It used to be that listening to music on the computer was a chore. You had to pile all of your tunes into a big spreadsheet looking program that let you listen to your songs, but not until you read through the titles of every track that you had no desire of listening to. Fortunately, that changed when Sonora came around. Those who chose to get Sonora enjoyed a visually appealing music player with a lasting legacy on OS X devices.

Before we begin, it should be noted that this is not the official website of Sonora, as we are merely dedicated fans of music and listening to music. We remember the days before Sonora and want to Get Sonora and its history into the spotlight as it deserves.

Music Playback History

Playing music on a computer used to be a hassle. You had to find a way to download your music, put it into a music player app, and from there you were stick with an experience that looked more like an Excel spreadsheet than an app where you were going to play music. Music is a source of fun and enjoyment to so many people, yet that enjoyment did not show up when you went to play your music, even on the most high-profile music players.

This was even true when it came to iTunes. Despite being the default music player for OS X devices, enjoying music on iTunes happened in spite of iTunes, rather than because of it. The interface of iTunes showed a wall of text, with columns for the artist of each song in your library, along with the name of each song, and other information related to each track. There was no visual appeal to the player, nothing interesting about the app, and nothing to look forward to except for your music.

Sonora: A New Way To Listen

After all of the bad experiences people were having with iTunes and the rest of the music players out there, something needed to step up and change the game. That something was Sonora, which changed the way that music was listened to from a computer, focusing on visually appealing listening rather than just playing the songs and not caring about whether or not everything going on around the music was boring.

The main way that Sonora changed the music player game was by introducing album art prominently throughout the music playing process. The app showed tiles of album art for you to flip through to find the songs that you wanted to play, instead of the big spreadsheet-like grid of artist names, song names, and other information about each song. This was smart, given how people listen to music.

Just about all of the time, you already know the name of an artist and the name of the songs that you are trying to listen to if you took the time to download them and put them into your computer. You also probably know the album art of the songs that you are interested in listening to, and that is a much more fun way to look through the songs in your catalog. With Sonora, you were able to use album art to find the songs you wanted to play, for a much better experience than with other music players.

Downloading Sonora

Sonora was initially available for download for a cost of $9.99 when it first came out, requiring users to pay for the ability to listen to music that they had already paid for presumably. While the $10 price tag was not unreasonable, it was still more costly than something like iTunes that came with OS X devices and only required users to pay to purchase their music. Eventually, Sonora realized that they needed to change that and they did.

Down the road, you could get Sonora for free as an open source app, which meant that people were able to take the source code of the program and modify it to make improvements to it, which other users could then download for their own enjoyment. To this day, Sonora is still available for download at Github or other sites for open source file sharing.

The move to open source was a smart one, as forcing users to pay for an app was difficult to justify when they could instead just use a free music player. While the ability to view music via album covers was great, it may not have been worth paying for to some users, which meant that Sonora had to adapt to the demands of the market, which they smartly did.

Sonora Features

The features list of Sonora wasn't overly long, as there are only so many different things that you can do with a music player, but the app had plenty of good things going for it, which made it worth using when listening to your favorite songs. In addition to the ability to view music through the lens of album art, there were plenty of other things that made Sonora great.

One such thing that made Sonora so enjoyable to use was the ability to queue up your music. It used to be that when you wanted to listen to music on your favorite music player that you needed to select one song and then sit and wait while the player automatically played the next song in your list or for the previous song to end so you could manually select another one. Sonora changed all of that, instead allowing listeners to queue up their music ahead of time, and not necessarily in a rigid list, allowing listeners to make truly customized playlists for maximum music enjoyment.

Sonora also let people listen to music in multiple different file formats. While the .mp3 was a common file format at the time, music was occasionally transmitted in other formats such as OGG. This made it easier to listen to your favorite music, as you did not need to convert files that may have needed to be converted with other music players. The end result was an easier to use app that allowed for more listening and less messing with the technology end of it.

Legacy of Sonora

Sonora carries with it a legacy that is palpable throughout the music listening community, as plenty of other apps have since done what Sonora was doing to create an excellent music curating experience. In a way, this makes Sonora a pioneer of the music player industry, and has made Sonora responsible for improving the day to day life of many avid music enthusiasts.

Sonora's use of album art instead of a grid of song information caught on quickly, with plenty of other music apps adopting that practice after the fact. In fact, iTunes itself made that switch after seeing Sonora do it first, as iTunes gave users the option to view album art or look at things the old fashioned way. Apple has put a big emphasis on this practice across the board, with their iPhones displaying album art on the lock screen when a user is listening to music. Those things, while subtle, make a big difference to a music listener's experience, and Apple owes Sonora a debt of gratitude for showing them the way on that front.

The legacy of Sonora is also one of altruism of sorts. Normally, when something gets popular, the people behind it try to cash in by raising their prices or making it more exclusive in some way to increase demand. What Sonora did instead was remove pricing from the equation, taking an app that was nearly $10 and making it free and open source. If other app creators did things the same way as those behind Sonora, the world would be a better place.

At the end of the day, music players seem like they are all created equal on the surface, as they can all play music to help you go about your day. But not all music players are created equal, as evidenced by Sonora. With a visually appealing interface and the ability to enjoy more than just the music that you are playing, this app was worth every penny, whether you got it at the $10 price point or for free as open source software. While there are many things to remember about Sonora, its ability to be worth your time and money is the most important.