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Back when Songbird – a music player based on Mozilla’s code – initially launched, I was immediately intrigued by the idea. A completely customizable music player. The audio equivalent of Firefox.

Sadly, the critiques were largely true. Songbird was riddled with bugs and sure didn’t mind crashing once in a while.

Since then, Songbird has come a long way. Further than most iTunes fans care to admit. Not only is the little birdie far more stable – about as stable as an application gets – the Songbird addons have greatly matured as well.

songbird addons

Back in 2008, Laurence reviewed Eight Great Songbird Extensions Worth A Test Drive Eight Great Songbird Extensions Worth A Test Drive Eight Great Songbird Extensions Worth A Test Drive Read More . There are some interesting mentions so check it out, but they’re largely still gimmicks. Yeah, just like a big part of iPhone applications.

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The Songbird addons discussed below are serious. They can add a lot of extra value to your Songbird experience. With a bit of luck, it might just be enough to convert you to a new music player.

mashTape

Before the internet, being interested in something was a rather disappointing experience. Now, with the Google-Wikipedia combo, you can get extra information on pretty much everything.

MashTape takes this quest for knowledge – also dubbed, ‘being interested’ – to your music player and fills in the impersonal blanks between that bulk of artist names.

songbird addons

In a number of tabs, appearing at the bottom of your screen (see the very first screenshot), mashTape fetches additional data on the ‘now playing’ song. In Artist Info, you can read more about the group, with snippets pulled from Last.fm, MusicBrainz, Freebase, or Wikipedia.

Additionally, the News tab gives you an RSS-like experience, with the latest news items from a number of sources, including Google News, Hype Machine, and MTV Music News.

Finally you have the Photos and Videos tabs. These will show pictures and videos from the current artist, from YouTube, Flickr and SmugMug.

LyricMaster

LyricMaster isn’t a Songbird addon you’ll use every single day (or actually, you might), but it can prove invaluable at happy or heavily populated moments. Although a lot of music players allow you to add lyrics to a song, Songbird’s LyricMaster pulls them in automatically and displays them in the sidebar.

songbird addons

The sidebar will automatically adjust itself to your theme (as seen above), and can be collapsed when you don’t need it. For the diehards, or those regularly offline, LyricMaster also allows you to save the lyrics of a particular, or even all songs, to your hard disk.

Last.fm

Last.fm, in case you’ve been living under a digital rock, is a music website that can learn your tastes. From there on, you can either play music that’s recommended to you, or that’s similar to an artist, album, or tag of your choice. It’s not as accurate as just using your own music, but it makes for some great new music recommendations. And there’s seamless integration with Songbird.

songbird extensions

The experience with Songbird’s Last.fm add-on is twofold. In terms of scrobbling, the plug-in keeps track of what you’re listening to, and stays in constant communication with Last.fm’s servers. Even tracks listened while offline will be submitted later on.

As you can see above, Last.fm’s radio stations seamlessly play in Songbird. Even the album art keeps up. But probably best of all, you can rate, hate, or tag songs that are playing. And not just the radio stations, but your library music as well.

7digital

A lot of people use iTunes because of the music store integration. Guess what. Songbird now features 7digital integration. 7digital is one of the most popular online music stores. Their prices are considerably lower, and on par with the iTunes music store. Perhaps best of all, you don’t need a credit card to access it.

songbird extensions

The 7digital Songbird add-on allows you to log into the 7digital store from your music player. From there on, you can purchase or download previously purchased songs to your computer. Song downloads are immediately added to your music Library. If you’ve been using Songbird long enough, the 7digital add-on also features music recommendations, by scrobbling your music Last.fm-style.

What do you personally think of Songbird? Do you know any other noteworthy extensions?  Let’s take a look in the comments section below!

  1. Florian
    May 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    So far I'm quite happy with Songbird, b/c I'm using the Portable version that allows me to install it on my external HD. With 200 GB it works ok.

    What I don't like is the fact that MP3 tags are not stored back in a way that Windows 7 will also recognize them... and it's true that Album Art handling doesn' work too well (it's slow...)

    These are the add-ins I use:
    - Now Playing
    - mashTape
    - LastFM
    - Tagger (very useful)

  2. Florian
    May 13, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    So far I'm quite happy with Songbird, b/c I'm using the Portable version that allows me to install it on my external HD. With 200 GB it works ok.

    What I don't like is the fact that MP3 tags are not stored back in a way that Windows 7 will also recognize them... and it's true that Album Art handling doesn' work too well (it's slow...)

    These are the add-ins I use:
    - Now Playing
    - mashTape
    - LastFM
    - Tagger (very useful)

  3. Jacob
    May 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    My opinion, right now nothing beats media monkey in music library and syncing with all kinds of devices. But song bird has alot of features media monkey wishes it had. Lots more skins and add-ons. I love the radio for song bird. Thats a really cool feature. And the lyrics. But it doesn't quite sync with alot of portable devices.
    But all in all, I love song bird as well :)

  4. Jacob
    May 10, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    My opinion, right now nothing beats media monkey in music library and syncing with all kinds of devices. But song bird has alot of features media monkey wishes it had. Lots more skins and add-ons. I love the radio for song bird. Thats a really cool feature. And the lyrics. But it doesn't quite sync with alot of portable devices.
    But all in all, I love song bird as well :)

  5. John Joyce
    May 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I just installed it on my Mac over the weekend and also loaded Songbird Remote on my Droid... Very Cool!

  6. raj
    May 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I tried songbird and was not impressed. I still use good old winamp with couple of plugins (enhancer 0.17, kernel streaming plugin, otachan mpg123 plugin SSE2) - I have met only some occasional crashes with it but not the kind of troubles I had with songbird (crashed with my modest 70gb of music).

  7. Dustin Patterson
    May 3, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    If I remember correctly, these 4 add-ons are automatically installed with Songbird.

    Some of my key Songbird add-ons include:

    LiveTweeter
    MinimizeToTray revived
    Now Playing List
    SHOUTCast Radio
    Song Notifier

  8. Dustin Patterson
    May 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    If I remember correctly, these 4 add-ons are automatically installed with Songbird.

    Some of my key Songbird add-ons include:

    LiveTweeter
    MinimizeToTray revived
    Now Playing List
    SHOUTCast Radio
    Song Notifier

  9. Guest
    May 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    When I got Songbird and downloaded a few extensions, it was looking great until I found out it has playback problems with .flac files, has lots of bugs and uses quite a lot of memory compared to foobar.

    Back to foobar2000...

  10. Guest
    May 3, 2010 at 10:40 am

    When I got Songbird and downloaded a few extensions, it was looking great until I found out it has playback problems with .flac files, has lots of bugs and uses quite a lot of memory compared to foobar.

    Back to foobar2000...

  11. Alex Hwang
    May 3, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Muse ftw!

  12. Simon Slangen
    May 3, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Too bad you feel that way. I've been using it on Mac, and didn't a have second care about ditching iTunes. Although sometimes slow on startup, it works smoothly and bug-free for me.

  13. Mark
    May 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I used songbird a while back, and like Alize says, it can't handle my music collection. My collection is only 130GB, so I wouldn't even attempt to go back until I hear from plenty of people with 500GB that are using it. Until then, I'll stick with MediaMonkey.

  14. Alize
    May 2, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I want so badly for Songbird to work. Alas, it's still unforgivably buggy, crashes often, and just can't seem to handle my modest 52GB collection. Not to mention it has serious issues displaying album art.

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