Paloma is a program to manage a database of digital music files and facilitate their retrieval and playback in interesting ways. It works with music files of any form--mp3 files, ogg files, MIDI files, whatever you've got a player for--and file formats can be freely intermixed. It's intended to replace a traditional CD player/changer system. Paloma makes it easy to rip your entire CD collection (or even your favorite vinyl records) and store it on your hard disk for instant random access.
However, Paloma is more than a virtual CD player. There are already dozens of these in existence, and I have no interest in competing with them. In fact, Paloma works nicely in conjunction with these standalone jukebox programs.
What Paloma adds is the management of your music in a relational database, instead of a more traditional hierarchical database. A physical CD collection, for instance, is hierarchical: you might have your CD's on the rack grouped together by artist, so that for each artist, you have a number of CD's to choose from, and from each CD, you can play a number of songs.
This is not a bad system. It works well for finding a particular song (providing you remember what CD it was on) or for playing a particular artist (you might put a couple of Tori Amos CD's in your CD player, for instance, and push "random"). Most jukebox programs provide a functionally similar interface, by storing the songs hierarchically in this way in some kind of directory structure.
Paloma can do this too, although it's not as slick as a specialized jukebox program. But with a relational database, you can also do a lot more. You could play all the songs by Frank Sinatra (for instance) in your collection, even if you don't own a single Frank Sinatra CD--it will pull together all the Sinatra songs from all the different lounge compilations you might have. Or you can bring up all the songs written by Jim Steinman, which would include those sung by Meat Loaf as well as those sung by Bonnie Tyler. Or maybe, if you're in a romantic mood, all the songs that have the word "love" in their title. Or all the classical music pieces shorter than five minutes. Or for a rainy Sunday, nothing but jazz--a good mix of all the jazz songs in your collection. Or if you're feeling nostalgic, all the songs you own that were recorded between 1975 and 1985. You get the point.
Paloma will soon support personal customization of your database, allowing the addition of fields and custom queries by the user. (Actually, it supports this now; it only lacks a GUI to easily define these custom fields.) So you're not restricted just to the sorts of things I wanted to query my database on.
This early release of Paloma is fully functional, although there is of course much room for future development. If you find it useful, or if you have further suggestions for extensions, please don't hesitate to drop me a line!
Replace "notspam" with "ddrose" in the above.