All right, after days of searching and playing and installing and uninstalling and other keystroke-intensive activities, I have finally found what I feel to be the best music player for the Gnome desktop under Jaunty: Listen.
I’ve used Rhythmbox ever since I started with Ubuntu, so I was more then familiar with its offering. It’s stable and has a good user interface, but it really lacked the power that I was looking for in an audio player. Essentially, I want something that has excellent organization capabilities, seamless Last.fm support, and an attractive visual element. It has to feel like what I want in a player. Banshee 1.0 was another major contender, and I was impressed by the addition of a video player, but apalled at the lack of organization for video files. Amarok was out of the question as I have never been a fan of it or having to load KDE dependencies in the background. I heard good reviews for Exaile being lightweight, and the working AWN plugin was a boon, but I could not stand the interface–too similar to Amarok. I want to see album art, not file folders.
Finally, I found Listen, and I was impressed. Version 0.5 is in the default Ubuntu repositories, and it has a lot of promising features: dynamic playlist creation, Last.fm and Wikipedia support, lyrics, and your basic streaming radio support all in a very slick interface. All these features easily make it the best Gnome music player, in my opinion. My main problem with Listen was that it tended to be very unstable and would crash if you just looked at it the wrong way. Enter Listen 0.6.2–it fixes the bugs that made 0.5 unstable and even adds a few new goodies: AWN support (shows the album art and time remaining in the dock), an equalizer, DAAP support, and the Jamiendo music store. Unfortunately, v0.6.2 is not in the default repositories, so you’ll have to add them manually. Detailed instructions on how to do this can be found on the PPA page here.