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Spotify and iTunes song information in your menu bar, along with playback controls and cover art, all from a lightweight, open-source app
While they are fundamentally different in many ways, Spotify and iTunes have one thing in common – there is no way to keep track of what is currently playing or control playback from the menu bar. After so many years, and so many third-party apps, one would expect such a feature to be added by the devs, but we've heard nothing about it so far.
SpotMenu is one of the third-party solutions I mentioned, and it might just be the best one out there. It allows you to see what is playing by showing the song’s title, artist and album in the menu bar, while also displaying the cover art and putting playback controls at your disposal via a minimalistic UI.
View song info and manage playback from the menu bar
Once you’ve installed the application and given it the required permissions, you will see each song’s title, artist and album in the menu bar. You can customize what is displayed, as well as disable the SpotMenu and playing icons, which some may see as unnecessary.
When you click the text, the song’s cover art will be displayed in a small window, which disappears when you click anywhere else. When hovering over the art, the app will bring up the timeline and playback controls. You can pause/resume the song, skip to the next or previous track, and jump to a certain position along the timeline.
Works seamlessly with both Spotify and iTunes
SpotMenu doesn’t require any advanced configurations. Provided you’ve given it permission to control Spotify and iTunes, you can just start playing any song, and it will be detected by the app. An icon in the menu bar indicates the current audio source, and you can switch between players without any issues.
It is worth noting that only a certain amount of text can be displayed in the menu bar at a time. If the song’s title and artist name are particularly long, the text will be scrolled horizontally. Disabling the album info and icons will keep scrolling to a minimum.
Today extension and a helpful hotkey
SpotMenu comes with an optional widget that can be added to the Today view, providing the same functionality as the regular menu bar app.
The application can also display the current song’s title, artist and album on your desktop when using the Ctrl+Shift+M hotkey (not Ctrl+Cmd+M, as is indicated in the app’s Preferences). This feature can be helpful if you’ve disabled song info while playback is paused, as it lets you see what will be played when you resume.
To conclude, SpotMenu is a well-designed open-source app that makes it easier to manage playback and keep track of what is currently playing in Spotify and iTunes. It is unobtrusive and intuitive, and it offers quite a few customization options.