June 17, 2008

Songbird 0.6 - The Bird Got Wings

When it first starts, Songbird prompts the user to select default language and extensions it should load by default, downloading them if necessary. Scanning a music collection of almost 4000 OGG Vorbis songs took around 3 minutes on an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz with 1 GB DDRAM2.

After it first starts
Scanning the music collection

The best feature Songbird has is the integrated web browser from Mozilla, which allows tabs, the ability to enter any web address (for example you are not only limited to Wikipedia or Last.fm, you can search anywhere on the web for music), and it's completely configurable via the Tools -> Options menu. The same configuration window can be obtained by going at Edit -> Preferences. There is no point to have it in two places, but maybe it's a leftover from the Mozilla browser?

Integrated web browser - the best feature Songbird comes with

Songbird library

The interface consists of the library, downloads, radio and bookmarks tab in the left, and the playlist or web browser occupying most of the space left. The web integration is pretty well done, and becomes useful not only for searching the web for lyrics or artist information, but to report bugs or get Songbird add-ons as well (those are two of the default bookmarks, for quick access).


Songbird benefits of an impressive number of add-ons, one of them being the Last.fm song submission. After you select it for download and install it, Songbird will prompt you to restart it. The only problem I had with the Last.fm extension was that the Configuration button is disabled, so I couldn't actually use it. Instead I installed the Audioscrobbler add-on, which worked flawlessly.

Installing add-ons
Searching for add-ons on the official website using the integrated web browser
Configuring Audioscrobbler (Last.fm song submission) extension

Songbird is practically two things, both an audio player and a web browser. As an audio player, it does what it's supposed to do: it plays music, providing a library but not much of other options.

Last version is 0.6

The web browser is definitely Songbird's strong point though. It's pretty well integrated, and will offer you all the information you need, without the need to open an external web browser. Extensions are another plus. The only problem Songbird has is that the interface is extremely slow, but it doesn't hang, which is a good thing. Overall, Songbird might fulfil someone's taste while being completely not useful for another. But it is definitely worth a try.
Official Website

Updated: Jun 17, 2008 (Created: Jun 17, 2008)

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