Linux Music Players: Amarok vs. Clementine

Published on: July 28, 2010
Last Updated: July 28, 2010

Linux Music Players: Amarok vs. Clementine

Published on: July 28, 2010
Last Updated: July 28, 2010

Clementine is likely to build up similar support. However, currently, the only script or plugin in Clementine is a filter that adds the sound of a storm — something that seems so pointless that I can only assume it is a proof of concept.

Verdict: Amarok. Clementine simply isn’t advanced or old enough to compare in this category.

Amarok vs. Clementine: Additional Features, And Customization

The configuration features are where the two music player’s common origins are most obvious. Many of the settings and headings are next to identical.

The main difference is that Amarok has done more tidying, listing all online services under one heading, instead of separately, the way that Clementine does.

Clementine does have one feature that I would like to see in Amarok: the ability to convert massive numbers of files from one format to another.

Amarok’s team may reason that it is a music player, not an editor, but the conversion feature — which Clementine calls “transcode music” — can be useful, especially if you want to convert MP3s to a free format like Ogg Vorbis.

Verdict: Clementine. Transcoding could use a clearer name, but it is still a feature I envy.

Sometimes, Goliath Wins And David loses

At this stage in its development, Clementine cannot really match Amarok. It starts faster than Amarok, but not significantly faster.

Similarly, while it is more stable than some of the early Amarok 2 releases, it does not seem more stable than Amarok 2.3.1, the latest release.

Nor do I see any advantage — as some have — in the fact that Clementine uses SQLite, rather than MySQL.

Although Amarok’s connection to MySQL seemed chance early in the Amarok 2 series, that problem, too, has been corrected.

Now, it makes sense that Amarok should take advantage of the fact that MySQL is already installed for KDE, and use it as the default database.

Clementine does seem more lightweight than Amarok, so I would recommend it for older systems or ones with limited hard drive space. It is already better than many other music players, including GNOME’s Rhythmbox.

But a rival to Amarok? Get serious. I like Clementine, and plan to keep an eye on it, but, at this point, it requires either special pleading or long-established prejudices to argue that it has many advantages over modern Amarok.

In both Amarok and Clementine, you can right-click to edit tags, and can edit basic information such as release year or genre on all the tracks in an album at the same time.

But Amarok goes beyond the basics, with lyrics, statistics, and custom tags as possibilities.

Because you can permanently add this additional information, Amarok is automatically easier to search or to create automated playlists that satisfy you.

Verdict: Amarok. This is one situation where focusing on being complete is not just a preference, but a valuable feature.

Amarok vs. Clementine: Playlist Features

Clementine allows you to create and shuffle playlists, but, when you are building playlists, you are largely on your own.

This state of affairs is in marked contrast to Amarok, which can automatically create playlists based on every criteria listed in the tags, from artist and genre to song length or release date.

In the end, if you want a playlist that contains exactly what you want, you have to add tracks manually in Amarok, just as you do in Clementine.

All the same, Amarok’s automated playlists can generally create a playlist that you feel like listening to, provided you enter the criteria that you’re in the mood for.

Clementine does include tabs in the playlist pane, which are easier to switch between than dragging a new playlist from the source pane, which is what you have to do in Amarok.

However, the advantage is minimal, especially since most users of either music player are likely to be conditioned to look for playlists in the source pane anyway.

Verdict: Amarok. If the Clementine team has plans for automated playlists, they have yet to be implemented.

Amarok vs. Clementine: Context And Background

Both Amarok and Clementine allow you to collect covers so that you get more of the traditional listening experience.

However, Amarok is much more interested in giving listeners as much of the traditional experience as possible.

In addition to the cover manager, Amarok includes the middle context pane, where you can display such information as lyrics, artist photos, upcoming events that feature the artists and listing of similar artists.

It even offers Wikipedia entries as a substitute for linear notes.

So far, at least, Clementine shows no signs of providing any similar information.

In fact, although I could be wrong, my impression is that many of its users would prefer that it never does and considers such information unnecessary.

Technically, they are right, but the extras can be informative, and can help you to discover new artists or releases.

Besides, in Amarok, you can select the ones you want, or even hide the middle page altogether.

Verdict: Amarok. If you care about context, then it is another area where emphasizing completeness matters.

Amarok vs. Clementine: Scripts And Plugins

With several releases in the second series of releases, Amarok has built up a large ecosystem of scripts for online music and lyric sources, as well as minor pieces of functionality such as copying tracks.

Clementine is likely to build up similar support. However, currently, the only script or plugin in Clementine is a filter that adds the sound of a storm — something that seems so pointless that I can only assume it is a proof of concept.

Verdict: Amarok. Clementine simply isn’t advanced or old enough to compare in this category.

Amarok vs. Clementine: Additional Features, And Customization

The configuration features are where the two music player’s common origins are most obvious.

Many of the settings and headings are next to identical. The main difference is that Amarok has done more tidying, listing all online services under one heading, instead of separately, the way that Clementine does.

Clementine does have one feature that I would like to see in Amarok: the ability to convert massive numbers of files from one format to another.

Amarok’s team may reason that it is a music player, not an editor, but the conversion feature — which Clementine calls “transcode music” — can be useful, especially if you want to convert MP3s to a free format like Ogg Vorbis.

Verdict: Clementine. Transcoding could use a clearer name, but it is still a feature I envy.

Sometimes, Goliath Wins And David loses

At this stage in its development, Clementine cannot really match Amarok. It starts faster than Amarok, but not significantly faster.

Similarly, while it is more stable than some of the early Amarok 2 releases, it does not seem more stable than Amarok 2.3.1, the latest release.

Nor do I see any advantage — as some have — in the fact that Clementine uses SQLite, rather than MySQL.

Although Amarok’s connection to MySQL seemed chance early in the Amarok 2 series, that problem, too, has been corrected.

Now, it makes sense that Amarok should take advantage of the fact that MySQL is already installed for KDE, and use it as the default database.

Clementine does seem more lightweight than Amarok, so I would recommend it for older systems or ones with limited hard drive space. It is already better than many other music players, including GNOME’s Rhythmbox.

But a rival to Amarok? Get serious. I like Clementine, and plan to keep an eye on it, but, at this point, it requires either special pleading or long-established prejudices to argue that it has many advantages over modern Amarok.

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Written by Bobby

Bobby Lawson is a seasoned technology writer with over a decade of experience in the industry. He has written extensively on topics such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data analytics. His articles have been featured in several prominent publications, and he is known for his ability to distill complex technical concepts into easily digestible content.