There’s a cross-platform media player called Songbird which many people are not very aware of and I thought it would be great if I write something about it because I have been using it and following the developments since its very first public beta version. The current version Songbird 1.0.0 is now a much better and it has definitely traversed the path of maturity towards becoming a better media player with all the customization capabilities that Mozilla products are known for.
Since my first tryst with Songbird it has now developed into a formidable competitor of iTunes and I see no reason why it can’t displace Apple iTunes as the best media player. Some people might argue that Winamp is much better but I personally think that Winamp doesn’t have the finesse I usually seek in the applications I use.
I’d recommend you to use this super cool media player before making any opinion and in the spirit of Mozilla I’d also be writing about the best Songbird extensions or addons which actually complete the Songbird experience. The very thing that makes Songbird better than other media players and especially iTunes is that it can customized and there’s a good resource of Songbird extensions and themes which you can use to make it look and perform the way you like. You can also make Songbird look exactly like iTunes which I’ll be writing about later in this post. Some of the great features of Songbird are its cross-platform compatability which meansy you can play it in Windows XP/Vista, Mac and even Linux. Songbird has an in-built web browser which you can use for your web-surfing along with installing Songbird add-ons/extensions/themes. You will get to know more of its features as you use.
Installing Songbird is as easy as ABC but in the interest of noobs who are yet to climb the ladder of geekdom, I’d like to post step by step screenshots tutorial.
1. First of all go to the Songbird media player’s official site to download the installer.
2. Clicking on the Green button should start the downloading of Songbird installer. After the download is complete, double-click on the Songbird-installer.
3. After double-clicking on the Songbird installer which represents orange colored icon you will be taken across some installation steps which are shown below.
Now you are done with Songbird installation. Time to customize it.
Songbird looks pretty much like Apple iTunes except that the media player buttons are located below in Songbird which can however be shifted to top or you might wanna change the theme. The themes of Songbird are called Feathers (Songbird feathers) and you can find plenty of these Songbird feathers/themes. Some of the best Songbird feathers are mentioned below:
YABS is a black Songbird feather which many of you would like.
iBird is the Songbird feather which will make it look very close to Apple iTunes. You can customize the media view by using certian Songbird extensions like Media Flow which will enhance the iTunes look.
Glossy Coat 2 adds litte shine and puts some gloss over Songbird.
Aero Bird would be nice if you are using Vista Aero themed desktop.
iTunes Library Importer will import all the music from your iTunes library which is a time saver.
The Exorcist will remove all the broken/ missing and even the clone tracks from your Songbirds library.
Fasterbird makes some performance and network tweaks for the Songbird browser.
Last.fm extension publishes your playback history to the site. last.fm have their own client as well but Songbird is better.
SHOUTcast Radio will bring access to all the radio streams on SHOUTcast.
There are many more songbird extensions which I want to share but I thin you should choose the ones that suit you.
Songbird is great if you give it a try. Songbird has many limitations as well like it can’t play music video files unlike iTunes but development is being done in that department and soon video playing capabilities will be added. One thing however is certain that Songbird has great future ahead.