CNET Editors' review
If Firefox and iTunes hooked up, their hatchling could very well be Songbird. Basic usage bugs have gone the way of last season's molting, so this fun app that's part music player, part Web browser, and all about music discovery, management, and playback is ready for every day use.
During installation, it'll ask if you want to load your iTunes music directory or another media directory, or perform the task later. Processing 5,000 songs took about 3 minutes, which is not a bad pace. It then asks you which of the preinstalled Songbird extensions you want to load. Most of these, like the iPod, Mass Storage Class, and USB device managers only make the app stronger.
The left sidebar provides quick links to bookmarks, downloads, your music library in an iTunes-style interface, and several music discovery Web sites to get you started. When you're looking at any Web site with MP3s available for download, Songbird will open a new window at the bottom of the main browsing pane. Double-click on a song to play it, and links on the right let you purchase the track from Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, and Amie St. They also tell you the format of the track--MP3 or AAC, for example--and provide a blog link for more info.
Songbird has a growing library of extensions, and support is slowly growing for those written originally for Firefox. Although it works on Windows 7, it doesn't yet have any Windows 7-specific features. Still, Songbird is more than stable enough to take flight for the music-loving, Web-surfing fanatic in all of us.Songbird:
Songbird is a media browser and Web player built from Firefox, VLC Player, and SQLite. Songbird is open source and supports user contributed, cross-platform extensions. Manage your music, sync your library, and build playlists. Browse, search, and sort. Songkick option automatically notifies you when your favorite bands come to town. Synchronize your hand held and get your media to go. Songbird supports the latest generation of hot new phones.
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All versions:3.6 stars
out of 179 votes
Current version:2.7 stars
out of 3 votes
My rating:Write review
Results 1-3 of 3
"songbird hitting a bum-note"
Version: Songbird 2.0
All i can say in favour of this thing is that it's well presented.
But worst of all is it will NOT transfer my music from my PC to my device without screwing with all my information intact.
It scrambles everything in the transfer and then when i plugged my divice back in to wipe and re-sync it, songbird took the liberty of screwing up all the music files on my PC.
Don't touch... if you have a philips device use windows media player to sync instead as it is a lot less hassle.
"Great Program! Minor Problems."
Version: Songbird 2.0
- Auto detects music, add ons to find album art and lyrics
- Easy to add music, crisp quality
- Can play videos.
- Plays many formats, except .flv
- Multiple Interface skins
- Lots of internet radio stations and pod-casts available
- Easy to use
- Has its own web browser ( a version of chrome or firefox)Lets you surf while listening to music/videos, and has addons like WOT, very great program
- About as much resource use as a web browser, may be slow if using portable version on a flash drive or anything other then on pc.
- Music recommendations
- Stores lyrics for later use
- Video quality is only ok
- Can not view images stores on Computer
- Add Videos Manually, not to much of a problem, drag n drop
- Some addons old, but still work fine
- recommendations are off
- Album art can be buggy/ not found
- Lyrics can not be found on old songs
Songbird is a Very great program, and you can use it for so many things. It's rich on features,and a minor majority of those are features I commonly use like Wot.It does have a great web browser which fits in with the program, works smoothly, and has the main features of a web browser, and then some. I like the artist/author recommendations. Usually this feature will find great recommendations though sometimes it find artist that are in different categories or their songs don't appeal to you, but Songbird has so far, ok about recommendations. Songbird has podcast support, internet radio support and online music stores-essentially, everything that I would hope for in such a program.
The other problem is that Songbird has seen multiple updates in the last times i have installed it on multiple devices.The addons are not updated that much anymore but the program is still good and the add ons and everything works great. Those addons and projects that aren't being updated.It's an annoyance to find just the add-on you want seeing it still works, but it is an old version and kindove an inconvenience.
The program once in a while takes about a minute to load, and if you manage it well it wont crash, unless you constantly turn it off and on and use the portable version then take out your flash drive. Its is very close to it's full potential, but i think that its fine with what it is.
My ending result: It may need some tweaks and to be updated, but overall it is a very great program, i have not tried the snycing with mobile devices so thats what other reviews are for right? I would donwnload this on all of my devices, though i only have laptops.
"Promising project, but still light years away."
Version: Songbird 2.0
-Price is right
-No problems with file support, played everything I threw at it (which is by no means comprehensive, but impressive, nonetheless).
-Lots of integration with internet radio, podcasts and online music stores.
-Web browser...if you ever found yourself thinking "wow, its really a crap-load of effort to have Firefox and my media player open at the same time, I really wish someone would combine them." I never wished this, but some might, and to each their own.
-Artist and Album recommendations and info.
-Most extensions are either abandoned or out of date (e.g. ipod compatibility, library pane with album art (a la itunes or WMP, and a host of others).
-Still subject to random crashes
-Podcasts are stored in library proper instead of on their own.
-Album art is buggy
Songbird is a program that is trying to do way too much. It's rich on features, but the vast majority of those are features I never found myself wanting out of a media player (say, for example, a web browser). That said, it does have some pretty cool things going for it. I particularly loved the artist recommendations panel. Usually a feature like this would recommend stuff totally unrelated to what I was listening to, but Songbird has so far been pretty good about recommendations. Songbird has podcast support, internet radio support and online music stores--essentially, everything that I would hope for an open source alternative to iTunes. It's a very promising project.
However, Songbird still has some major flaws, albeit possibly temporary ones (though I've seen no improvement in the eight months I've been using it.) The first one is that it keeps podcasts sorted in the main library, along with all of my music. This is a pitfall that just about every other media player falls into. It's minor, but I like to put my player on random and sit back and let it go. Having podcasts in the mix screws that up. If there's a way to avoid this, I've not seen it. The other big problem is that Songbird has seen a lot of updates in the last few months (or so it seems to me) and as such virtually all of the skins, extensions and addons are no longer compatible (including the all important iPod support add-on). Those addons and projects that aren't just sitting idle are also frequently abandoned, with no updates forthcoming. It's an annoyance to find just the add-on you want only to find out that it and its cousins have all stopped development.
A closely related problem is the format. For whatever reason, I've never understood the "filter-pane" style of media libraries, like the one used on Winamp or Rhythmbox. Ostensibly, it's simple: a selection in one panel (e.g. the artist panel) filters all of the other panels (like songs and album). Perhaps it simply a personal failing, maybe I'm just not hipster enough about my music, but I've never understood why such an interface would be/is useful. I much prefer to simply have a list of album covers. Add-ons were at one point available to change this, but most of them are no longer compatible and while I can't blame Songbird directly for that, it is frustrating that there are few interface choices available.
Other minor problems that the program has are that it is still subject to bugs. Album art often disappears or gets mixed up and the program is subject to random crashes. While Songbird is resource heavy, it seems to have gotten better with recent updates, but it's still a long way away from where it could be.
My bottom line: if you're fed up with Windows Media Player, iTunes, or Winamp, or if you're just looking to try something new, you could do a lot worse than Songbird. It's an incredibly promising program and it will be interesting to see where it goes, but for now, I think it needs some work.