So far there have been no reports of trouble with the iTunes 7.1 update. People are mostly thrilled by the full-screen CoverFlow feature for browsing by album covers. It doesn’t yet show the track information on the flip side of an album cover (as demonstrated by Steve Jobs on the iPhone) — that feature may come with the release of Leopard in June. Apple TV preferences are included in version 7.1, and QuickTime includes a setting for exporting to Apple TV.
But iTunes 7.1 is truly welcome in one corner of the universe — folks who use MusicMatch Jukebox for a variety of things while sharing the music library with iTunes. Some people prefer MusicMatch (MM as they call it) for ripping CDs, super-tagging songs to categorize them quickly, recording from other sources, and so on. Very early models of the first Windows version of the iPod was supplied with MM, before iTunes was developed for Windows. But this version of MM, and all subsequent versions, broke when iTunes 7 was released (see “Does Apple’s iTunes Disable the Competition?“). They wouldn’t work together — MM wouldn’t even open (some suspected a DLL conflict with the skinning or EQ sub-system). Uninstalling iTunes was the only “fix” but that meant losing the ability to update iPods.
MM folks have always felt unsupported; first by Apple, which abandoned MM without so much as an “aloha” and then by MusicMatch itself, which was purchased by Yahoo in 2004 and subsequently dropped out of sight. At some point before Yahoo bought it, the company lost the rights to distribute the iPod plug-in for MM and stopped developing or building fixes for iPod plug-ins. If you wanted to use MM and didn’t have the CD-ROM from Apple with version 7.5, you could still use version 8.1, which is still available from OldVersion.com, along with the iPod plug-in for MM, available from Version Tracker. MM recently re-emerged as Yahoo MusicJukebox, which is MM version 10.1.
Apple really didn’t have to fix this problem, but public outcry had already started. Apple tends to fix problems that hurt its image (unlike Microsoft). So MM users, rejoice, you can get back to super-tagging with MM. Good luck with that.
Thanks to Jay Schmitz, firstname.lastname@example.org, for help with this story.