The watchword in technology today seems to be simplicity. Popular applications such as Twitter and Spotify are designed to be intuitive and to allow a user to jump right in and use them without training or tutorials.
Tomahawk may be at a disadvantage in this simplified world because it’s more complex. However, it more than makes up for its initial complexity by making your life easier in the long run. If you listen to music on your PC or laptop, Tomahawk can transform your entire listening experience.
At first glance, Tomahawk looks like just another media player. Like iTunes or Winamp, Tomahawk allows you to play all the music you keep on your PC. However, if you install the app’s content resolvers, Tomahawk opens up a whole new music-listening experience. Suddenly, you can listen to music from all kinds of streaming sources, such as Spotify or YouTube.
All you do is request a song. If you have it stored on your own system, Tomahawk will access it and play it just like any other media player would. If you don’t own the song, the app will search all the content sources you subscribe to as well as free sources or your Tomahawk friends systems, until it finds the music you want to hear.
The possibilities are endless. You can listen to music belonging to your friends or listen to music you have on your work computer or on your girlfriend’s laptop. While some potential sources require you to be a subscriber before you can access their music catalogues, chances are you already have a subscription to at least one of them already. With Tomahawk, you don’t have to switch services in order to access all your favorite music.
Installing the content resolvers is the main thing that stands between a lot of Tomahawk users and virtually all the music in the world. It’s easy enough to get these plug-ins, although it might not be obvious to the casual Tomahawk user.
There are two ways to do it. Access the Tomahawk page, then choose the resolvers you want from the list shown. Alternatively, go to Tomahawk, click on Preferences, choose Resolvers and complete the installation. Choose Local Network to play music from your own computers. Extended Network allows you access to music stored on your Tomahawk friends’ systems as long as they are running the app when you request the song.
The new Tomahawk 0.3.3 gives you the option of listening to the same songs at the same time as your friends. It also lets you make your own radio stations that play music from all your sources or from any of them that you choose.
The best thing about Tomahawk is that it’s free. It’s an open source project that was created to solve the problems music lovers face today. According to its designer, the biggest problem listeners deal with is having their content spread across numerous different interfaces. Some of your favorite songs are on Spotify, for example, and some are on YouTube, while some are stored on your own system. You can listen to anything you want, but you have to switch interfaces in order to do so. Tomahawk gives you access to everything at the same time.
Tomahawk is not without limitations, however. If you want to direct songs to Apple AirPlay speakers, you’ll have to wait until OS X starts offering native AirPlay support. You won’t be able to find versions for your Android or your iPhone, either, and Tomahawk’s developer has no real timeline in place for making either one available. If the current trends in mobile devices remain steady, though, it’s a safe bet Tomahawk will adjust with the times.