.
With MediaMonkey, you can play high-quality audio to your stereo, TV or other DLNA/UPnP, Bluetooth, or Chromecast device. This way, the player normalizes volume levels and converts unsupported formats.
You can also customize and extend the player’s functionality with skins or add-ons to make it truly yours. Whether you’re a DJ, small business owner, or collector, you can enjoy your music and eliminate the tedium of managing your media collection.
The PC app for Windows is a complete solution for organizing, playing and sharing your media. You can manage your audio tracks and videos without missing a beat, create collections, use standard tags, custom fields and multiple attributes to classify your collections.
MediaMonkey provides quality HiFi, auto-tags to help you identify tracks, or use the manual editor for fine-grained control.
You can download and manage podcasts automatically, listen to online radio, find related content on YouTube or sync your playlists on Spotify. You can also sync playlists on multiple devices, which can be difficult on iTunes because of its authorization limits.
WiFi Sync is included so you can manage your library from any device, along with cloud storage to services like Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.
MediaMonkey also offers auto-DJ, jukebox mode to make requests, reports for your music collection, and works with other apps thanks to its standardized tags.
You can also use MediaMonkey Gold if you want powerful customization and automation. The player automatically reorganizes and renames media files, automatically tags batches of files, and automatically analyzes volume levels so you can play your tracks at steady volumes.
It also removes the 30-minute streaming limit you get with the free version, and you can use the sleep timer to automatically fade and end playback after some time.
8. ACG Player
ACG Player is a universal media player for Windows 10 that comes with a variety of unique features.
The player delivers pure native C++ high-performance code, and comes with features like customizable buttons or gestures, super cool art effects, video and audio effects, Art Font subtitles, and art computer graphics.
The app is free to use without any limitations on functions as you’d find with iTunes. It also adds the IAP function to remove ads as you request and supports background music, subtitles, MKV and other gesture features.
The player has a simple user interface that allows you to customize panel buttons. It’s also a lite player compared to iTunes, which is resource-intensive.
Plus, ACG Player uses SDK components and free FFmpeg to automatically decode data. It also supports system player default formats and most common file formats.
It’s a gem of a video player that’s tragically underrated. Its touch-based controls and simple interface are the first things you’ll notice, along with keyboard shortcuts if you’re using a non-touch-based PC.
Advanced features include online stream playback, multiple window mode, gesture customizations, the ability to modify subtitle animations and appearances, and playlist management.
You can also go for ACG Player’s faster version, the Ax-Lite video player that has some features cut out from the main player.
The player also comes with in-app ads and purchases, but they’re not intrusive – they only come in when you pause videos.
ACG Player supports most media codecs out of the box, has a barebones design, supports playback from external devices, files, and discs, and is available for Windows only.
MPV is a free, open-source, media player that supports a wide range of media file formats, subtitle types, audio and video codecs.
The cross-platform media player features powerful scripting capabilities that make it do almost anything. You can find a wide selection of user scripts in its Wiki.
It also comes with an onscreen controller on top of the video for basic controls. You don’t get a real graphical user interface because the MPV player strives for minimalism compared to iTunes.
You also get high-quality video output thanks to its OpenGL, D3D11, and Vulkan-based output that can do a lot of things. Videophiles love it because they can use its color management, video scaling with high-quality algorithms, HDR, interpolation, frame timing and other features.
GPU video decoding or hardware decoding is available and you can turn it on at runtime on demand. MPV leverages most hardware decoding APIs on multiple platforms.
You can embed MPV to make it usable as a library and facilitate easy integration with other applications thanks to its straightforward C API.
The player is under active development so you can always post a patch or request for one. The developers are constantly focusing on cleanups and code refactoring while adding more features as the player grows better and better.
The project keeps a bit of what’s in the MPlayer and MPlayer 2 and is generally more efficient and less demanding in terms of resources compared to iTunes.
Wrapping up our list of the best iTunes alternatives is the 5KPlayer. It’s an ad-supported, fully-featured player for Windows 10 that supports a wide range of video formats including 8K and 360-degree video.
The comprehensive player supports DLNA and AirPlay out of the box so you can stream video with almost no loss of quality. You can also stream videos from YouTube and manage them on the go.
The player is easy to use and provides options to rotate your video right or left in 90-degrees. Plus, the ads in the player aren’t popup ads and don’t interfere with your listening or viewing experience. However, they appear when you try to click on a setting or on something else in the app.
The player combines music and a free MKV UHD video player, AirPlay, as well as an online downloader, and DLNA enabled media streamer.
You can play 1080p videos, IPTV, DVD, MP3, AAC, APE, FLAC, and wirelessly stream audio or video. You can also download videos from more than 300 sites like Vimeo and Dailymotion.
Besides playing satellite radio, music or movies, and downloading content online, you can build your personal multimedia library with 5KPlayer. You can also access and manage online videos, DLNA playlists and Share list, create new playlists, and sort out your favorite videos and audio files.
If you find the videos downloaded or recorded in the wrong orientation, you can switch them with the player’s Rotation tool swiftly in any angle and stop worrying about wrong orientation.
The player supports subtitles and saves you the hassle of converting their formats. It reads them automatically in the same folder as your video, or you can drag-drop it to the playback window.
It can be long and frustrating to find the right media player for your Windows PC. There are so many iTunes alternatives you can download, but not all of them can match or supersede the player’s features and capabilities.
With the players on this list, you get a full set of features to help you play, organize, and sync your media library while managing your music and video collection your way.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.