Perhaps you’ve already heard – the folks at Mozilla have come up with a media player that is giving iTunes a run for its money. Songbird, a Mozilla opensource player, is an Mp3 player, but apparently much more – a media browser that is as much about media discovery and management as it is about playback.
Every time you start Songbird, it scans iTunes for any changes – any new imports, purchases, etc. so whatever you do there is quickly and seamlessly incorporated into Songbird. The big difference is that Songbird is running Firefox ,VLC Player, and SQLite underneath its friendly face opening up a whole new world of interacting with the internet through media.
We love to love Apple, but iTunes is a walled garden – they decide where you can go to get your media. Songbird is ‘free’, providing users with an open platform for browsing, streaming and saving files from any website. Songbird turns the Internet into a giant mediacape and makes search and retrieval easy. Music blogs can become sources of new playlists. Sites can interact dynamically to make music suggestions.
And there are add-ons, just like for Firefox: general ones like Adblock Plus, Greasemonkey, FlashGot and ChatZilla. And more specific music related ones: LyricMaster (for finding and displaying lyrics for songs); MashTape (retrieves flickr photos, YouTube videos, news from various sources and discography info for whatever artist you’re listening to); Directory Browser (allows users to browse for media on their drive using an expandable file tree, which is especially useful for media not already in one’s library); LiveTweeter (can automatically or selectively tweet your currently playing song to your Twitter account); Music Recommendations (suggests similar artists based on the currently playing song); The Exorcist (for showing your broken/missing tracks (ghosts) and duplicate tracks (clones); SHOUTcast Radio (directory of Internet radio streams); DownloadHelper (download videos and images from many sites). And more.
Redundancy or devolution? Tell us what you think.