Lord of the Birds…Songbird


I have been playing around with the latest beta version of the Songbird multimedia browser based on Mozilla Firefox’s core technologies. It is an interesting little application that should be a must-have on any music lover’s laptop. I recently chatted with Rob Lord, one of the guys behind the San Francisco-based startup Pioneers of the Inevitable.



Here’s an example of a Feather for Songbird that isn’t “All iTunesish”


Eventually we’ll be as fully skinnable as Winamp5. And since XUL is essentially a modified HTML, leaning heavily on CSS, we really hope developers will move over from the web-space into making application skins for Songbird.

(oh, yea, I work for them too)

Stephen Lau

(full disclosure: I work for Songbird, should have mentioned that up above)

Matt: One of the powers of Songbird is it’s completely skinnable layout and look and feel. Example:
(look at the last screenshot), that’s a complete Feather that completely changes the look and feel of Songbird.


I really dig the way I can interact with sites like Hype Machine with Songbird. A real time saver there.

But, it’s a bit too iTunes for me. Do all computer-based music players have to have the same boring interface? For me, it takes a lot away from the experience.

Stephen Lau

Dragoljob: Yup, Songbird supports syncing to both the iPod family of devices, as well as USB mass storage devices.

Han Lee: Is there something special about classical music? (Not trying to troll – just genuinely not sure what’s different). Certainly some of Songbird’s features such as its integrated music blog support would translate just as easily to classical music blogs. (Likewise, it’s integration with music search engines like Skreemr, etc. should carry over to classical just as well)

Ralph Poole

This is a really good discussion of business model innovation. It is great to hear Rob talk about how he envisions carving out a niche in this very competitive space.

Han Lee

Interesting idea, but the video is poorly made. 1) Can’t see any of the demo that Rob is trying to show and 2) background noise is louder than Rob’s voice, probably due to an outdoor interview session.

Songbird sounds very interesting in tying up web2.0 with the music players, but how does it work as a stand alone and off-line music player? As a classical music listener, I find no jukebox/music player that can satisfy my needs besides foobar2000 (which is a pita to configure/customize).

Dragoljub Profirovic

Ah Songbird, building on top of the Mozilla platform certainly has advantages. Are there any readers that have replaced their previous media player for this one?

I feel like what drives me to use iTunes / Windows Media Player / or something else is the current mp3 player I own. Does anyone know if you can use songbird to sync your music to a mp3 player?

Rob Lord


Thanks for posting this. Next time I’ll speak a bit slower. =)

Also, it’s “Songbird” not “SongBird”. Please update!



OM – who’s the genius that shot this video – there is Rob using his laptop to show your the demo – and we can’t see any of that presentation. May as well have been a podcast – why call it a NewTeeVee episode if all I see the weather man and not the radar?

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