Harmony uses iTunes to play music without iTunes

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 5, 2008
Updated • Nov 10, 2017
Music, Music and Video

I don't know a lot of users who use the iTunes software by Apple to play music. Some use it to manage their music, subscribe to podcasts, transfer songs to their devices, or purchase music from the iTunes store.

Harmony is an experimental music player that is using information from iTunes and includes the so called Coverflow effect to create a visually pleasing experience. Harmony uses the information from iTunes to download covers for all music albums. This means that it may take a moment the first time you run the program, as Harmony attempts to identify albums and download matching covers from the Internet.

The covers are downloaded into a subdirectory of the Harmony root folder. That folder hat a size of more than 15 Megabytes after the first run on my computer containing cover artwork for more than 450 music albums. As I said earlier the music that is displayed is directly connected to iTunes. Harmony recognizes new albums and deleted ones and downloads cover art for the new and removes cover art for the old ones.

Once the album art has been downloaded the user can navigate through is record collection by flipping through them with the mouse or entering a search term in the search box at the top of Harmony. Music can be added to the playlist or played immediately, albums can be flipped through while playing music.

Harmony looks great but lacks several features that I like in a music player. Playlists can't be saved, there is no volume control or settings at all which is probably the biggest problem. Harmony does not play .aac or .m4a songs by default but a plugin is available that adds support for those two formats.

Update: Harmony is no longer available. It should not be confused with Harmony, a new music player that has the same name but shares no similarities with the retired Harmony other than that.

Harmony uses iTunes to play music without iTunes
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Harmony uses iTunes to play music without iTunes
Harmony was a media player for Windows that tapped into iTunes music database, and combined it with automatic album cover downloads.
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  1. Justin said on November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The warning message about AAC streams when you load streams is because you don’t have the free Orban AAC/aacPlus Player Plugin installed.


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Justin, thanks for the information.

  2. santosh said on December 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

    does this support AAC ? or only mp3 streaming

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

      I’d say it supports all pls streams but I have not tried that so cannot verify it 100%.

  3. Barnabas said on August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you Martin for a most informative and viable solution (it allowed me to play streams from a Netherland internet radio station in my WMP)! Continued success to you!

    Barnabas (USA)

  4. AppleRome said on October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Your steps’ recommendation is still valid until 7th October 2012.. Thank you very much !!

  5. Laura said on December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you!

  6. sak2005 said on December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    You must convert file.pls to file.m3u
    because file.pls open with winamp and file.m3u open with wmp.

  7. Lithium said on February 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    2017 still kicking on Windows 7
    Thx a ton

  8. Dennis said on April 18, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Hey, even i can do it, i stumbled through it and it works great! The only instruction advice i will add as i had to figure this out, when the wmp box opens that says save or open the bar on right says wmp click that drop down and select “open pls in wmp” once you do that it will work . Took me quite some time to discover that as i am no computer expert by any means. Having said that, previously i had downloaded codec packages and something about aac. None did any good. This rocks, i listen to a lot of internet radio and a number of them have dropped flash player and getting wmp to work had been a nightmare. So many thanks for this great solution to another problem that Micro-Hell will not even address. Peace- Out

  9. stephen marshall said on March 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    openplsinwmp came in a zip file. I unpacked it, and didn’t find anything that looks like an executable, and even the files in the “doc” folder were in a format windows didn’t recognize. I’m not stupid. you said it would open effortlessly. It didn’t. This a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down.

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