A Music App Shouldn't Be a Podcast Appby Cassidy James

Many popular music apps handle not only music, but podcasts. The thinking goes that since both are comprised of MP3s (or other audio files), that they should be handled in the same app.

The elementary Music app

The mental models between a music app and a podcast app are vastly different, though. I don't go, “Hmm, I want to listen to one or more MP3s. Do I want that to be a series of songs, or a podcast?”

I go, “Hmm, I want to listen to some music,” or, “I want to listen to a podcast.”

Just because one underlying piece of technology is the same doesn't mean it needs to be the same app. Especially when you start to consider the unique aspects of podcasts like subscribing, downloading, streaming, video, etc. It's just a whole different monster.

Vocal, an upcoming podcast app

This is why I'm excited to see the third-party app Vocal being developed. It's a podcast app through and through. The elementary Music app can stay dedicated to organizing and playing music, while Vocal can take all of those podcast duties and rock at them.

Originally published on Cassidy's personal blog. Cross-posted here with permission.

Published April 8th, 2014


Garrett Hylltun 8 months ago

I like the apps that come with it… Though a few bumps in them here and there.  I would love to use Music, but, I just started using Elementary OS and I have a good sized music collection with playlists in m3u format.  Music doesn’t have an import playlist feature.  Having to create my lists all over again(with right click > select playlist) is going to be a task that I’m not looking forward to.  As well, not being able to just drag and drop music from the right onto a playlist to add it to that playlist is also holding me back.  Otherwise it is a functional and pleasant to use program.  I ended up using Banshee for now.  But if Music gets some of the features I noted, I would be more than happy to use Music instead.

Geary is nice but also needs some work.  I actually use Geary for now, but would love to be able to add my Hotmail and AOL mail accts to it.  I can only use my Gmail accts and my Yahoo acct now.

No note taking app or Contacts app… A must need and would like both apps in Elementary OS style.  I would like to use Springseed, but even it has some barriers to overcome.  Having to use markdown language is to say politely, annoying.  No support for inserting images locally or any other files, unless they are online resources.  :-(

Calendar… Needs the ability to import vcal or ical files.  Can’t use it because it would require me to hand input a ton of yearly events.  Not looking forward to the task of that either.  Not using any calendar program right now due to this.  I don’t use any online calendars, such as gmail or any of the others.  I don’t like my stuff being stored online, including contacts.

I don’t see or feel a need to modify much of anything.  Though I do wish the tweaks program was part of the system along with themes that fit the concept and intent of Elementary OS.  The only other tweaking I would love to see is a menu program for Slingshot.  I needed a category for some of my own home made apps and had to do it by hand.  As well as setting up launchers for them.  Ended up using LibreMenu to get programs in what I feel are appropriate categories.

I understand your desire to try and keep Elementary OS from being molested.  I so fell head of heals for it that I dumped two Windows boxes to install Elementary OS on them.  And also dumped a netbook with Xubuntu for Elementary OS.  There is no longer any computers running Windows here, all because all of us liked it just the way it is(with the exception of my few notes here).

Now, I don’t know how to program in Vala(I use PureBasic.. Don’t laugh at me!  It’s a great language, at least to me), but if the programs I mention are not going to be further developed, then I will either find alternatives or simply write my own apps.  But if you wish people not to promote molesting the system, then it would be imperative to at least insure that the programs that ship with the system are up to speed with the needs of the users.

Regardless of any perceived limitations or my opinions right now, I have made Elementary OS my sole and permanent OS from this point on.  My family and I are at the mercy now of those of you who develop and maintain Elementary OS, we are in it for the long haul and can only hope and cross our fingers that Elementary OS doesn’t fall victim to statistics.  I’m getting too old to be constantly installing new distros here.  I only wish I had more mainstream programming skills, then I would love to help out.

Lastly… Thank you so very much for making Elementary OS!  :-)  I haven’t been this taken by an OS since GeoWorks Ensemble(back in the days of 5.25 floppies and MFM drives rockin on a 286.. Woot!)

pannet1 8 months ago

search for gedit plugins brought me here because someone commented about gedit here. So scratch got many of the its parts from gedit why not the plugins also (from gedit-plugins package).

Robert Kovacs 9 months ago

I hope someone from elementary will see this comment: You have to bring new posts, and some updates on Isis or you will start loosing users… and that’s a shame. Atleast bring new posts on this “Journal”, atleast once a month.. people really start to think that the website is dead.. You are an awesome team there but you need to keep up.

