The long and inconclusive search for a Mac OSX alternative to SoulSeek

After buying a MacBook Pro I discovered that SoulSeek, which had become an integral part of my everyday Windows computer experience, is not available for Mac. A search for an alternative, one that proved to be successful in the case of other programs, had disappointing results: none of the SoulSeek alternatives managed to fill the gap.

I consider the absence of a SoulSeek alternative to be most frustrating. Why? Because SoulSeek was perfect when it came to finding obscure music or recent and/or non-mainstream releases. In my experience, Torrentsites tend to only offer mainstream releases, as do newsgroups, making SoulSeek such a quintessential tool. First off, before criticizing these alternatives, I need to say that I have the greatest respect for those developing the alternatives. As I do not have the technical skills to develop these programs myself, I can only admire those that do so. However, this of course does not take away the frustration of the shortcomings of the available alternatives. Secondly, for all people criticizing those that download music: such is not the topic of this post.

During the search, I stumbled on the following alternatives: SoulSeex, SolarSeek, of which the development later taken over by iSoul and Nicotine. Finally, as a last resort and act of desperation, I installed Parallels and Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro to be able to use SoulSeek.

With SoulSeex I found that a query resulted in very little results, even after I connected to the new SoulSeek server (changing to port 2242). Apart from this, SoulSeex seemed to crash quite a lot. SolarSeek, or iSoul rather, has been the most successful attempt to date, although queries also return suspiciously little results. The main issue I have with iSoul is that my downloads are queued remotely forever, which is a long time. Obviously there seems to be an issue with portforwarding there. However, I am positive I have opened the port in my router correctly, and uTorrent on my MacBook does not have a NAT issue either, nor do any programs using portforwarding on my Windows machine. Whilst installing Nicotine, I get a message saying I need to install X11, which I am sure is installed. Hence, Nicotine is in desperate need of some patches. Lastly Parallels and Windows 7 on my MacBook Pro. Apart from this not feeling right and taking up to much space, I could not connect to the internet on my virtual machine, making the need to run SoulSeek in the virtual environment unnecessary.

So, this leaves me with two options: booting my PC every time I want to download an album or connecting my MacBook through ethernet and download using iSoul. Obviously, these are yuppie problems, in the same category as not being able to pick up your suit from the dry cleaner the same day. But then again, yuppie problems are problems too, and the fact remains that to this date no solid Mac alternative for SoulSeek seems to exist.

It was suggested using SoulSeek on Mac through Wine. I have tried this and unfortunately this does not work either. After a Google search I found that it used to work with the original client version 1.56c, but not for a Wine version after 0.9.39, which creates a piece of garbage.

4 thoughts on “The long and inconclusive search for a Mac OSX alternative to SoulSeek

  1. hi there martijn,
    you should know that nir is working on a soulseek QT client which has a version for mac. it is still in development, but many mac users have been very happy with the version thus far. you can find it here:
    hopefully it will be a better fit for you 🙂

    1. Cheers mate, that’s very helpful! I will download and install the SoulSeek QT client as soon as I can. Weird though, that I haven’t stumbled upon it whilst searching the web. Feel a bit embarrassed too that it was to be found on the SoulSeek homepage :-/

      Anyway, I will post how I go 🙂


    1. Soulseek QT worked just fine! Still use it to find the more obscure artists and albums. Just use torrents and Spotify for everything else now. Still have a weakness for the old p2p though, takes me back to the late 90s 🙂

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