Watch out iTunes … Songbird Fugazi rocks !
My partner Jeff Fagnan is involved with Rob Lord and the aptly named “Pioneers of The Inevitable“, the group of music obsessed tech heads behind Songbird. It seems the name is turning into a self fulfilling prophecy with the release of Songbird 0.7.
As the name indicates the product is not quite mass market ready, but with this new iteration the bugginess is gone and the “social music browser” is really coming into its own.
I imported my full media library and installed a few of the extensions I need (iPod support, Album Art Manager, Last.FM add on etc, the basics) and got on with listening. I am more and more moving away from my library and getting sucked into using the Songbird as a music discovery tool, pretty seamlessly slipping in and out of my own “insanely encoded” favourites (a bit of Arab Strap, a touch of Sigur Ros, a dashing of Elliot Smith) to navigate music discovery engines (Hype Machine, La blogotheque) and constantly discover new sounds.
Given I have no time to buy / encode music and spend most of my (limited) free time watching my kids grow, this is doing the trick for me in keeping my ears surprised and entertained.
Jeff disclosed the download and usage numbers to me and the new release is really driving a step-change in adoption. I am hoping the Google/Chrome/Gears community does not come up with a similarly cool product any time soon, but in the meantime Songbird is the only serious threat to iTunes that I can see.