Plex launches Winamp-inspired Plexamp music player for macOS through Plex Labs incubator

Posted:
in Mac Software edited December 2017
Cloud-based media software developer Plex on Monday released a standalone desktop music player called Plexamp, the first project to come out of the firm's newly announced Plex Labs incubator.




Available for macOS and Windows, Plexamp was built by a handful of Plex employees as an homage to music players of the past that also serves as a testbed for new services.

Plexamp is the first project to emerge from Plex Labs, an initiative designed to garner exposure for internal passion projects and those from the community.

Leveraging Plex's server smarts, the app builds on Electron, ES7, React and MobX technologies to deliver music, which is processed using the open source Music Player Daemon (MPD). MPD support means users can play "just about any music format you could dream of throwing at it," Plex says.

Developers set self-imposed constraints to make the app as small as possible, limiting the final product to a single window. According to the firm, Plexamp is the smallest Plex player ever made, in terms of pixel size.

Designed for those who use Plex for music playback, Plexamp runs like a native app on either macOS or Windows, in both online and offline modes, complete with controls for skipping tracks, pausing playback and receiving notifications. The app also supports advanced features like gapless playback, ramped song transitions, global hotkeys and keybindings, and -- in a throwback -- visualizations.

Plexamp's creators have an eye for detail, as the app extracts key colors from album art to generate color palettes for said visualizers and to compute opacity values for UI overlays.

As a technology testbed, Plexamp includes a few Plex Media Server features set to debut Plex Pass premium customers in a future update.

For example, the music player extracts loudness data to automatically normalize playback volume, enable smart transitions that compute optimal overlap between songs, generate visual representations of songs called sound prints, and provide waveform seeking. Users can also take advantage of a server radio functionality to create radio stations from their music library.

Plexamp users will be able to try out the features for free for three months before they see integration into the Plex Pass premium music package.

Plexamp for macOS is a free download from the Plex Labs website.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,296member
    Hmm... if they nail down this and photo management, with apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, etc. this may be a good replacement for the current Apple mess. I'll have to take a more serious look into this (besides just a server for some movies).
  • Reply 2 of 12
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,667member
    Sounds like you'll be disappointed, CG. As far as I can tell, Plexamp is just a player -- and one that requires you to sign in to (or create a) Plex account before you can use it, so that's strike one right there -- what's that for? Oh right, collecting data on what is listened to and who knows what else. "Free" app. This is what the lab has come up with? An inferior Vox? Seriously? Possibly I'm missing something, since I'm not going to allow the app to spy on me, but if "visualizations" is the big feature here, um no thanks.
    macguicgWerksjoaonimguem
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Plexamp...it really whips the llama's ass
    evilution
  • Reply 4 of 12
    cgWerks said:
    Hmm... if they nail down this and photo management, with apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, etc. this may be a good replacement for the current Apple mess. I'll have to take a more serious look into this (besides just a server for some movies).
    I concur with this sentiment wholeheartedly.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,464member
    chasm said:
    Sounds like you'll be disappointed, CG. As far as I can tell, Plexamp is just a player -- and one that requires you to sign in to (or create a) Plex account before you can use it, so that's strike one right there -- what's that for? Oh right, collecting data on what is listened to and who knows what else. "Free" app. This is what the lab has come up with? An inferior Vox? Seriously? Possibly I'm missing something, since I'm not going to allow the app to spy on me, but if "visualizations" is the big feature here, um no thanks.
    I concur with this sentiment wholeheartedly.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    chasm said:
    ... As far as I can tell, Plexamp is just a player -- and one that requires you to sign in to (or create a) Plex account before you can use it, so that's strike one right there -- what's that for? Oh right, collecting data on what is listened to and who knows what else. "Free" app. ...Possibly I'm missing something, since I'm not going to allow the app to spy on me, ....
    Good Lord. Take off the tin-foil hat. Do you think Plex (maliciously) cares what you're listening to? And why stop there? Call out your cable company for spying on what you watch or browse, or your credit card provider for seeing how much you spend on groceries, or AppleInsider for tracking your posts. We're living in the information age. You might have to make peace with that.
    jbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 12
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,170member
    As a lone time now Lifetime PLEX member, I'm a huge PLEX fan. I'm streaming PLEX on my Apple TV 4 all the time. I have access to my Music anywhere. It really works so well. I'll check out Plexamp. Not sure if I'd use it much, but still,....
  • Reply 8 of 12
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,296member
    chasm said:
    Sounds like you'll be disappointed, CG. As far as I can tell, Plexamp is just a player -- and one that requires you to sign in to (or create a) Plex account before you can use it, so that's strike one right there -- what's that for? Oh right, collecting data on what is listened to and who knows what else. "Free" app. This is what the lab has come up with? An inferior Vox? Seriously? Possibly I'm missing something, since I'm not going to allow the app to spy on me, but if "visualizations" is the big feature here, um no thanks.
    Yea, I've experimented some with Plex for videos, but the on-line nature is problematic. One night, the Internet was out and we wanted to watch a movie, and unless I have something setup wrong, it wouldn't let me play it (even though the files are on our local network). Is that normal?

