It's back! I've covered Songbird before, but that's only because it's one of the best open-source alternatives to Apple's iTunes. Well, Songbird just got bumped up to version 1.4.2--a brief fix for a UI glitch that was affecting its December 21 release of version 1.4.1. The latter is really the meat and potatoes of Songbird's latest update, representing as good a time as any to try out this unique and easy-to-use application!
Why Songbird? Well, you won't be locked into using Apple's proprietary iTunes platform... sort-of. For while Songbird supports device synchronization for the app's music files and playlists, users of those i-named Apple devices will still have to use Songbird's clever iTunes export workaround to sync music to their devices. Beside that, Songbird offers a comprehensive amount of media sorting, organizing, and tagging--including playlists that automatically update with new pictures, videos, and tour dates for bands of-interest.
In fact, this is one of Songbird's strongest features. Its built-in Internet-based enhancements deliver a wealth of additional information and functionality beyond what you'd expect to find in iTunes and it's... well, it's single connection to Apple's own Music Store. Shoot, you can even purchase concert tickets through Songbird, not to mention pack a bundle of additional add-ons and customizations to truly trick out your media player/organizer as you see fit.
So what's new with this super-handy music app? Here's a sampling of some of the big changes in the 1.4.1 release:
MSC Device Support: Songbird now supports the syncing of music tracks and playlist to MSC-compatible MP3 players and phones (essentially, Flash-based storage devices). If a track itself isn't compatible with MSC, Songbird will transcode your tunes on-the-fly!
CD Ripping: 'nuff said. Songbird, like iTunes, can now rip your optical discs into little digital files of your choosing--FLAC, OGG, or WMA. The program will also attempt to look up the metadata for said album/disc and tag your files appropriately.
New Skin: It's purple! It's simplified! It's unique!
Every Wednesday, Maximum PC picks a new free or shareware download as its favorite of the week. Have a nifty application that you can't live without? Twitter David Murphy @acererak with your latest suggestions.