Our Mac worlds are full of choice. Look at the browsers available for computer users these days. Safari. Firefox. Opera. And a dozen more.
What about music players? Mac and Windows PC users get the ubiquitous and highly capable iTunes (complete with the all-important QuickTime installation). Windows users get Windows Media Player.
Need more choices? I don’t know why, but there’s Mozilla’s Songbird. Mac or WIndows or Linux. And it’s free. As in beer. Or Firefox.
Mac users have life pretty good when it comes to managing digital content—music, photos, movies. iLife is the basic digital hub management tool.
The music player of choice for Mac users, by far, and for many Windows users, is iTunes. Why? It’s there. It’s free. It works. Beyond being a music player, iTunes also syncs up with our iPhones and iPods.
Access to the largest commercial library for music, TV shows, and movies only makes iTunes more valuable.
It probably has something to do with the whole Open Source, non-proprietary, cross platform, extensible mind-set of those folks.
Regardless, Songbird—a straightforward music player for everyone—is pretty slick, albeit somewhat simplistic in nature. Hey, it plays music. Your music. Downloaded music. Streaming radio music.
Before you ask the question, “Why?” let me give you a quick tour. Songbird looks like iTunes did a few years ago without the iTunes Store or movies or TV shows. Basically, Songbird is a music player.
Sure, there are a handful of add ons—MashTape for Flickr photos and YouTuve. ShoutCAST Radio. Uh, sorry. That’s SHOUTcast Radio. There’s a difference. There’s also Songkick Concert Tickets.
Simply put, Songbird is about music. Import music from your Mac or PC, from iTunes, from CDs one day, but not yet. Create smart playlists, and encode and play back music formats you won’t find on iTunes or Windows Media Player.
Ogg Vorbis users rejoice. Deliverance has arrived. Hello? Anyone out there still using Ogg Vorbis?
Songbird also plays MP3’s, naturally, and WMA with WMA DRM, as well as AAC (think MP4) and Apple’s Fairplay DRM, Mac or Windows.
In other words, Mozilla figures that the choices in music players for Mac and PC users isn’t enough and that many millions of users will want to use Songbird because—it’s cool, it’s different, it’s free, it’s non-proprietary (sort of), it’s from Mozilla, it’s akin to Firefox, it handles album art, it plays Ogg Vorbis.
What more could music lovers want?
And, somehow, but I haven’t figure it out yet, Mozilla has found a way to make money with Songbird (you thought they built Firefox out of love and kindness? No, it makes money).
To date, Songbird works fine on my Mac and our home PC (still running XP circa last century, I think). The question of the day is a simple one. Are you so dissatisfied with iTunes (or, aghast, Windows Media Player), that you need yet another music player?