Services & Software

It's curtains for Songbird

No encore is anticipated, as the iTunes alternative Songbird announces that it has run out of funding.

Songbird's Android app.
Screenshot by Joshua Goldman/CNET

Songbird, an iTunes alternative that originally combined music playback and management with Web-based music discovery, will exit stage left permanently at the end of the month.

CEO Eric Wittman revealed in a blog post that Songbird will no longer be maintained as of June 28, and that its parent company, Pioneers of the Inevitable, also would be closing down.

"[T]he company has found ourselves unable to fund further business operations," he said. The open-source desktop version of Songbird, its mobile apps for Android and iOS, and its music discovery service will all go dark. Wittman said more than 1 million people used per month.

Founded by digital-music veteran Rob Lord, who left the company in 2009, Songbird debuted to much interest, if not outright acclaim, in 2007. In 2011, Fast Company called Songbird one of the most innovative companies in music.

But as browser development focused on speed, security, and HTML5, and music turned to streaming services like Pandora, Songbird was unable to adapt and make money.

However, Songbird isn't quite as dead as disco. The alternative media jukebox Nightingale, which is built on Songbird, will remain available. And since Songbird is open source, interested developers can continue to play with its code on their own by downloading it here.

It's doubtful that Songbird will ever get as successful a second life as Aerosmith, but then again, nobody ever expected them to come back, either.