SongBird: It's going to kill iTunes

Post by Maxime Rousseau

Just a few weeks ago, I was a hardcore iTunes fan. It's organized, clean, easy to use, I used to say. I liked it so much, that all the boxes in my home capable of running it had it as their default media player, nothing else was considered. According to me a few weeks ago, if you wanted to play media, it had to be done in the right media player: iTunes, and nothing else.

But along come Tyler, and announces that he has found a replacement for iTunes. At first, I couldn't believe it: look, nothing even comes close to beating iTunes. But after fighting with my favorite media player to get to read media on a new removable hard drive properly, I decided to download and test the new player, which at the time of download was and still is in a very early beta phase, at version 0.2.5. It is called SongBird. My motivations were the following: my iPod was supported, and that it was totally cross-platform and looked more flexible than iTunes, very useful for using the same player on my future Mac and not messing stuff up each time I change my drives host. At first, I was a bit reluctant to install it: what if it interfered with my precious (and ever so easily corruptible) iTunes library files? Then, I went bonkers and commited the unthinkable: I said F this whole iTunes shit, let it burn in hell, Ill just reorganize me music once more.

So there I was, on a Saturday afternoon, changing media players, stressing out, thinking that I would probably loose some of my music (the database mess-up incident was still pretty close), when in the end, it was super easy, because I had forgotten that not every media player works with strict library files like iTunes does. My install and media import experience was wonderful, that is if you not count the 15 or so ID3 track infos that weren't recognized. That's when I begun exploring the features of Songbird.

There too, I was impressed. This thing is just like iTunes, I told to myself, but only better. Look, it`s amazing; it has an integrated browser powered on the Firefox engine (<3 FF!) improved streaming media functions that actually remembers the radio stations that you access earlier, and even that cool auto-playlist feature copied inspired right from iTunes. Remember, this is still REALLY beta software too. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

I should remind you that this is almost totally cross-platform, support Windows, OS X and all the flavors of Linux, maybe even BSD with a little bit of hacking. The only inconvenience that I found is that it seems to manage resources even worst than most recent iTunes, chomping on the RAM like I never thought a media player could.

Question yourself no more, I you want to get rid of iTunes, and even if you don't, Songbird is something that you should check out. In a sentence, it's kind of a hybrid between WinAmp and iTunes and since it's opensource, there is room o' plenty for it grow and become the best media player out there, becoming somewhat the Firefox of music and video. Thank you Tyler for this awesome discovery.