Released several months ago, this media player appears as a competitor to iTunes and some of them predict the same success as Firefox. Discover, with a few tips, the main advantages of this drive before any music.
Songbird is a new free media player, open source, which should soon make shade iTunes, Winamp and Windows Media Player.
First of all, download Songbird.
After the installation phase, Songbird automatically detects the system language and displays an assistant in the appropriate language. It can discover the basic functionality and to specify the import settings.
Thus the first screen of the wizard, "Import Media" is used to indicate the path where your music is currently stored (typically in My Music folder).
The second phase, entitled "Recommended Add-ons", precise Songbird certain features to install or not. You can keep the default or uncheck the boxes that seem unnecessary (such as support for iPod if you do not want or support for iTunes).
Once the wizard past Songbird runs and imports your existing music library.
Tip: Note that the iTunes module allows Songbird to play protected files from iTunes Store, and Windows Media Player module allows it to read WMA files protected by DRM. Songbird is thus one of the few players to read all protected files.
By its look and usability, Songbird can open iTunes, even if its interface is not as refined as the software of Apple.
The software offers two main modes of display in the library:
- The general view mode that displays a list of all the pieces. This mode is handy, especially since it just use the search box in the upper right to immediately find a song.
- The view mode with 3 selectors (default mode) which has a panel filter by genre, artist and album. Simply select a filter criteria to narrow the list of tracks displayed accordingly.
To switch from one mode to another, use the Display icon near the search bar. You can also use the keyboard shortcut [Shift] + [Ctrl] + [S]
Tip: Other display modes are available with extensions:
- Deploy the menu of the Display icon and select Get more pages of media.
- A tab opens a Web page (Songbird incorporates the display engine URL in Firefox) containing different presentations optional.
- Select Media Flow example by clicking the Install button matching.
- Click Install Now and then click Restart Songbird.
- Close the Songbird Add-ons tab, turn the menu on the Display icon and select MediaFlow.
- Songbird displays album art in iTunes so 3D!
When you play a piece of song, the lower panel displays not only the same jacket, but also a lot of information directly from the Internet. This information is grouped into 4 tabs:
- Information about the artist retrieved from the musical foundation of the Internet
- Based on new research on the music news sites
- Pictures from a Flickr search under from the artist
- Video from a search on YouTube using the name of the artist
You can choose the services used to retrieve information, photos and videos by going to the Tools menu, then Preferences, then MashTape tab.
Tip: When playing songs, remember to switch the pane "Photo" in full screen by clicking the maximization component MashTape, then pressing [F11].
It is possible to customize the look of Songbird. To do so:
- In the View menu, expand the menu all the feathers
- Select Plus
- A page opens with a list of appearances available for download
- Click the Install button to the one you want
- Songbird will be restarted (Restart Now) to reflect the new appearance.
Tip: Songbird also has a compact display mode, as simple control bar, very handy when listening to music while working. To switch from one mode to another, use the shortcut [Shift] + [Ctrl] + [M].
Like the "add-on" of Firefox have ensured the success of the browser, it’s a safe bet that the "add-on" from Songbird will be the success of this media player. We have already seen that it is possible to change the theme of appearance of the software or to add new display panels.
But Songbird is primarily an extensible platform: many add-ons to download enrich the basic specifications of the software.
- Go to the Tools menu and select Add-ons
- Click Get Extensions
- Discover the many extensions already available. We draw your attention to some particularly useful modules:
- LyricMaster displays the lyrics of songs played
- Songbird MinimizeToTray reduces to the taskbar
- The Exorcist identifies songs unplayable (damaged) and duplicates
- LiveTweeter can tell your friends Twitter, Facebook, Live Messenger, you listen.
Tip: By default, the software installs the Shoutcast. It is accessible via the navigation panel on the left. When clicked, the module displays a long list of radio stations.