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

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the but-you-can-reuse-bits-of-it dept.

Mozilla 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 Songbird.me 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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Not unexpected (4, Insightful)

jrohr (592873) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

Re:Not unexpected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014071)

I use music on console. It lacks facebook integration but that's not a major draw back.

I am at peace now (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014297)

It lacks facebook integration but that's not a major draw back.

If you considered it to be a major drawback, out of shear utter despair, I would commit seppuku with a butter knife.

The fact that you even mentioned makes me glad that I am middle aged and I don't have too many decades ahead of me.

I have to thank you in that I don't fear death anymore and the thought of my eventual demise gives me a great sense of peace.

Re:I am at peace now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014427)

We need to talk about that whoooshing sound that everyone but you just heard...

Re:Not unexpected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014079)

I felt their social focus and changes in the past year or two may have done it. In the past I liked it and it had potential, but it seemed to have become misguided.

Re:Not unexpected (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 10 months ago | (#44017207)

I used it for awhile and...meh. The Gecko engine really doesn't work great in this case, it always felt sluggish, and the few features it had frankly was done better in other players.

So I don't think that adding social crap (which seems to be the hip thing to do) really made a difference, its the fact that at its heart the only thing that was different about Songbird was it being built on a browser...yet most people don't have a desire to surf with their media player.

Re:Not unexpected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44016169)

Kidding? iTunes is a bloated monstrosity too, takes longer than most apps to start (ass. Windows)

Re:Not unexpected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44037285)

Agree 100%

Was the reason I stopped using it.

I realise it is all a matter of personal opinion, but for me nothing beats Winamp (free version). Instant loading and FAST in everything it does!

I Guess ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014047)

I guess this was inevitable.

Re:I Guess ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014849)

Yes, I've found it's only a matter of time to the next POTI break.

I never understood (3, Interesting)

mrmeval (662166) | about 10 months ago | (#44014081)

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.

Re:I never understood (1)

deadlydiscs (1505207) | about 10 months ago | (#44014173)

...they said the same about YouTube.

Re:I never understood (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 10 months ago | (#44016695)

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.

Re:I never understood (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 10 months ago | (#44020215)

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!

Killed by... (1)

madmarcel (610409) | about 10 months ago | (#44014107)

iTunes ...
pick one.

Re:Killed by... (1)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about 10 months ago | (#44014429)

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.

Re:Killed by... (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about 10 months ago | (#44015357)

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

Re:Killed by... (1)

JK_the_Slacker (1175625) | about 10 months ago | (#44017571)

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.)

It has been open sourced (1, Redundant)

loosescrews (1916996) | about 10 months ago | (#44014123)

Click Here [getsongbird.com] to download the latest source code.

Re:It has been open sourced (1)

redback (15527) | about 10 months ago | (#44014141)

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

Re:It has been open sourced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014151)

except the link above does not provide any actual download of the source and their svn server that used to contain the open-source desktop player have been unavailable for some time ... (haven't tested that svn in a while though; so it might be up again)

Re:It has been open sourced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44016889)

Yeah, their SVN has been down for ages....those snapshots are the only things available now.

Saddened, not surprised (4, Insightful)

monzie (729782) | about 10 months ago | (#44014155)

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.

Re:Saddened, not surprised (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about 10 months ago | (#44014197)

"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 on so highly.

Re:Saddened, not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44017919)

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.

"People just want to drive to work, not pollute the process with tribalist nonsense such as this. People have better things to do than engage in nerd wars over car brands and models."

Untrue? Absolutely.

How many plugins does a music player need?

Spoken with true arrogance, using your own ignorance as though it is evidence. "I don't understand therefore it is trivial and unimportant."

Re:Saddened, not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44020131)

>How many plugins does a music player need?

Core (2012-06-07 18:37:46 UTC)
        foobar2000 core 1.1.13
foo_ac3.dll (2012-08-29 07:57:04 UTC)
        AC3 decoder 0.9.7
foo_albumlist.dll (2012-06-07 18:36:18 UTC)
        Album List 4.5
foo_audioscrobbler.dll (2010-06-03 22:27:04 UTC)
        Audioscrobbler 1.4.7
foo_burninate.dll (2012-08-14 15:50:22 UTC)
        Audio CD Writer 3.0.3
foo_cdda.dll (2012-06-07 18:36:12 UTC)
        CD Audio Decoder 3.0
foo_comserver2.dll (2006-07-31 19:13:20 UTC)
        COM Automation server 0.7 alpha 6
foo_converter.dll (2012-06-07 18:35:52 UTC)
        Converter 1.5
foo_dsp_dolbyhp.dll (2010-01-22 03:40:28 UTC)
        Dolby Headphone Wrapper 1.4.1
foo_dsp_std.dll (2012-06-07 18:36:20 UTC)
        Standard DSP Array 1.0
foo_facets.dll (2011-10-03 10:13:24 UTC)
        Facets 1.0
foo_fileops.dll (2012-06-07 18:35:14 UTC)
        File Operations 2.1.3
foo_input_dts.dll (2013-01-30 06:21:04 UTC)
        DTS decoder 0.3.1
foo_input_std.dll (2012-06-07 18:35:58 UTC)
        Standard Input Array 1.0
foo_playcount.dll (2011-11-18 17:27:32 UTC)
        Playback Statistics 3.0.2
foo_plorg.dll (2011-11-27 00:17:58 UTC)
        Playlist Organizer 2.4
foo_pqview.dll (2008-03-11 08:02:54 UTC)
        Playback Queue Viewer 0.2
foo_queuecontents.dll (2011-10-03 10:13:24 UTC)
        Queue Contents Editor 0.4.5
foo_rgscan.dll (2012-06-07 18:35:56 UTC)
        ReplayGain Scanner 2.1.2
foo_ui_hacks.dll (2011-11-22 22:17:31 UTC)
        UI Hacks 2011-09-25
foo_ui_std.dll (2012-06-07 18:36:16 UTC)
        Default User Interface 0.9.5
foo_uie_esplaylist.dll (2011-11-19 10:00:41 UTC)
foo_uie_lyrics3.dll (2011-11-21 12:03:32 UTC)
        Lyric Show Panel 3 0.2
foo_uie_wsh_panel_mod.dll (2011-11-17 12:25:54 UTC)
        WSH Panel Mod 1.5.0
foo_upnp.dll (2012-05-10 08:48:34 UTC)
        UPnP/DLNA Renderer, Server, Control Point 0.99.40

