Ever since I began my quest for the ultimate minimalist Mac experience, I have failed to find an elegant and stable way to control iTunes without using the built-in controller. I thought the solution was in Bowtie, but, unfortunately, that app only provides elegance. After some time it becomes unresponsive. An update will supposedly be released soon, but my patience ran out.
Thankfully, I discovered SizzlingKeys, a simple, free way to use hotkeys to control iTunes. Although it isn’t as customizable as Bowtie.app, it still gets the job done without stealing any scarce real estate or eating up the processor. When you use a command, a tiny floating window appears to show you the currently playing song along with its album art.
As you can see in the screenshot below, I chose to use the Command and Option keys to initiate each basic control. If iTunes isn’t running when you use a command, SizzlingKeys can open it automatically.
The screenshot below is from the floating window options. Each time you control iTunes using SizzlingKeys, a lightweight window appears for a few seconds to show what song is playing before fading away.
Here you can see what my floating window looks like against a dark desktop background. You also get a tiny icon indicating what command was triggered. In this example, I paused the music.
There is a $5 pro version with additional features, but they are not necessary for casually listening to music.