The latest version of multimedia streaming software Audials One makes some welcome improvements on previous releases, with just a few quirks remaining from the 2019 version.
If you're not familiar with the name, Audials One is essentially a one-stop shop for all your music, TV and movie streaming needs. You can use it to stream from Apple Music, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, and almost any other service you can think of, all through a single interface. It's fantastically convenient, and makes finding songs, shows and movies far easier than using a separate app for each service.
The software retails at $49.90/£39.90/AU$81.05, but there are discounts available if you're upgrading from an older version.
Radio and recording
It's not all about streaming services, though; Audials One also recreates the time-honored tradition of recording your favorite songs from the radio by letting you download tracks as they're played on thousands of online radio stations.
The software can 'listen out' for specific tracks in a wishlist and download them as they're played live. It's a slightly crafty way to expand your music collection, as recording from live radio stations is typically considered fair game (though laws do vary between countries). Audials has improved that autocomplete suggestions for wishlists in Audials 2020, which is a great timesaver.
Fancy listening to a radio station live, rather than just a single song? Again, Audials One has you covered. The sheer number of stations available could have been a nightmare to navigate, but thankfully the huge list is broken down into sensible categories (pop, rock, chillout etc), which are then split into more esoteric genres. You can also look for stations by country, and there's a solid search tool if you have something more specific in mind.
If a station plays an advertisement before playback begins, Audials One 2020 will label it with the word 'Ads' to warn you.
That's not the only new addition in the 2020 release, either; if you're a Spotify user, you'll be pleased to know that you can now drag and drop multiple playlists into Audials One, and download speeds are vastly improved.
TV and movies
On the video front, not only can Audials One 2020 pull in content from any streaming service you've subscribed to, it also lets you watch whole playlists without ads. Audials has worked with Google to make sure this feature is all above-board and legitimate, and it's far more convenient than trying to download videos one at a time using a standalone YouTube downloader.
You don't have to search each streaming service separately, either. If you know what you'd like to watch, just type it into the main search bar and Audials One 2020 will find and pool results from all of them.
Of course, downloading huge amounts of content means your media library could easily get out of hand, but thankfully Audials 2020 offers excellent automatic tagging, and automatically adds any missing metadata wherever possible.
One of our complaints about Audials One 2019 (and there weren't many) was that the interface felt a little cluttered. This is understandable considering just how much information needs to be displayed on-screen at any one time, but could sometimes make navigating and finding the details you wanted a challenge.
It's a little disappointing that Audials 2020 still uses the messy looking 'similar artists' spider diagram we remember from previous versions of the software. The 'Music zoom' feature, which shows related artists and their position in respect to different genres, is quite confusing - not least due to hyper-niche labels like 'heavy Christmas' and 'deep Swedish hip-hop'.
The 'Bot' tool, which creates and downloads playlists for you based on a certain artist or radio station, is much more straightforward, compiling a list of suggestions and downloading a certain number of tracks for you with only a couple of clicks. It's a great way to find new music you're likely to enjoy.
It's excellent to see Audials continuing to iterate and improve its software each year, taking feedback from users on board, and Audials One 2020 is its strongest release so far.
The developers are having to work fast to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of TV and music streaming, and as ever more companies jump into the fray, tools like Audials One are going to become hugely important.