Songbird: an iTunes alternative?

Ever since I caught whiff of Songbird — a sexy (and shiny!) black, cross-platform, Firefox-based, open-source music player — I have waited with bated breath for the OS X download. When I discovered that they have finally released a (very) beta version, I eagerly downloaded it, bugs and all.

While fun to fiddle with, it is still a bit buggy to really use at this point (I had difficulty even starting it twice without reinstalling it). Despite its current instability, I think it shows great promise: Since it’s based on a web-browser, its interface include a multitude of links to various music and audio sites, from which Songbird easily allows you to play music and podcasts, or download them to your library. It nicely integrated my current music library, sorts my music much like iTunes does, and includes the capability to burn playlists to cd’s.

Can Songbird serve as an adequate replacement for iTunes? I think it’s difficult to say at this point: Despite the dizzying array of music sites from which to download music, Songbird cannot utilize the iTunes music store, nor can it, at this point, integrate with your iPod out of the box. What is exciting however, is it’s extensibility. Much like Firefox, Songbird encourages the creation of third-party extensions and plugins, which opens up a world of potential: not only is an iPod plugin possible (in fact, it looks as if it is already actual!), but it may offer a multitude of other features that iTunes can’t.

While I don’t think it will replace my iTunes quite yet, I look forward to seeing how Songbird develops.



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