I posted about Songbird when it was released back in February, but to be honest I’d sort of forgotten about it since then. A discussion of it popped on the Well today and I downloaded 0.2rc3 to take another look. Lots of progress has been made. It imported my iTunes library (it takes just the metadata, not the audio) and it works well. It’s really a CPU hog, though. On my 1.
According to this article, Universal Music is planning to launch a site that will offer free downloads and generate revenue via advertising. It’s called “Spiral Frog”, which I think is a great name – for a high-school kid’s web design business. Oops, sorry, it’s only the first paragraph and I’m already getting snarky. The placekeeper site they have up does have a nice clean faux-Web-2.0 look to it. Universal’s own website is strangely silent on the subject, as of right now anyway.
Late last year the Xiph QuickTime Components project took up where the moribund qtcomponents.sourceforge.net had left off – great news for lovers of open audio formats like Ogg Vorbis. (Vorbis encodes music at higher quality than MP3 at equivalent bitrates, and is unencumbered by patents and licensing.) The latest release of the components, earlier this month, features Intel compatability and preliminary support for FLAC (a lossless encoding). The thing that makes this project so useful is that QuickTime components can transparently provide services to any OS X application relying on QuickTime – such as iTunes.
Songbird, an open source would-be iTunes killer, was made available to the public for the first time today. Version 0.1.0. It builds on well-tested open source projects such as VLC and Firefox. Since iTunes is free, and most consumers don’t particularly care one way or the other about open source, the success of Songbird will hinge on the things it can offer that Apple can’t or won’t. The most promising one is easy access to, and integration with, non-iTunes online music retailers like eMusic.