Songbird (software)

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Songbird Logo 2.0.0.png
Songbird 2.0.0 on Windows 7
Songbird 2.0.0 on Windows 7
Developer(s)Pioneers of the Inevitable aka POTI Inc.
Initial releaseFebruary 8, 2006; 13 years ago (2006-02-08)
Stable release2.2.0, Build 2453 (February 4, 2013; 6 years ago (2013-02-04)) [±]
Preview releaseNone [±]
Operating system
Available in98 languages[2]
TypeMedia player
LicenseGNU GPLv2 with exceptions; Android client closed source

Songbird is a discontinued music player originally released in early 2006 with the stated mission "to incubate Songbird, the first Web player, to catalyze and champion a diverse, open Media Web".[3]

Songbird utilizes the cross-platform frameworks Mozilla XULRunner and GStreamer media framework. Songbird currently runs on Windows and macOS. In 2012, an Android version and an iOS version were released. Songbird at one point also supported Solaris and Linux, but this support was dropped. As a result, users have forked Songbird and created a Windows, Mac, and Linux compatible derivative under the name Nightingale.

Songbird announced on 14 June 2013 that it would stop all operations and shut down by 28 June. The company was unable to fund further business operations and as a result all operations and associated services have been discontinued.[4]


  • Multi-platform compatibility with Windows XP, Vista and Mac OS X v10.5 (x86, x86-64).
  • Ability to play multiple audio formats, such as MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, Apple Lossless and WMA
  • Ability to play Apple FairPlay-encoded audio on Windows and Mac platforms via hooks into QuickTime (authorization takes place in iTunes)
  • Ability to play Windows Media DRM audio on Windows platforms
  • A skinnable interface, with skins called "feathers"
  • Media files stored on pages viewed in the browser show up as playable files in Songbird
  • MP3 file download
  • Ability to subscribe to MP3 blogs as playlists
  • Ability to build custom mixes
  • Ability to scan the user's computer for all audio files and add them to a local library
  • A configurable and collapsible graphical user interface similar to iTunes, and mini-player mode
  • Keyboard shortcuts and media keyboard support
  • Automatic updates
  • integration via a plugin, complete with love/hate buttons
  • and HypeMachine integration
  • Microsoft MTP compatible device support
  • Ability to edit and save metadata tags
  • Gapless Playback & ReplayGain
  • Watch Folders
  • Media Importing / Exportings (from and to iTunes)
  • Automatic Library Files Organization



Users can add features and change functionality in Songbird by installing extensions. Extensions are similar to the Extensions for the Firefox browser and can be easily ported.[5] Community coded extensions are available on Songbird's addons support page. Known community designed extensions are: Qloud Tagging & Search, eMusic Integration, iTunes Importer, Artist Tracker, Library File Organizer, Audioscrobbler Notifier, Wikipedia Artist Display, SHOUTcast Radio Directory, UnPlug, Adblock Plus, Taglib metadata handler, ChatZilla, and FoxyProxy.


Skins are referred to as "feathers" in Songbird, and give users and artists the ability to change the look of Songbird via an extension which generates a default skin. Using CSS (and optionally XUL), and an image manipulation program such as Photoshop or GIMP, users are then able to make Songbird look however they want.


Songbird was founded by Rob Lord and developed by Pioneers of the Inevitable (with members who previously developed for both Winamp[6] and the Yahoo! Music Engine).

In January 2010, Philips announced they will ship a personalized version of Songbird with some of their line of portable audio/video players.[7]

On April 2, 2010, it was announced that official Linux support would end with Songbird version 1.7.2. POTI Inc. would instead focus on its Windows and Mac OS X versions of Songbird, providing only unofficial support for Linux releases.

Sometime during late 2012 or early 2013, Songbird's public SVN was taken down, along with their wiki and other source code related utilities. A survey later sent out via Twitter by Songbird suggests that POTI is closing the desktop player source code, planning to later sell an updated version, fixing many outstanding bugs and feature requests by users who have been ignored for years.[8]