    I'd really like a solution to eventually break free of Apple's mess though. I want my files (movies, music, photos... maybe books) on a 'server' with 'clients' on various devices to play them (stream) w/ ability to pull a copy local for off-line use (i.e.: phones, tablets, etc.). You'd think that shouldn't be a lot to ask, but it seems it is.

    gsteeno said:
    Good Lord. Take off the tin-foil hat. Do you think Plex (maliciously) cares what you're listening to? And why stop there? Call out your cable company for spying on what you watch or browse, or your credit card provider for seeing how much you spend on groceries, or AppleInsider for tracking your posts. We're living in the information age. You might have to make peace with that.
    Whatever the reason, why do they need such info for local files? My cable company doesn't know what I play from my Mac to an iDevice or TV. And, it isn't so much that any one of these places know that info... but it can start to get dangerous once aggregated. So, when those companies sell that data to Equifax, Google, Facebook, etc. pretty soon they know more about me than I do. Next the data gets leaked, and now all the criminals of the world know more about me than I do (including the big 3-letter ones).

    jbdragon said:
    As a lone time now Lifetime PLEX member, I'm a huge PLEX fan. I'm streaming PLEX on my Apple TV 4 all the time. I have access to my Music anywhere. It really works so well. I'll check out Plexamp. Not sure if I'd use it much, but still,....
    Then you'd know... does all this stuff run off-line? Or, do you have to have a connection to the Internet (and Plex) for it to work? (I'm fine if it connects from time to time, but it seemed to not work at all w/o a live Internet connection.)
  • Reply 9 of 12
    blah64blah64 Posts: 941member
    gsteeno said:
    chasm said:
    ... As far as I can tell, Plexamp is just a player -- and one that requires you to sign in to (or create a) Plex account before you can use it, so that's strike one right there -- what's that for? Oh right, collecting data on what is listened to and who knows what else. "Free" app. ...Possibly I'm missing something, since I'm not going to allow the app to spy on me, ....
    Good Lord. Take off the tin-foil hat. Do you think Plex (maliciously) cares what you're listening to? And why stop there? Call out your cable company for spying on what you watch or browse, or your credit card provider for seeing how much you spend on groceries, or AppleInsider for tracking your posts. We're living in the information age. You might have to make peace with that.
    Good lord is right.  Listen to yourself.

    Plex may or may not care what you're listening to, but you know damn well that other streaming services all want to have that data about you so they can build better personality profiles of their users.  And if you think they don't sell/share/trade this data you are woefully naive.  There is absolutely no reason they need to have an always-connected link to their servers for local playback.

    And cable companies spying on what you watch or browse?  You do know that it's *illegal* for them to gather data on what you watch on TV, right?  Why is that?  Because it's flat out not friggin' okay for companies to do shit like that.  It's so not okay that it's illegal.  And as for them watching everything that goes in and out of the internet to your house, that's what the FCC just relaxed laws on and something like 26 states have immediately started putting plans in place to re-enact laws to make that illegal again as well.  You picked some really BAD examples, but that's what lazy people do...

    Let's continue with your poor examples.  Is it really okay that credit/debit companies are able to see not just what you spend on groceries, but exactly what you buy, how much you buy, when you buy them, where you buy them, etc?  You're really okay with that?  Because multiple CEOs of data mining companies have gone on public record saying that when they buy alcohol or unhealthy foods they use cash to avoid being tracked.  I guess you're smarter than they are -- NOT.

    There is no peace to be made with this crap, it's the ugly part of the information age, and it will only change when consumers stop bending over and taking it in the ass every single day because they're too lazy to do anything about it.

    cgWerks
  • Reply 10 of 12
    blah64blah64 Posts: 941member
    Whatever the reason, why do they need such info for local files? My cable company doesn't know what I play from my Mac to an iDevice or TV. And, it isn't so much that any one of these places know that info... but it can start to get dangerous once aggregated. So, when those companies sell that data to Equifax, Google, Facebook, etc. pretty soon they know more about me than I do. Next the data gets leaked, and now all the criminals of the world know more about me than I do (including the big 3-letter ones).
    Indeed.  Way more of this sharing happens than people understand.  If you think Equifax is bad, look up Experian.  No single piece of data is necessarily a huge deal, but as you say, aggregation and disaggregation is where it's at these days.

    jbdragon said:
    As a lone time now Lifetime PLEX member, I'm a huge PLEX fan. I'm streaming PLEX on my Apple TV 4 all the time. I have access to my Music anywhere. It really works so well. I'll check out Plexamp. Not sure if I'd use it much, but still,....
    Then you'd know... does all this stuff run off-line? Or, do you have to have a connection to the Internet (and Plex) for it to work? (I'm fine if it connects from time to time, but it seemed to not work at all w/o a live Internet connection.)
    There's no way that should be happening/required, but it shows the kind of mindset many devs have these days.  Then again, same thing is happening on half the apps you likely have on your phone, sadly.  People just aren't aware of it.  It's not just the app makers that get the data, but many data mining libraries they embed from other companies.  It's sick.

    Consider something like Kodi (was XBMC) as a media player.  It can do streaming if you like, but you can also use it 100% as a local media player, which is what I do, and it works great for my purposes.  It's lightweight, can easily run on an old Mac mini, for example, or even on a Raspberry Pi.
    cgWerks
  • Reply 11 of 12
    Is not a music player (for your music) is another #### internet radio.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,296member
    blah64 said:
    Consider something like Kodi (was XBMC) as a media player.  It can do streaming if you like, but you can also use it 100% as a local media player, which is what I do, and it works great for my purposes.  It's lightweight, can easily run on an old Mac mini, for example, or even on a Raspberry Pi.
    Yea, I used to run MythTV years ago, but when my box went south, I moved on to just using AppleTV and our PS4, etc. Plex looked like a good solution to just stream stuff to them. But, it hasn't turned out like I thought.
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