Posted Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Clutter: A Fun Way to Look at Your Music

One of the few things that I miss about having a digital music library is the sense of a thing -- the ability to hold a physical package and look at it as music plays.

A very cool and very free utility, the cleverly named Clutter, has brought some measure of that back to me. And it puts iTunes 4's new album-artwork feature to work in a genuinely useful way.

Clutter screen shot
Clutter displays a CD's artwork in a "Now Playing" window and in the Mac OS X dock. But here's the slick part: drag the artwork from the Now Playing window on to your desktop, and Clutter creates a small button containing the artwork image. Double-click that button, and the CD begins playing back.

Having a party? Create a few on-screen stacks of your favorite CDs and let folks riffle through them. Have a few favorite discs? Stack them on your desktop, where they're just a couple of clicks away.

You can resize Clutter's buttons, stack them atop one another, or arrange them in any way you like. And when you're tired of the clutter, just quit the program, and the buttons disappear. (They reappear the next time you run Clutter.)

Oh, and if you don't have the artwork for a CD? Clutter will retrieve it from, and you can assign it the CD's tracks by simply choosing a command.

Clutter gives you a new way to look at your music. Highly recommended.