I can’t live without music and I have it on all the time and therefore have constant growing collection of music, 26,000+ tracks.

Things I look for in a media player
1/ Can play my collection over the network *
2/ Easy to search for a track
3/ Closes when I click the little cross in the top right hand corner
4/ Fast in starting up
5/ Can read ID3 tags
6/ play .ogg files, but then again most linux players will do that

Back when I used windows, WinAmp was the bees knees and I was very happy with it, so I’m kinda bench marking against that. And I have just seen MediaMonkey on windows, which looks pretty cool, though I have never tested it out.

Amarok :
It does look like it can do want I want with a layout I can use. The speed of the search 2.2.0 is much faster than on 1.4 the last version I tried out, though only on a third of the collection. But it really nags me that I have to go Amarok then Quit before I can close the program. And when you are installing it it comes up with the KDE wallet, which I didn’t know anything about, I just want to play my music.

Songbird :
This player I like by the look and that is made by the same company that brings us other fine programs like Thunderbird and FireFox. But the search is horribly slow, start to type in Depc”now wait 4-8 seconds before you can type anything else”ehe Mode. And the way you have to install is not as simple as other players/programs.

Rhythmbox and banshee :
The older version wouldn’t see my collection over the network. It is still dreadfully slow to read my music library, even from a external drive. I didn’t get on with the layout and my biggest problem with Rhythmbox. Is that, when I click the little cross to close/quit/finish the program, it just minimise and keep playing. Yes I’m sure that I could change some settings to get it work as I want, but I don’t want that. I just want to play my music and stop, out of the box.

Exaile :
A nice little player, though still struggles with my music collection. And is pretty much like the ones above. I tend to use it for screaming music as it does that very easy with Shoutcast radio and others.

VLC media player :
A brilliant player for your movies and music though lacks the easy use that I’m looking for. I often just play one track or album from this one, along with streaming. Very stable and fast, though have never asked it to scan my music library.

Clementine :
While researching for this post I fell over the Clementine music player. Looks pretty good, though haven’t tested it out to see if it plays over network. Still it is slow searching through my playlist from a external disk. One thing I noticed just like Rhythmbox you have to change the settings for the close button, arrggh. Though you gotta love it for the glory it gives to the Hypnotoad.

gmusicbrowser :
Not the sleekest looking music player I have tried but it just works. e.g I click on the close button and it stops, no settings required. Played my music over the network, scanned and played played my 26,000 tunes with ease. Search just happened as I typed, I didn’t have to hang about and wait for it. Start up is very fast too and stopped when I clicked the little cross. It is not the most known music player for ubuntu but I must say it is the only one that ticks most of the boxes for my needs. It have just been upgraded after a long wait between upgrades. And it have become much stable, I take it, since it has been a while since the player froze on me. What I really like with it, start it up and when I click play it just plays, I do not have to create a play list. Though I would like that the start up time was a wee bit faster.

So my vote goes for gmusicbrowser as the music player for ubuntu. Nice, fast and just works with a big music library.

*) I have had some problems with the SAMBA install as it have never worked right out of the box. So I have used NFS instead with great success over the years. Though since ubuntu 10.4 my networks setting have just worked pretty much out of the box.