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Mozilla Software Businesses Media Open Source

POTI, Creators of the Songbird Media Player, Call It Quits 67

ilikenwf writes "Pioneers of the Inevitable has announced on their blog that they will be folding on June 28. Started in 2007, the company went on to create the Songbird Desktop and mobile players, as well as the Facebook app. Their legacy lives on in Nightingale, an open source fork of the Songbird Desktop player that runs on Linux, Windows and Mac. No word yet on whether or not their currently closed source code will be opened up or not, but their contributions to the world of open source software are appreciated, and won't be forgotten."
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POTI, Creators of the Songbird Media Player, Call It Quits

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  • Not unexpected (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jrohr ( 592873 ) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @06:15AM (#44014043)
    since I first tested Songbird, I never felt that this would be able to become a success. It may have incorporated some interesting idea, but basing a media player on a heavyweight application such as Mozilla was a weird decision to start with. A media player should be fast, snappy and responsive, not take a minute to start.
  • I Guess ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @06:16AM (#44014047)

    I guess this was inevitable.

  • I never understood (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mrmeval ( 662166 ) <> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @06:33AM (#44014081) Journal

    I never understood how they were going to monetize that. There were enough players that were good enough and free that I didn't see the point.

    • ...they said the same about YouTube.
      • It's not easy to monetize a website, but compared to a desktop application? Are you kidding me?

        With a website you have a limited resource that you can control access to. That's just not the case with desktop software.

        Users *refuse* to put up with ads in desktop apps. Period. A certain percentage of users will pay if the app is top-notch, but when you're competing against free products it's a tough sell. The Songbird folks certainly had some tough free competition -- Winamp, iTunes, Foobar, etc.

        • by mrmeval ( 662166 )

          I like my hand hacked python front end that calls whatever is needed to play the music I pick. All of it's command line players which are sox, flac, ogg123, mpg321 etc etc even some rooshin abomination send by the evil commies to seduce me with Russian DISCO!

  • Spotify
    iTunes ...
    pick one.

    • On desktop, I'd say killed by iTunes and Rythymbox applications and Pandora or Spotify streaming services. On mobile, Poweramp is Sondbird's biggest competition for locally stored music and (once again) Pandora/Spotify streaming.
    • I've been using XBMC (on my media center) and MusicBee (on my win7 personal machine) alongside MP3tag to fix/sort my collection. I've tried many different players on my own machine and just can't find one that does both large library management, importation/fix, etc, to my satisfaction. Bonus for Android sync of all the songs on a playlist. Testing Clementine but wondered if there were any suggestions that fit the bill. - HEX
    • I'd say it was killed by Songbird. They made a rash of poor decisions which quickly ruined one of my favorite media players (not the least of which was abandoning Linux.)
  • Click Here [] to download the latest source code.

    • by redback ( 15527 )

      I'd like to point out that whoever wrote the post didnt RTFA, because it was linked there.

  • by monzie ( 729782 ) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:22AM (#44014155) Homepage

    Bit saddened about the demise of Songbird. It seems I'm one of the few people who not only liked using it but loved the fact that one could write extensions using the familar XUL stuff. ( i.e., If you know how to write Firefox extensions, you know how to write Songbird extensions - and all you need to know is JS, CSS and a bit of XML )

    I think their initial idea was good, even laudable - build an open source media player and make it easy to write plugins. I guess they wanted to have an extension ecosystem just like Firefox's ( which arguably is the richest in the world amongst browsers )

    I think it failed not because most people who want to listen to music aren't techies and they're happy ( and I'm talking about people using MS Windows on their computers ) with Windows Media Player , winamp or whatever else cool kids are using to play music these days ( I consider both Zune and iTunes to be way more bloated than needed )

    I guess OSX users never typically use anything other than iTunes ( I myself didn't for the 4 years that I used OSX as my primary OS )and linux users went with Amarok ( good) or Rythmbox ( not so good) . I personally like the audacious music player.

    There was no space left for Songbird - to distinguish itself - I wish it had been bundled with more linux distros. It used to do a good job at syncing Android phones - I wish more manufacturers had bundled it along with their 'phone software' ( I'm looking at you Samsung Kies, you abomination!)

    RIP, Songbird.

    • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

      "I think it failed not because most people who want to listen to music aren't techies and they're happy ...with Windows Media Player , winamp or whatever else cool kids are using to play music these days..."

      People who want to listen to music want to listen to music, not pollute the process with tribalist nonsense such as this. People have better things to do than engage in nerd wars over music players. How many plugins does a music player need? None.

      It's sad that so many people value what "team" they are

    • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      They didn't find their niche. In general, there are the Winamp fans who have always been Winamp fans, people who like the simplicity of iTunes or WMP, the hard core audio guys who like foobar2000, the people with huge media libraries who use MediaMonkey or jRiver, etc...

      Songbird didn't quite fit into any of these categories. Not tweaky enough for the audiophiles, not simple enough for the casual user, not comprehensive enough for the digital media completists...

    • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

      The most interesting thing about this announcement is that there was a songbird. Never heard of it and based on the number of responses, neither had anyone else. No surprise then that it folded. I mean, compared to winamp, wmp, itunes, or a host of of other players that are all free, does Songbird do the one main thing better than any of them? Namely, play music? (For the slow - that's a rhetorical question) I don't know about the masses, but I don't care to share information about what I'm listening to or

      • for a while it was the most convenient way to sync music to an ipod on linux. don't know if this is easy these days or not as I eventually resorted to a VM with itunes.

        • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
          THere's at least half a dozen direct copy programs available for ipod synchronization. I'm not sure why I would want something that doesn't focus on that for Linux. Linux has many other players that are decent. So I'd still question why I'd want something out of the mainstream just to copy music to an ipod. So it still reverts to the main question - what does Songbird provide?
    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      Bit saddened about the demise of Songbird

      I'm not. It was crap. Crap software should go extinct or be improved. It never improved. A music player built out of a web browser engine was the most convoluted way I could think of to make a music player.

      I think it failed not because most people who want to listen to music aren't techies and they're happy ( and I'm talking about people using MS Windows on their computers ) with Windows Media Player

      I'm a techie and I despised Songbird. It was better to simply u

  • Forgotten? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:58AM (#44014219)

    but their contributions to the world of open source software are appreciated, and won't be forgotten.

    While I appreciate a contribution to the opensource, to remember something one needs to know about it first.

    ~$ sudo apt-get install songbird
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    E: Unable to locate package songbird

    (translation: debian/ubuntu has nothing to remember).

    • Your apt-fu is a bit wanting. There's still traces of the program in the Debian archives:

      $ apt-cache search songbird
      pidgin-musictracker - Plugin for Pidgin which displays the current music track in your status
      xul-ext-useragentswitcher - Iceweasel/Firefox addon that allows the user to choose user agents
      $ apt-cache show xul-ext-useragentswitcher | grep -B2 Songbird
      The User Agent Switcher extension adds a menu and a toolbar button to
      switch the user agent of the browser. It is designed for Firef

  • by Anonymous Coward Surprised it lasted a few more years.

  • Naturally (Score:4, Funny)

    by moronoxyd ( 1000371 ) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:37AM (#44014341)

    I just started using Songbird a few days ago, so they HAD to fold now.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:11AM (#44014475) Homepage Journal

    The world didn't need another monolithic music player. We already have Rhythmbox, which works fine, and Banshee, if you really want to maximize the bloat by including mono. Songbird offered nothing not already in both of these programs. It has no reason to exist.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      Are you serious? Apparently you aren't aware of a couple things, like:

      * it was/is cross platform - Mac, Windows, Linux, and yes, Android and iPhone
      * it could sync media in a manageable way on multiple devices
      * recent versions had 'cloud' type sync services available

      Oh yeah, and it just happened to have one of the better interfaces and functionality, to boot.

  • Irony Much? (Score:3, Funny)

    by lisabeeren ( 657508 ) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @09:17AM (#44014493)
    Pioneers of the Inevitable: Irony Much?
  • When the first iteration of Songbird arrived, I wanted to see it succeed. Something open source, cross platform, with XUL/Mozilla style addons seemed like a great idea. Unfortunately, Songbird seemed to fall short in many areas.

    For instance, it was rarely updated and lacked features such as iPod/iPhone sync etc.. that caused many to turn away. It was unfortunate that it didn't say... implement gtkPod etc.. and other facets of FOSS "media jukebox" style players that would have enabled it t

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      Unfortunately, Songbird was/is one of the only good media players on Android that I've come across. As near as I can tell, I'm basically pressed with the options between Songbird, WinAmp, and Google Play (at least for music), and of those, Songbird is by far the best.

  • was Inevitable.
  • "... their contributions to the world of open source ... won't be forgotten."

    Quite right. Pretty hard to forget something you never even knew existed.

    I've been involved in the "cutting edge" of the software industry for many years, but I don't recall ever even hearing of Songbird before.

  • by D1G1T ( 1136467 ) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:38PM (#44016289)
    I'm big on cross plaform, and listen to music on Mac and Linux on a regular basis. Never heard of Songbird. Their lack of self promotion and word of mouth may have been a factor here.
  • Just wanted to clarify a couple of things. The Songbird SVN has been down for some months now, but they did put up the link mentioned in the comments above fairly recently.

    As for Nightingale, we're still staying around even though we're not perfect yet, we have a handfull of devs still owrking on things - right now we're working or way to using a modern xulrunner instead of 1.9, which is what Songbird and Nightingale have used up until now. We're also going to ask POTI if we could get the source code to
  • by Mister Liberty ( 769145 ) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @04:50PM (#44017187)

    I could just shrug my shoulders and boogie on outta here.

  • I stopped using it awhile back for a few reasons: 1) They killed off the Linux version instead of the OS X version, despite having a larger market share from Linux AND getting 2-3x as much contributed code-wise from Linux as opposed to Mac. Normally I am fully understanding of catering to the larger user base, but this seemed like a bad idea. 2) They dropped iPod device support after version 1.3. Seriously if I wanted to continue using it as an iTunes alternative, which they were pitching it as, I had to
  • I liked the concept of Songbird, even though it was too 'heavy' a program, what with all the Mozilla stuff in the background. I really was looking for a replacement to Winamp, but Songbird didn't work. The problem was that it was painfully slow to parse the media library from my SMB share (Winamp was about 10 times faster), and that was just a show-stopper for me (I'm a music enthusiast, and play a little bit myself, so I have a rather huge library). So I went back to Winamp, and would check Songbird twice
  • I mean nobody listens to music on the desktop, haven't for years. Could be a great little Phone app though.

    Although don't be idiots and try to make an iOS music app. I mean really you think you can do better then iTunes on iPhone/iPod, the company that invented the modern music player.

    Android has no decent music app, even Google's own Play Music. Part of the problem is that there is no uniform structure to music on Android, so everybody just dumps music all over the device and tries to associate them ran

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