Although it hasn't exactly exploded into the mainstream music-listening population at large, the music-sharing application Simplify Media (download it for Windows or Mac) is a fan favorite of several CNET editors and staffers.
Simplify Media has always allowed you to listen to your iTunes playlists on the road or share them with friends. Yesterday, it announced support for the popular digital-music jukebox app Winamp for Windows.
When you install Simplify Media, you must choose whether it will work with Winamp or iTunes playlists. Those of us who occasionally use both apps and thought we might be able to consolidate playlists are out of luck. You can, however, change your preferred playlist program after installation.
After setup and a restart of Winamp, you'll now see a "Simplify Media" selection in your left-hand navigation. Expand it, and you can browse all of the music available from you and your friends. A separately running Simplify Media application accessible via the Windows taskbar lets you add other friends with Simplify Media accounts and customize the program settings.
Claims of resource hogging and installation headaches are somewhat valid. Installing Simplify Media on Windows will likely require Apple Bonjour. It's included in the Simplify Media installation, but the 13kbps download and subsequent install grated the nerves. Memory use was fairly stable for me, but running Simplify Media, Winamp, and Simplify Media Peer (the process that streams media from your friends or remote computers) together uses more than a fair chunk of RAM.
Make no mistake with the minor quibbles. Simplify Media is an excellent and simple method of sharing music collections and playlists with friends or yourself in remote locations. It took only 15 to 20 minutes for me to share thousands of audio tracks and all of my playlists with another computer running Winamp. I can only hope that the developers continue to stabilize the app and add support for even more players and platforms.