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Here are five iTunes 10 alternatives to easily manage your iPod

When you think of iTunes, you might think of cumbersome, slow, and bloated software that is not always the easiest to use. If you're looking for something that will make it easier for you to manage iPod content, today we're looking at some free and commercial alternatives.

Even with the recent release of iTunes 10, speed and performance has not been addressed in any meaningful way. We've listed some tips on how to make iTunes run faster. However, if you're a geek who wants as little to do with iTunes as possible, here are some quality alternatives.

CopyTrans Manager

This is a free app that lets you transfer your songs from your computer to an iPod, iPod Touch, or iPhone. After a quick and easy installation, it will launch and you can connect your iPod, iPod Touch / iPhone.

We were then able to add playlists to CopyTrans, manage and sync them with the iPod. You can add and delete music, videos, podcasts, and more. It's lightweight and great for managing your music collection without iTunes. You can also listen to the music on your computer with an iPod or iOS device connected.

They also offer a stand-alone version that you can use on your iPod and listen to your music on any computer without having to authorize them through iTunes.

Download the CopyTrans Manager

Foobar2000

Foobar2000 is a personal favorite because it conserves system resources and is a fully customizable player. In order for it to work with your iPod, you'll need to install a few free components in order for it to sync. The two components you will need are the iPod Manager and the Nero AAC Codec.

For detailed step-by-step instructions, see our article on Using Your iPod with Foobar2000.

MediaMonkey

Another good alternative is either the free standard version of MediaMonkey or the gold version, which requires a license. You can instantly manage your iPod without additional extensions and play a wide variety of music formats including FLAC, MP3, APE, AAC and more.

For more information, see our article on Using Media Monkey as an iTunes Alternative to Manage Your iPod.

Songbird

Songbird has come a long way in fact, and if you left the default settings during installation, it will work with your iPod from the factory too. During setup, make sure to import your iTunes library.

Now you can choose whether you want to sync all music files automatically or selected playlists manually.

You can also simply drag and drop songs from your music collection onto your iPod.

It also has loads of other cool features, including various skins, or "feathers," as Songbird calls them. Along with many plugins to improve your music experience.

SharePod

SharePod is a useful tool that allows you to transfer music and videos from your iPod, iPod Touch or iPhone to your PC and vice versa.

Select the songs you want to copy to your PC and click on Copy to Computer in the navigation bar. Then choose a location on your hard drive, choose what you want the music to look like, and you can import songs into iTunes as needed.

SharePod doesn't require installation, so you can run it from a USB stick, which is always useful. After you've copied your pieces of music, you can move them where you want them.

It has a simple media player that you can use to play your songs from your iPod as well.

One limitation we noticed was when we tried to copy media to an iPod Touch with iOS 4.1 we received the following error message. This is a project that is constantly evolving. Therefore, the problem will likely be addressed in future releases. We didn't have an iPod without iOS to test. However, if you've been successful with the Nano, Shuffle, or any older generation device, let us know in the comments.

Commercial software

We've also covered some commercial apps that will let you manage your iPod data without iTunes. Start with TouchCopy 09, which works on Mac and PC, and use your iPod as a hard drive.

Another handy utility for managing and cleaning up a messy iTunes collection is TuneUp Media, which offers a free, limited version as well as an annual and gold service.

It is really unfortunate that we have to find other alternatives to iTunes to better manage the music on our iPods. With the introduction of iTunes 10, we hoped for wireless syncing and a streamlined user interface. It wasn't the case, however, and iTunes 10 could be called the old piece of bloated software that it always was. If you want to make iTunes 10 a little easier, check out our step-by-step guide on how to install iTunes without the additional bloatware.

Also, check out Ed Bott's unofficial guide on how to install iTunes 10 without bloatware.

If you'd like to stay on iTunes to access For more information about the iTunes Store and other features like Home Sharing, see our "Ways to Make iTunes Faster" article. By using various alternatives, you can get by with iTunes as little as possible for updates and the iTunes Store. Of course, if you have an iOS device, you can access many devices directly from your device.

While the apps we covered here do a good job of managing your iPod, there are plenty of other apps that we haven't covered here. What is your opinion? Tired of iTunes and looking for an alternative? Leave us a comment and let us know what you are using.