Why did music visualizers disappear? (Actually, they didn’t)

“I would like to talk about music visualizers, those wild and trippy things that came loaded with your favorite media player of choice back in the early ’00s,” Steve Rousseau writes for Digg.

“Last week I had a minor revelation. What if, instead of using a computer screen to remind me how scatterbrained and disorganized my life is, I could use it to just look at something. Something that wouldn’t be distracting, but that I could just put my eyes on when I’m trying to sort through some thoughts in my head. I listen to music almost all day long, so what if I just put a music visualizer on there? An idle curiosity of 2003 was now to be my workplace productivity boon in 2019,” Rousseau writes. “And then I ran into an issue. Spotify doesn’t have one.”

“A little more than a decade ago, this wouldn’t have been a problem,” Rousseau writes. “And then the iPod came. Sure, iTunes, still to this day, has a visualizer, but the introduction of a device that let you take all of your music with you anywhere suddenly made Winamp skins and visualization presets look, well, juvenile… As late as 2014, the Spotify app had a visualizer, albeit a hidden one. Today, the best visual experience it can muster is a full-screen display of the album art with a drop shadow.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, if you’re using the right software and services, your music visualizer is still right there. Rousseau talks of Spotify’s 30 million tracks that don’t have visualizer. Steve needs to upgrade to a bigger, more comprehensive streaming music service. Apple Music offers 50 million tracks and iTunes still offers a very nice visualizer.

iTunes > View > Visualizer
iTunes > View > Visualizer


  1. I’ve been wondering this myself. With today’s graphical hardware, music visualizers could be mind-blowing. The generic iTunes visualizer is crap and boring. There were better visualizers available for Winamp. But I think the real reason is… almost nobody listens to their music collection on their computers anymore. The phone is just a more convenient music player in every way. It’s why iTunes used to be the dominant music player of choice, but now hardly anybody remembers that iTunes was a thing.

  2. A little off topic but related. Apple use to have lots of screensavers for Mac, but this has been cut back to only a few lame ones. I would like to see some things with the quality of the AppleTV screensavers on the Mac (as just one example).

    1. “Aerial – Apple TV Aerial Views Screen Saver

      Aerial is a Mac screensaver based on the Apple TV screensaver that displays the Aerial movies Apple shot over New York, San Francisco, Hawaii, China, etc. Starting with version 1.4, this also includes the new ISS videos available in tvOS 12!

      Aerial is completely open source.”


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