LMH 9 months ago

check out the following sites for “inofficial” news, questions, articles ...:


Robert Kovacs 9 months ago

Thank you!

Saed Ahmad 10 months ago

When will release Isis ?
I can’t wait

Nicholas Maguire 10 months ago

Any updates?  I’m very excited for Isis :3

mammlouk 10 months ago

The only issue I have with this, which seems to be something that doesn’t matter to anyone else, is that I still use an iPod Classic for my regular media consumption. This means podcasts, mp3 music, audiobooks, and anything else you can think of all need to be managed by the same app in order to handle syncing with my iPod. I’m pretty sure we all know that syncing an iPod with Linux is not something that always goes quite as well as you might hope. Adding more pieces like partial syncing of data based on different applications handling those files is just begging for trouble.

winston3d 10 months ago

Will be better if you change Mirodi. It display sites incorrect. Very wide and blurred.

Hike Mellem 11 months ago

the good, the storm is much to little case! let staff work! free galley deck! there other programs out there ... just u choose any of your choice!

dinamic 11 months ago

How should I handle all my podcast which is 99% music mixes ? Do I need to play my music in two different applications ?

Mike123b 10 months ago

Yes.  And if you’re unhappy with that, you can write you’re own app.  The software is free, made by people who donate countless hours to it’s success.  If you want something that does everything poorly instead of one thing, and one thing exceedingly well - switch back to windows.

yzlyd 11 months ago


AnakLaut 11 months ago

just another option

cyrano 11 months ago

I agree with Elementary team. None of you listen to podcasts and stored music at the same time. No one must get into a shop to listen to music. So why on Earth should I get a store attached to my music player? Why can’t you switch from one app to another instead of changing tabs? Is it THAT much strenuous to open a podcast app to listen to them, and a music player for your stored music?

Let’s just get things simple. If you want everything together, why not assemble everything, then? After all, one loves to write and listen to music at the same time. Let’s merge Office suites and music players and podcasts!

As you can see, there is no definite option or solution. People have different needs. If you keep it simple, those who want more can get more. If you keep it all stuck together, people who want less won’t be able to. I want to get less, so please let me be. Thanks, EOS team!

P.S: Now all I need is to get a less buggy Noise. I removed it for now, it is unusable. Sorry, but it is. But that’s another thread.

flan_suse 11 months ago

I agree with this viewpoint, however, it appears elementary OS’s strong points (unification, integration, consistent look, feel, and behavior) breaks upon installing third-party applications (e.g, Google Chrome, Firefox, gPodder, Banshee, and so on.)

The only “solution” to avoid this issue is to create an application for EVERY need in-house that is superior (or “good enough”) over the third-party alternatives. So far, elementary OS has not reached this level.

We’ll see what Isis has to offer!

cyrano 11 months ago

Indeed, it’s not an easy task. Nevertheless, Noise, Midori, Plank are recent projects and all have gathered lots of interest from ubuntu and other distros users. Their ideia of providing integrated apps is more consistent with the proposal of offering Vocal for podcasts than of providing an all-in-one clunky “solution” such as Banshee.

runej 11 months ago

Whatever the elementary team is doing design- and/or accessability-wise seems to always fill my needs, so consequently, the question is not (for me) whether it’s best to separate applications into APPs or not, but whether these APPs are without bugs.
Elementary can for example release a net radio APP, and I will use that instead of Clementine - if it is without bugs.
It’s also the main reason I use gEdit instead of Scratch, because it doesn’t have as many bugs…
So design in that way doesn’t matter that much to me, it’s all in the “is this program behaving without giving any non-expected error messages or shutting down abruptly”.
However, I would suggest, if elementary is for real aiming at single APP, that the window manager is rebuild or extended accordingly. As os now, you can only resize automatigally half the screen for a program (two programs using exactly 50% of the screen width). With more single-focused tasks, more apps will be open at a time, so it should be possible to use also fx. automatic 1/4 of the screen or something automatically. Maybe also divide in the height, not just the width.

Parameter 11 months ago

The window manager you described is called tiling window manager, and I don’t think elementary should take that approach. If you feel the need for it, just install a different window manager, such as i3wm or awesome.

runej 11 months ago

No, I’m not going to change any of the eOS internals with a 3rd party program. I think it’s a wrong path.
Why do you think it’s a bad idea with tiling?
Could be made as a plugin to Tweaks, and wouldn’t affect standard user then.

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