Color Meaning
Red Old release
Yellow Unreleased, internal milestone
Green Current release
Blue Future release
Version Release date Codename Significant changes
0.1 February 8, 2006 Hilda
0.1.1 February 22, 2006
  • UI fixes.
  • More file types supported.
0.2 RC1 September 26, 2006
  • Cross-platform
    • Windows 2000, XP
    • Mac OS X (PPC, Intel)
    • Linux (Intel)
    • 30+ languages
  • New features
  • Bug fixes
  • Automatic updates
0.2 October 17, 2006
  • Cross-platform compatibility.
  • Multi-language support.
0.2.5 February 28, 2007
  • Windows Media DRM audio playback.
  • FairPlay audio playback.
  • USB mass storage device support.
  • iPod device support.
  • Automatic locales downloading.
  • Improved OS integration.
0.3 October 30, 2007 Bowie
0.3.1 November 6, 2007
  • Six major bug fixes.
0.4 December 27, 2007 Cher
  • Display panes.
0.5 March 26, 2008 Dokken
  • Media library API.
  • MTP device support.
0.6 June 13, 2008 Eno
  • Memory and performance improvements.
  • Write metadata back to the file.
0.6.1 June 25, 2008
  • Three major bug fixes.
0.7 August 20, 2008 Fugazi
  • Layout and feather changes
  • Smart playlists
  • Drag & drop
  • Dropped support for Mac OS X PPC
1.0 December 2, 2008 Genesis
1.1.1 March 10, 2009 Hendrix
  • Watch folders for changes and auto-import media
  • Fetching Album Art
  • Playback normalization (ReplayGain)
  • Improved sorting
  • Gapless MP3 playback via file metadata[9]
1.1.2 April 9, 2009 Hootie
1.2 June 18, 2009 Isan
  • Automatically Organize Library Files
  • 2-way Sync with iTunes
  • Radio
  • 10-band Equalizer
1.3 N/A Jackson 5
  • Dropped iPod device support[10]
  • Mass Storage Class device support
  • Playback of additional formats
  • Metadata support for MP4 and ASF files
  • Transcoding to MP3 or WMA formats
1.4 December, 2009 Kanye
  • MP3 encoding
  • Mobile device firmware updates
  • CD ripping
  • CD information lookup
  • Notification for un-synced DRM controlled media
1.4.3 December 23, 2009 KoЯn
  • New Feather (Purple Rain)
  • Addons Visual Redesign
  • New First Run Bundle
  • Additional Device Support
  • Critical Bug Fixes
  • Easily Resizable Display Panes
1.5 N/A Led Zeppelin
  • Video Library
  • Video Playback
  • Video Metadata
  • Video Device Sync
  • Performance and Stability
  • Vendor Rebasing
  • General Build Improvements
  • Video Transcoding
  • Windows 7 Support
1.6.0 N/A Madonna
  • Video Transcoding
  • Video Transcoding Device Support
  • Device Video Compatibility
  • Firmware Support
  • Import Network Settings
  • Gracenote metadata
  • Performance and Stability
  • Codec Profiling
  • Startup Localization
  • Some Firefox Addons Start Working on Songbird
1.7.0 N/A Nirvana
  • Photo Device Synchronization
  • AAC Decoder
  • Windows 7 Support
  • Additional Device Support
  • Performance and Stability
  • Ability to subscribe to new podcasts removed.[11]
1.7.2 June 3, 2010 NOFX
  • Additional Encoding Support
  • Additional Device Support
  • SD Card Support
  • Video Window
  • Performance and Stability
  • Official Linux support dropped
1.8.0 September 2, 2010 Orbital
  • New Device Support
  • Mac USB/MSC Support
  • Mac Partner Integration
  • Service Pane Cleanup
  • Device Synchronization and UI Cleanup
  • AAC Encoding
  • Stream Transcoding (Backend)
  • Performance and Stability
1.9.3 February 9, 2011 Pink Floyd
  • Online Media Store Integration
  • Play Queue Addon
  • CD Rip for Mac
  • Firmware Updates
  • Seamless Update for Partner Releases
  • XULRunner 1.9.2
  • Misc Minor Projects
  • 7digital Addon Rewrite (new API)
  • Performance and Stability
1.10.1 November 1, 2011 Qbert
  • Device 2-Way Sync
  • Performance and Stability
1.10.2 January 25, 2012
  • Playlist and track sync with Android devices has been improved.
  • Added official support for Google/Samsung Nexus S, Samsung Galaxy SII, HTC Evo 3D, and Galaxy Nexus.
  • The issue with WMA tracks not being playable after updating to 1.10.1 should be resolved.
  • When creating a Smart Playlist with the criteria of "Playlist is Library", Songbird no longer crashes
1.10.3 May 22, 2012
  • ?
2.0.0 June 8, 2012
  • New skin matches the web app and updated Android skin[12]
2.1 October 31, 2012
  • ?
2.2 February 15, 2013
  • ?

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Auberger, Georges (2010-04-02), "Songbird Singing a New Tune", Songbird Blog, Songbird, archived from the original on April 4, 2010, retrieved 2010-04-02
  2. ^ "Translate Songbird!". Archived from the original on 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  3. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  4. ^ "You gotta know when to fold 'em". 2013-06-14. Archived from the original on July 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
  5. ^ Wayner, Peter (19 October 2010). "Top 10 specialty Web browsers you may have missed". InfoWorld. p. 7. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  6. ^ Songbird Jobs Archived February 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Blankenhorn, Dana (2010-01-07), Songbird now in convenient Philips hardware form, ZDNet
  8. ^ songbird [@songbird] (21 February 2013). "Use Songbird Desktop? Please take our 5 question product improvement survey:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2010-01-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "iPod Device Support - Songbird Wiki". Archived from the original on 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[edit]