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December 26, 2005

Songbird Aims To Do What iTunes Can't...

unworthy d00d & maags...or, rather, iTunes won't.

Songbird is an open-source music browser currently in development for Windows, Apple OS X and UNIX. It will be skinnable, meaning that users can customize the interface. Obviously the one shown at left (click it for a larger screenshot) will almost certainly get Songbird sued by Apple due to its similarity to iTunes.

Cosmetic resemblance aside, Songbird promises some features lacking in iTunes and other media browsers. It will supposedly support Ogg Vorbis and FLAC files; the latter will definitely interest Bittorrent fans, who use the lossless codec extensively. Another key selling point for this software would be its proposed interoperability with a wide range of online download services. Songbird promises that its software will work with emusic and other web-based music providers and social networking sites. It remains to be seen if Songbird can be coaxed to work with Apple's propietary Music Store system-- I can't imagine anything but lawsuits resulting from such efforts, and there's no conceivable way that Apple would license its FairPlay DRM to Songbird-- but it will be interesting to watch for developments.

Other things that would be good:

* An RSS reader that incorporates seamless podcast support (this appears to be a feature).

* One-click transitions between encoding/ripping/burning formats. For instance, when I want to switch from AAC to MP3 or AIFF in iTunes 6.*, it can take up to seven clicks. Ridiculous.

* A Jam-like panel for creating crossfades between tracks.

* Simple, user-friendly backup/restore of all content-- files, playlists, metadata-- to external media. I say this as someone who has lost many songs during iTunes software updates. Even when your music folders are backed up, this is painful.

A beta version is expected in early '06. You can sign up for updates here.

[12:11pm update: More background on Songbird and its creators can be found in this December 22nd C|NET News piece.]

Posted by Paul at December 26, 2005 10:46 AM



Posted by: Phil at December 26, 2005 12:51 PM

I was under the impression that the 'skinability' only related to the colour scheme, fonts etc and was based on CSS.

If that is the case, they're still gonna get sued by Apple.

Posted by: Ross at December 27, 2005 02:51 AM

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