Songbird the ultimate Media Player ?
Songbird is a relatively new open source media player that is developed by Mozilla and aims to revolutionize the media player market the same way Firefox did to the browser market. Songbird is currently available in revision 0.2 "test flight" and runs on Windows 2000+, Linux and Mac just like Firefox.
Songbird comes with pretty much the same functionality as iTunes and more, due to the fact that it is based on the same core as Firefox you can easily use songbird to browse websites of radio stations, podcasts and blogs.What this means is that you can use it to browse the web while you are using its media playing functionality.
The first start will give you the impression that songbird is big, really big and loaded with features. You see a list of menu items on the left side which consist of your song library, podcasts, radio stations and the like. Clicking on a link loads the website of that service and the available songs in the same window.
You have the option to play and download the songs, subscribe to the website, add the song to the playlist or the library while at the same time surfing the website that offers those songs.
Songbird makes it really easy to find new music or more music from artists that you know about. You can search various services for new files, for example Singinfish, Google, Yahoo and Emusic. What you do is type in a search term, hit enter and the website of the service loads the search results right in the program.
Songbird displays two content areas once loaded: first the website the contents have been found on, and then at the bottom all the mp3 that are currently available on that page.
You can drag and drop files to your library, playlist, download them and play them in songbird. All working flawlessly.
There is no iPod interaction as of now, at least none that I was able to detect in the short time that I've been using songbird.
The developers plan to build in some additional features like extensions into the program which work the same way as they do in Firefox and Thunderbird. Options to import and burn songs from CD are also planned.
Songbird is probably not the best media player when it comes to playing songs, it feels a little bit clumsy and loaded with features but it definitely is the best when it comes to interaction between web and player. If you are listening to lots of podcasts, radio stations and the like songbird should be your number one choice.
Update: The application has come a long way since our initial review. It is now available for PC, Mac, Android, iOS and as a web app. The browsing functionality is gone and it looks a lot more like iTunes or other premium media players and management tools.
The player interface has changed a bit. While you still have the library view on the left, followed by the content area on the right, it looks cleaner and more professional.
- The player supports add-ons now. You can load the Add-ons store right from within Songbird. Add-ons extend the functionality of the player in various ways. They may add new sources to the player, add streaming options or extend the functionality in other ways.
- You can define hotkeys in the options. This can be useful to control the player even if it is not the active window on the screen.
- A click on Tools > Get Artwork downloads artwork for all songs and albums. The process is pretty fast and should not take too long.
- If you have iTunes installed, you can import or export music tracks from within Songbird. Great if you want to make the switch or keep both players in sync.