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When it comes to media management, iTunes is a staple for handling my music library. A self-professed music junkie, I need a library that’s seamless to navigate, highly organizable, and can accommodate a limitless amount of files in a variety of formats.
I don’t infrequently tie my needs to any particular brand or product line. Although I love Apple products and require them to function on a daily basis, I try to switch it up whenever possible by incorporating tools and technologies from a variety of sources.
And I thought nothing could top iTunes until I discovered what Songbird can do.
Songbird offers the basic functionality of iTunes – unrestricted file capacity and unlimited playlists, navigational ease, import/export options; but tricks it out on many levels.
The open-source software offers total customization of your audio player. It offers plug-ins called “add-ons” that pull in bonuses while your music plays like concert info, data from last.fm, Shoutcast radio, and more. The MashTape add-on looks for related content like photos, video, and reviews from your bands by pulling in data from Flickr, YouTube, and Amazon. Online digital music store 7Digital recently partnered with Songbird to offer full integration. The store, currently in beta, will offer 320 kbps DRM-free MP3 downloads. They also promise to offer custom recommendations in the future based around what you’re playing from your library.
With all of these features, Songbird is a serious contender in becoming a viable alternative to iTunes. The only major downside is that Songbird doesn’t seamlessly connect to AirTunes allowing wireless playback from Songbird to a home stereo. A quick fix is a tool called Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba (the same company that created Audio Hijack). Although it will set you back $25 it seems to do the trick.
Songbird is an open-source, fully customizable music player built on the open-source media framework Gstreamer. You can participate by hacking on the software and trying out new builds before they’re released. A developer Recipe Book offers code snippets for “Featherers” to tinker with.They sell some pretty kick-ass t-shirts too!
Get Songbird v 1.1.1 now: http://getsongbird.com/