Songs on your computer are stored as individual files, in one of a variety of formats (.mp3, .wav, .wma, and so on). The player software needs to “open” a file to play it. You can select songs or playlists from within your jukebox program, or you can select them from Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder.
The jukebox programs covered in this chapter give you several options for playing songs and playlists. Most of them allow you to play a song either by double-clicking it or by highlighting it and then clicking the “Play” button in the player window. The differences between these programs are more apparent in the way they handle playlists, which we will discuss momentarily.
To play a digital audio file (or playlist file) from Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder, just double-click the filename. If the player program is not already running, the system will launch the program associated with the file type (more on that later) and then play the file.
The player section of each jukebox program has buttons for common options, such as Play, Pause, Next Track, and Previous Track. In both iTunes and Media Jukebox, the “Play” button morphs into a “Pause” button once a song starts playing. When the song is stopped, the button then morphs back to “Play.” Nearby are a volume control and a slider that shows the track’s progress. You can drag the progress indicator to move forward or backward in the song.
Jukebox players have several modes. Loop and Repeat modes play the same song or playlist over and over again. Random (sometimes called Shuffle) mode plays songs in a random order, rather than in sequence. This feature is nice if you have a playlist with hundreds of songs, because it keeps you from getting bored by hearing the songs in the same order every time.