Songbird Music Player Challenges iTunes With Major Update

By Eliot Van Buskirk EmailMarch 28, 2008 | 10:28:00 AM

Songbird1_2Songbird, the open-source music player that makes finding music easy online, has been updated with new features and bug fixes.

The latest version, released Wednesday, is called developer’s preview 0.5, but don’t let the name fool you. Songbird has been stable for years, although it occasionally runs a bit slowly.

If you’ve been looking for a new way to listen to music on your computer, Songbird has a lot to recommend it. Unlike iTunes, which Songbird’s developers have ridiculed as being too much like a spreadsheet, the program contains an unrestricted web browser for streaming and downloading tunes from music blogs and other sources, many of which are included as links or bookmarks within the program.

Loads of music fans listen to online content alongside music stored on their hard drives, and Songbird was designed with those users in mind. Browse to any music blog or other site with embedded music and the program will find and list all music on the page in a simple playlist window at the bottom of the screen.

Songbird3_3 There, you can pick and choose music to stream from the blog without having to hunt for the links and click on them manually. You can download the MP3 within the main window, or choose to purchase it from Amazon MP3, Amie Street, eMusic or iTunes. While you’re listening, you can also jump straight to the entry in the blog about that song (as seen, right).

Songbird, which is built on Mozilla code, powers P2P service Qtrax.

This latest update adds these significant features, as described by Songbird’s developers:

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