Open sourcing the music experience with Songbird

Songbird is a really cool way to experience music. Open source style.


I've kept an eye on Songbird for a year or so now. The project defines itself as "a complete desktop media player or 'jukebox' with a uniquely open approach to Internet digital media network services." I like to think of it as the music sourced.

InformationWeek's review of Songbird is dead on: enormous potential but still quite a few rough edges:

The idea seems to be to create something that has the same extensible, developer-friendly framework as Firefox, so that people can write plugins to add all different kinds of functionality to the core program....

A big part of what Songbird is about is something that, say, the Zune seemed to be aiming for but fell far short of (and created in a totally closed-ended fashion): a way to make digital music into a social phenomenon. Songbird comes pre-loaded with bookmarks to a number of music aggregation sites, like The Hype Machine, and can speak to any number of Web page music APIs. This makes it possible to build a Web page that a Songbird user can navigate to, plug into, and play from.

Music is a social thing. iTunes, for all its strengths, isolates music. Sure, you can share your music across a network, but it's a thin form of sharing. Songbird aims to open up its music jukebox to improvisation and innovation.

In a tree by the brook there's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven. (Led Zeppelin)

Not in the case of Songbird. Will it turn out to be a winner? I'm not sure. That depends entirely on you...which is why it's such an interesting project.

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