Songbird is a media player that I’ve had a lot of faith in ever since I took a look at it back at version 0.2. The fact that users create extensions just like in Firefox gave the perception that it would become very successful, but for awhile development had slowed down considerably. I’m happy to say that the first Release Candidate of Songbird 0.7 was released, and it keeps on getting more powerful.
For the first time the developers have decided to depart from their black interface. As you can see in the screenshot above Songbird 0.7 will no longer have the dark skin enabled by default like it has had for years, which I’m sure some of you may not be happy about. Don’t worry though, you can still get back the old theme by going to View -> Feathers -> Rubberducky:
Songbird 0.7 also has numerous other features besides the new design:
- New setup assistant: get up and running in Songbird with ease (requires a fresh profile)
- Smart playlists: create dynamic playlists based on criteria you set
- Concert calendar: find upcoming shows in your area based on the artists in your library
- Last.fm support: scrobble the tracks you play and love or ban them
- GStreamer on all platforms: this is our first cross platform release using GStreamer as our new media core, by default it handles all FLAC playback on Windows/Mac (or you can enable GStreamer to handle more codecs)
- Zippier metadata reading: much faster media scanning
- Reduced memory usage on Windows/Linux: we landed jemalloc as the applications memory allocator
Below are some screenshots from the new setup process, and one thing that should be noted is the third step that asks which add-ons the user would like to have installed. The list of extensions include iPod support (not iPod Touch or iPhone), QuickTime playback, SHOUTcast Radio, Last.fm support, and Windows Media playback.
My only concern with Songbird is the performance. The new version is supposed to have reduced memory usage on Windows and Linux, but it doesn’t seem to be any better than the previous version. On my Windows XP machine it’s still eating up about 120MB of RAM, but it does appear to be a little easier on the CPU than the current stable release.
Songbird is really turning into a powerful media player, and they will definitely have a strong future. There are currently 250 add-ons available for Songbird, which shows that the community has put their support behind the media player. Drop us a comment below with your thoughts Songbird 0.7.
Get Songbird 0.7 Release Candidate