Since its initial 1.0 release in December last year, Songbird has been downloaded nearly 1,000,000 times. Now the open source, multi-platform music player has released version 1.1.1 with a broad number of improvements. If you’re looking for a vanilla music player, this really isn’t it — for that, you can seek out other options1. However, if you’re looking for something that attempts to stretch the definition of “music player” a bit, you might want to give Songbird a look.
One of the interesting things Songbird tries to do is pull together related information for a given song or artist that it finds on the web via an integrated service called mashTape. mashTape can attempt to fetch Flickr photos, YouTube videos, Google news, for the current artist. On top of this, Songbird can also grab live event info for an artist via Songkick, thus saving you trip to the browser (and Google) and maybe delivering you some info that you might not have thought to look up in the first place.
The live event info is something that I’ve come to really enjoy with the last.fm service and it’s nice to see it integrated where it makese perfect sense into a music app.
mashTape in Action
Songbird is built on top of Mozilla,2 making it, if you’re inclined, extremely customizable. The recipe book is a good place to start if you’re looking to dive right in.
The newest release cuts memory consumption by 40% (along with a “>host of additional performance fixes) and improves album sorting, fixes MTP device support and adds the 7digital music store.
1 “…in a manner of speaking iTunes is a spreadsheet that plays music.” –Ian C. Rogers
2 Is it just me, or does it seem like Mozilla & Firefox are inching in the direction of being serious platforms? Whether it’s full fledged apps or toys or tools, I get the sense that there might be a shift taking place and some really interesting stuff is taking place in and around the browser that simply wasn’t happening a couple of years ago.
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