SongBird – Excellent Open Source iTunes Alternative

SongBird is an open source music player built on Mozilla’s technology. After being in development for 2 years, SongBird just reached version 1.0 and is looking greater than ever.

One great feature of SongBird is that it is extensible with community developed add-ons just like Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird. This lets us add functionality via SongBird extensions and change skins – feathers via SongBird feathers.

Quick SongBird Features

  • Import media from your filesystem
  • Import media from iTunes – even plays iTunes purchased music
  • Smart dynamic playlists that automatically updates
  • Multi-language support
  • Supports multiple media formats – MP3, FLAC, Vorbis on all platforms. WMA & WMA DRM on Windows, AAC & Fairplay on Win & Mac.
  • Integrated web browser with bookmarking, tabbed browsing, etc
  • Library management
  • Uses GStreamer for media playback

Features in Beta

  • Limited Device Support. Apple iPhones, iPod Touch & Zune, etc not supported yet.
  • Subscribe to music blogs and download music to your Library
  • Metadata management – yet to support fetching additional metadata from online sources
  • Displays Album art for current playing track

Features Coming Soon

  • CD Ripping
  • Watch folder for auto adding tracks
  • Video playback support

Let’s look at some of the fun things you can do with SongBird Add-ons

  • mashTape – discover Flickr Photos, Youtube videos, bio, Google news, etc for the current playing artist
  • SHOUTcast Radio – stream online music using SHOUTcast Radio directory
  • – Scrobble, love and ban your tracks
  • Concerts – Discover upcoming shows in your area for artists playing in your library
  • MediaFlow – just like iTunes CoverFlow
  • QuickTime Playback – allows you to play iTunes purchased music
  • iPod Device Support – support for iPod devices (no iPhone or iPod Touch support yet)
  • Mac Remote Control Support – Support for the use of Apple Remote Control

And that’s just a sampling of add-ons available and as time progresses the add-ons ecosystem will grow just like Firefox’s and sky is the limit. And of course with add-ons, comes the performance trade-off so be frugal in the add-ons you add to it to keep it zipping along.

With the media player market being so crowded as it is, SongBird faces a stiff competition. Yet, it could be appealing to the massive Firefox user base who have learnt to love (or hate) the Mozilla’s interface and will find SongBird easy to navigate and use.

What do you think of SongBird?

Download SongBird

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17 Responses to “SongBird – Excellent Open Source iTunes Alternative”

  1. Kenny December 11, 2008 at 4:35 am #

    It’s a bit of a resource hog on OS X, otherwise, I love it.

    Kennys last blog post..Motoring: V10 Powered Audi R8 Is Now A Reality [duhh]

  2. Michael December 11, 2008 at 4:40 am #

    Songbird looks pretty cool but since I use both an AppleTV and an iPhone I’m stuck with iTunes. Luckily I find iTunes to do what I need it to, but mashTape and Concerts sounds awesome.

    Michaels last blog post..Google Selling $399 Fully Unlocked G1s to Developers

  3. Caroline@debit card loans December 11, 2008 at 4:58 am #

    I find iTunes to be very restrictive and would prefer something that gave the user more control. Might give it a try with my old skool Nano.

  4. A.Vlad December 11, 2008 at 2:04 pm #

    How it’s gonna work with stuff from apple?

  5. JR @ Cheap Laptop Computers December 12, 2008 at 3:54 am #

    I too find iTunes restrictive this looks like a good alternative.

  6. Wally December 19, 2008 at 6:24 am #

    I don’t like these all in one applications that try to be everything to everyone. I prefer to use simpler tools that are more specific in their application. I am still happily using xmms.

  7. Ryan December 25, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    Not sure if I would use this, but I’m a big fan of having choices. For me, the more software that’s out there, competing with one another, the better for the consumer. And when you throw in words like free and open source, that’s even better.

  8. game-girl December 28, 2008 at 12:06 am #

    I think highly of iTunes.The tool is good to applicate.

  9. Jamie@McKay December 28, 2008 at 5:31 am #

    I’m a big fan of having more choices, so I think that the introduction of this software can only be a good thing. Also, I like that the Firefox browser allows for much customization with add ons, so I hope similar customizability and diversity of choice will eventually be available for SongBird.

    Jamies last blog post..Jakob McKay

  10. Alley@Alkaline Water January 13, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    Oh this is perfect. I hate itunes and how it tries to take over everything and also its file size. SongBird IS an excellent alternative!

  11. Andreas@Free Midi February 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Thanks for this nice application. I am waiting for the full release.

    So keep this good blog up!

  12. Avery July 11, 2009 at 12:07 am #

    How it’s gonna work with stuff from apple?
    .-= Avery´s last blog ..Features for Future Mortgage =-.

  13. Forest September 1, 2009 at 2:22 am #

    Songbird looks pretty cool so I will have to go take a look. I am guessing as this post is pretty old now that they have updated since… I’ll go find out πŸ™‚

    .-= Forest´s last blog ..Pampered Chef Recipes =-.


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