Quick thoughts on Songbird 1.0

iTunes is too bulky and sluggish for me. Sometimes, it’ll halt for a second or two navigating through my library. I also don’t like how iTunes installs additional software[1. “Slimming down the bloated iTunes 8 installer” by Ed Bott via ZDNet].

  • I don’t need Bonjour.
  • Apple Mobile Device Support isn’t necessary. I have a 3rd generation iPod.
  • I don’t need MobileMe.
  • I don’t want Apple Software Update installing the whole shebang of unwanted apps.

Wait, doesn’t that article explain how to slim iTunes down? Yep. How about I just want to try something new and extensible? Huh?🙂

Enter Songbird 1.0.

After downloading the setup file, it took less than two minutes to install and import 1,900 songs (and podcasts) from my iTunes database into Songbird.

In the process, it asked if I wanted to import my iTunes database and if I needed iPod Device Support, QuickTime Playback Support, SHOUTcast Radio, and Windows Media Playback. Ratings and play counts were all intact. I was good to go.

Memory footprint: In use, Songbird got up to 100 MB, and as low as 40 MB when minimized.

Add-ons: I like Concerts, Last.fm, Last.fm Album Art, and mashTape.

Grouping field/tags: The grouping field in iTunes helped specify elements in my music, which enabled better smart playlists[2. Mellow, Songs with screaming, fast songs, catchy songs.]. There isn’t a similar field in Songbird. (Yet?)

Podcast management: I guess they’re not using that word and going with “subscriptions.”[3. “Songbird is the bitchinest podcast receiver ever” – Croncast] I’m totally cool with that. I need to manually find the URLs of the podcasts I was subscribed to and add them in — a pain if I subscribed to a lot of podcasts.

That’s all from me about this — for now. I think you should give Songbird a try.

P.S. I’m ignoring Songbird support questions because I’m also a new user. They have a help section.

Update 12/3/2008: Songbird runs just fine on my Windows XP-based work computer. Also, listening to music directly off my iPod get scrobbled to Last.fm perfectly.[4. I remember reading that someone was having issues with that.]

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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