Third Annual iOS Music Player Competition

"Dot Music" iOS app icon Dot Music

Image of "Dot Music" light theme album view Image of "Dot Music" light theme player view
Image of "Dot Music" dark theme album view Image of "Dot Music" dark theme player view

Among the few new players introduced this year is Dot Music, an incredibly simple, general-purpose player. Much like Picky and Cs 5, it leverages a “no-nonsense” interface that’s strongly reminiscent of iOS 6’s Music.app, but in this case provides little else novel beyond that.

It features standard iOS tab bar navigation with the usual suspects (“Artists”, “Albums”, “Songs”, “Playlists”, and “Settings”). Every one of these views functions exactly as you’d expect and nothing more, save for the Material Design-inspired play and shuffle buttons that appear above the tab bar, when appropriate. The player view’s a similar story; aside from the curious choice to left-align the track’s metadata, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy to be found.

Dot Music’s settings are sparse, providing some minor configuration options to allow showing track length or album year, hiding explicit flags or playlist controls, and enabling the ability to play a random album on shake. There’s also a reasonable collection of alternative icons and the ability to customize the app’s accent color, much like in Cs.

That covers it; there’s so little of interest here I’m quite frankly at a loss of what else to say. It’s the only player on this list I’d feel comfortable calling a rip-off, in this case of Cs’s original 5.0 design from last year. In fact, Dot Music is so visually similar to Cs 5 I’m not sure I could distinguish one from the other at a moment’s glance, given the same accent color.

Image of Cs in light mode Image of Dot Music in light mode Image of Cs in dark mode Image of Dot Music in dark mode
One is Dot Music, the other is Cs 5. Can you tell which was which at a glance? I sure couldn’t.

One could argue that general-purpose players will naturally look and behave the same, but I reject that premise; there are plenty of general-purpose players, but Power Player, Picky, Cs, and others all brought their own wildly unique voices and feature sets to the table for their initial releases despite all sharing the same, general-purpose goal. Dot Music did not. I’m not exactly sure what problem Dot Music is trying to solve, and I’m not entirely sure it does, either.

Widgets

Dot Music provides two widget collections to choose from with a single size variation for each.

Compared to the widgets provided by other players, Dot Music’s “Now Playing” widget collection leaves a lot to be desired. While the square “Now Playing” widget is perfectly fine, the rectangle widget does nothing to justify its larger size. While other players fill the extra space either with more metadata or playback controls (in Albums case, even both), all Dot Music does is stretch the widget box to fill the extra space. The example above demonstrates this issue, the entire right section of the larger widget is an empty void of sadness where interesting things could be shown.

Then, there’s Dot Music’s “Favorites” widgets, which display the albums you’ve favorited in the app. The widget can be customized to either immediately begin playing tapped albums or shoot you to that particular album’s view in the app. You can also adjust the number of columns displayed in the large widget, but curiously this option is absent for its smaller counterpart. Unfortunately, neither have an option to show the album title.

Personal Score Card

  • :heavy_check_mark: Light & dark themes
  • :heavy_check_mark: iPad support
  • :x: Lyrics support
  • :x: Discovery features
  • :x: Beautiful or visually engaging player view
  • :x: Album-focused features
    • :x: Proper sorting
    • :x: Album grid view
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