Songbird on the Mac

Songbird on the Mac

They teased us at first, but it does seem that iTunes “inspired” music player Songbird is now available for the Mac as a nightly build (read: use at your own peril).

Built on the same guts as Flock, I’m eager to see what comes of this, though it really seems like Pandora is doing more to revolutionize music listening thus far (don’t miss Airfoil + PandoraMan for the best wireless listening experience).

Oh, and with other apps that add intelligence to your listening habits and enhance your playlists (see, MusicIP, beaTunes and Soundflavor) the landscape in music consumption habits is surely going to change drastically in the next year. I’d love more than anything for Songbird to take a lead in that respect, but to do that, I think it needs to focus on the experience of listening to music, period; it needs to define what the Songbird listening experience is, and be able to answer clearly and concisely why anyone should care. It’s not just that it has a browser built in or that you can buy from 8,000 different music providers. I don’t care about any of that — I do care, however, about how good the music coming out of my speakers is and how much the tool I’m using to play that music has to do with it. The future’s not in featureware, it’s in experience.

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

7 thoughts on “Songbird on the Mac”

  1. I’ll be interested to see how Songbird progresses wrt recommendations and personalisation. Rob Lord has openly dished social recommendations such as as “The Borgs” and has not seen how machine based recommendations can work.

  2. Truly it goes beyond the Borg. Hell, let people recommend stuff to each other..! Right now Songbird is just open source, it’s just built on Firefox, it just has a black skin and it just has a bunch of extra crap that I can’t figure out when I’d use… I’m hopeful for its future, just like I am for Flock. I recognize that it takes a long time for this stuff to get built, but… the foundation so far seems to be built on faulty assumptions unless I’m missing something…?

  3. I think it’s really lacking to be honest. But since the developer preview and the beta builds of Flock the project really got it’s shit together and got it going. Flock is now my browser of choice and many people probably feel the same. As you said though, Pandora seems to be leading the way when it comes to music 2.0. Let’s hope Songbird manage to fix up the project.

    One feature they really need to add is smart playlists. It’s one of the main reasons why I use iTunes over anything else.

  4. It kinda has the interface of Yahoo’s media player. It looks nice, I still use itunes because it is easier to update my ipod with it. And I have not figured out in songbird.

    I hope songbird lets you remove some of the stuff you do not want, It looks kinda bloated to me, like they tried to make sure everyone was happy, but noway to tweak..

  5. And off course the Linux build requires you to dive really deep into your commandline, fiddle with makefiles and other crap (or get the “geeksonly” distro, fedora).

    But there is light. In fact, very bright, shiny and futuristic light. Amarok. as far as I know, the first player to play lastfm natively. Wikipedia-browser built in (for artist/album info), recomendations/auto-playlists based on your profile and stuff. and much much more.

    Guess that amarok is something to watch, (and try) if you are really looking what the futture might bring.

  6. Josh,
    Did you try my Songbird iPod extension ( If so, I’m curious how iTunes is still easier to update your iPod. Is there something I can do to make my extension better?

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