A year or two back I read a short review on yet another media player, Songbird. As a hardcore Winamp user (since I got my first computer back in 1998) I wondered why I should use anything else but it had some interesting features. Open source being one, Free another but most of all: it had iPod support. I have never owned an iPod myself but my girlfriend did so…I gave it a spin. It turned out that the iPod support was somewhat experimental and I missed other functions as well. Like all players other than Winamp it lacked what in Winamp is called playlist. It could of course handle playlists but I’m used to having one that are always present, like a queue almost.
Since it didn’t really support iPods I was soon back to Winamp. It looked better, felt better/faster/more stable and it had my dear playlist so I didn’t really see a reason to change. Fast forward…
As I wrote earlier I recently got a Mac Mini. It’s great in so many ways but despite my more and more desperate attempts I still can’t find anything good with iTunes (not true, it looks quite nice). No playlist, no sync with my Android, surprisingly slow and only a “locked” watchfolders (yes it sounds totally ridiculous but it’s true, it will only watch a pre-defined folder). On top of that I couldn’t find a smooth way to duplicate/synchronize my library with my laptop, not even the new “Home share” feature can handle it properly. The alternative is to use Windows Offline files on my laptop. That actually synchronize the files, the library information (like covers) however stays…and back to the problem with no watchfolders. Now I had to manually add every new file twice! I even went so far as to let iTunes totally destroy my rigorously kept folder structure (sob) in my tries to get everything in place. Which of course didn’t help me at all except it created some duplicates and turned it into some kind of…chaos.
Eventually I gave up, back to winamp on my laptop but…no Mac support? Huh!? Lost again. Then out of no particular reason I stumbled on Songbird again. First thing to notice: Cross-platform! (Unfortunately they have just dropped further Linux support). Download-Install. Nice new look, faster, cover download and skinable (called feathers of course) sweet features indeed. Do I have to mention that the bird graphics are some of the cutest ever seen in a desktop software? Songbird can also use addons and it turns out that I’m not the only one loving the Winamp playlist. The “Now Playing” addon is very, very close to being the same thing. Works for me! There are of course many great addons, both for mediaviews and functional like finding duplicates in your library. Now I just have to download it on the Mac Mini and see what can be done about the iTunes destroyed library. The device support has also improved since my last tryout and syncing with my Android devices works like a charm, haven’t really tried out the iPod support though.
My only negative remark is that it sometimes feel a bit slow but it’s definitely bearable. Bugs are taken care of but they do exist. I truly recommend you give it a try yourself! www.getsongbird.com