Sing into Spring: Songbird in Version 1.1

Mar 17, 2009

The Songbird music player is now out as version 1.1. Next to some normalization enhancements, the free software includes a watch folders feature and optimized album cover downloads.

Almost a million users have downloaded Songbird so far, according to company claims, and the feedback prompted a few changes, bug fixes and new features in Songbird 1.1, available since last week. Now album cover artwork off the Web is just a mouse-click away, via by default, but you can also specify

The watch folders features allows users to specify which music folder hierarchy to monitor for changes and then automatically import new titles to their libraries. Removed files are also removed from the libraries. The sorting algorithm was also improved with unicode collation and recognition of leading articles such as "the" and "a" in titles. To prevent damage to sensitive eardrums, Songbird adjusts the playback volume if a track's metadata has replay gain, including for iTunes titles.

Overall, Songbird 1.1 should be more stable, use significantly less memory and CPU, and undergo fewer crashes. With large music libraries, the player uses 40% less RAM and playback cuts the CPU usage in half. A very practical feature is that developers can launch Songbird from a URL, such as from a stream. One improvement applies to Windows only: better identification of silent spots for a smoother playback. The Windows version also recognizes MTP devices better and can synchronize Windows Media DRM content with them.

Like other open source projects, Songbird wants to make some revenue. Their business model is the 7digital MP3 Store, now in beta, where you can buy high quality MP3s (up to 320 Kbps). Recommendations from 7digital are based on your most recently played track. The music store contributes a part of each purchase to Songbird's development. The U.K. version of the store is now "fully stocked" and the U.S. and European stores, with a few titles still missing, will hopefully soon follow suit.

Download of the bugfix version 1.1.1 of Songbird for Linux is available as a tar.gz here.

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  • Captain Sarcastic Reporting In

    You left out the "delete iPod data" feature. Things like that just point to Songbird's amazingly rock-solid design.

    Next to the stunning, well thought out interface, that's gotta be it's best feature.
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