Songbird is a desktop music player I've been using lately instead of iTunes and I've really been enjoying it. Based at core on Mozilla technology, this week the company kicked off a 6 week campaign to build the 40 most-requested Firefox extensions for Songbird. This big burst of functionality could put Songbird over the edge as a music-lover's dream-come-true, though it's pretty close already.
The core feature at Songbird is integration with MP3 blogs. When you are on a page with MP3s on it, Songbird lets you download any of the songs to your desktop with a single click. A friend described it to me today as "HypeMachine for the desktop" and that's not a bad way of explaining it. It also syncs with an iPod.
The company is backed by Sequoia Capital, the funders of Google and YouTube, and though the product has had "developer releases" available for almost 2 years - it's not really offered as a public product yet. No matter, you can and should try it out now. Alex Iskold wrote here about the product's desktop/web blend in February.
I've been using Songbird as my media player, Flock 1.0 as my browser and Ma.gnolia as my bookmarking service for awhile now - all of them are startups that are innovating rapidly, pushing the envelope on features and bringing the age of Open Data. It feels good to use these services.
Anyone who can is invited to port extensions to Songbird, whether they are the owner or originator or not. The campaign will include a 2 day Songbird hackfest in San Francisco mid-month.
Extending the Bird
The new Top 40 program should help Songbird grow in feature-richness by leaps and bounds. The extensions on the list for porting over look really interesting in the context of music discovery. Some of them are things that, to be honest, I have found relatively uninspiring as Firefox extensions. Put them in the specific context of music discovery, though, and they take on a whole new meaning.
Here are a few I'm most excited to see become available.
AllPeers - filesharing between friends makes more sense in the context of music discovery and consumption than it does almost anywhere else.
BlueOrganizer - this semantic analysis tool generates a cloud of ancillary data and links around anything you're looking at online. Again, zeroing in on the context of music discovery makes BlueOrganizer more compelling than it is for me on the wide-open web. (Disclosure: Alex Iskold, the CEO of Adaptive Blue, makers of BlueOrganizer, is a frequent contributor here at RWW - and he's one of the nicest, smartest people in the industry.)
Del.icio.us Bookmarkes - A must have if this is to flirt with "music browser" status.
Me.dium - another browser add-on that generally makes no sense to me at all in the web-at-large. Do I want to see what my pages my friends are looking at around the web in real-time, in general? No, I don't. When it comes to music sites? Now you're talking.
These are just a few of the Songbird Top 40, the whole list is here.
Readers here may also appreciate an interview Om Malik posted last month with the Rob Lord, one of the guys behind Songbird.