Songbird

Boing-Boing has a summary post on Songbird — a brand new, open source, universal music player / download / purchasing system designed to provide a common interface onto the dozens (hundreds?) of music download sites and services out there.

A team led by ex-Winamp-er Rob Lord today released a preview edition of Songbird, a desktop media player that offers an open source alternative to services like Apple’s iTunes and the Windows Media Player. Instead of connecting to one locked store full of DRMmed goods, it can connect to any and all available music (and video) on the internet. Code brains behind the project include people who helped build Winamp, Muse, Yahoo’s “Y! Music Engine” media player, and developers from Mozilla Foundation. Initial release is for Windows only, with editions for other OSes to follow in the coming weeks.

The digital music market is becoming increasingly fragmented with a multitude of DRM formats and incompatible media players (both software and hardware). Most people don’t think twice about the fact that when they purchase music from iTMS, they’re permanently buying into Apple’s software and hardware for playback. Or people do think twice about it, but are willing to make the sacrifice in exchange for the excellent discovery and purchasing experience (I’m in the latter category). Songbird can’t fix that problem, but it can — especially assuming a pace of plugin development to match what’s happened for Firefox — at least become a Rosetta stone for locating the music you want.

When I’m looking for a particular artist or album, the order of operations is this: Check emusic.com. If that fails, check iTMS. If I can’t find it in either of those places, I’ll reluctantly launch Acquisition and do the P2P thing. Pandora sits off to the side turning me on to new things, but without letting me grow my library. Songbird could allow all of these paths to converge in one spot — an idea I love.

Thread at DIGG on this. And yes, the Songbird logo bird does indeed appear to be passing gas.

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