SongBird has now reached 1.0 status. It's not exactly "must-have" nor is it Mac-Exclusive, so if I need to edit this post out I might. I've spent an hour with it so far and the verdict? I'm impressed. At first I scoffed at the idea of "fighting the system" by switching from the platform-integrated all-omnipotent iTunes, but gave in to curiosity.Pros:
- Has a sturdy web browser built into it. ( a redundant feature, but it works
- Has Last.fm integration.
- Has this "mashTape" feature that lets you near-instantly see a bevy of user-submitted photos of your artist, where they played at, and includes "bio" information or videos. This is actually pretty cool and even the most Obscure of artist aren't spared (it worked for Studio Pixel
) Works with my 4th gen iPod. (haven't tested this yet, tho
- Installs easily--detects if you're an iTunes user and at your behest will automatically import your iTunes Library w/out moving or copying the files.
- Has a "mini" view mode that TRULY is small yet vary usable. You can set it right below your menubar (or anywhere, really
) and it has all the important controls and information you need. Much better than the default iTunes controller widget in looks, size, and functionality.
- (Last but DEFINITELY not least
) Skinnable, customizable UI. And I mean really
skinnable, for reals. Not like some half-baked efforts you see for anything outside FF3s default. For those of you bored of the brushed-aluminum/gradient-plastic desert that is OS X, some of these skins (called
"feathers") are a real big breath of fresh air. Cons:
- It automatically imports your iTunes music, but fails to import the album art. Apparently they are working on this, but for those of you like me that are REAL sticklers/completionists, this is nearly a deal breaker. There is no "Get Album Art" cure-all command like in iTunes, either. You have to add all album art manually. If your mp3's already have their album art embedded then they might be spared. Also, there is an add-on that displays the Last.fm album art of the current song, which is a half-fix that depends on whether or not you are connected to the internet.
- Certain hotkeys that I took for granted in iTunes are missing. For example, + L in iTunes always displays Currently Playing song in the list view--helpful if you need to examine the file that's currently playing. This, and other very important hotkeys are missing. It seems + i was the only one that survived.
- Speaking of hotkeys, the aforementioned CoverSutra and all it's hotkey-controlling goodness is not compatible with Songbird. This probably doesn't effect most of you but since I paid for CoverSutra, not being able to use it is a downside.
- It does have a "Cover Flow" add-on called "Media Flow" that restores that view mode, but it is slow-w-w-w. Definitely has performance issues over the Real McCoy. This is a minor setback for me since I only sometimes browse by Cover Flow, but is nonetheless missed.
- Sometimes "jitters" when you drag Songbird around. I guess a bird in hand is worth two on the desktop...
Overall? It's good but not *quite* ready for prime-time. This will def be an app I will be watching over time.