About that many, though some of them I don't use. So yeah, go back to church if you want to be narrowminded.

Re:Saddened, not surprised (1)

JBMcB (73720) | about 10 months ago | (#44014301)

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...

Re: Saddened, not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014467)

Hey, don't forget the unix fanboys with mpd.

Re:Saddened, not surprised (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 10 months ago | (#44014995)

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 futz with plugins for music, or really anything other than: play music. I also don't want anyone tracking what I'm listening to, nor provide ads (WinAmp....) Management of music has always been a pain, and none of the players I've used to date do it well, IMNSHO. They require too much manual work and have too view choices, or maybe enough choices but too weak an algorithm to properly deal with the resulting meta-data. It still wouldn't warrant writing a new player.

Re:Saddened, not surprised (1)

jeffstar (134407) | about 10 months ago | (#44020039)

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.

Re:Saddened, not surprised (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 10 months ago | (#44026169)

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?

Re:Saddened, not surprised (0)

bmo (77928) | about 10 months ago | (#44015983)

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 use Play (a sox front-end) and a music list. That's what techies do. They find a simple solution that doesn't put a load on their machines like Songbird did. Songbird was a load, in multiple senses of the word.


Forgotten? (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about 10 months ago | (#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).

Re:Forgotten? (1)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 10 months ago | (#44018659)

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 Firefox, Flock,
  Seamonkey and Songbird, it comes with a set of predefined useragent string

So while Songbird itself can't be downloaded, other programs still reference it.

Thought it died years ago (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014237)

http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/04/04/1244244/songbird-drops-linux-support Surprised it lasted a few more years.

Naturally (3, Funny)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 10 months ago | (#44014341)

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

Re:Naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014889)

Oooo - What are you going to use next?

Re:Naturally (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about 10 months ago | (#44015313)

Please don't bother with VLC. You wouldn't enjoy it.

Re:Naturally (2)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 10 months ago | (#44015369)

I do, actually. It's free, runs everywhere, has an equalizer, and doesn't try to do a bunch of cataloguing/internal database shit that I don't want.

Re:Naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44015757)

Please start using GNOME 3 right away then.

Re:Naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44020479)

go back to xmms. it still rules

Why? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#44014475)

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.

Re:Why? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 10 months ago | (#44023279)

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.

Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44014619)

See, I've already forgotten them. I tried Songbird long ago...didn't do much for me.

I wanted to see it succeed, but... (1)

RanceJustice (2028040) | about 10 months ago | (#44015133)

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 to provide a better featureset. As others have said, it just didn't do any particular thing "well enough" to distinguish itself, but moreover it fell down on the job in many areas and seemed to lose direction. It started to drift away towards pushing the "SOCIAL SOCIAL SOCIAL" aspect , then fixated on Android, became a semi-proprietary Last.FM clone etc... all without doing coming to a level of competency in a number of core features that made it noteworthy; it just seemed erratic. The "on again, off again" relationship with Linux is a prime example. First they were going to develop/build it for Linux, then it lagged behind, then they basically ignored it and eventually said they weren't going to bother, leading to the creation of the Nightingale fork, then coming back to Linux again with 2.0 etc... Nightingale has come into its own but still languishes behind other FOSS media players in many features; its a pity they were not supported properly from the beginning.

I'm sad to see what could have been a promising project fall short, but it really lacked direction (switching to all the "social, proprietary" nonsense was a great indicator ) and simply someone to come out and say "Can we at least offer a baseline of what Amarok/Banshee/Rhythmbox/Clementine/Miro etc.. does and after we do that, where do we distinguish ourselves?. Thankfully, there are other FOSS media players out there that have made more progress and shine at what they do.

Re:I wanted to see it succeed, but... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about 10 months ago | (#44023291)

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.

Not Forgotten? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 10 months ago | (#44016271)

"... 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.

never heard of it (2)

D1G1T (1136467) | about 10 months ago | (#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.

OP Here... (1)

ilikenwf (1139495) | about 10 months ago | (#44016927)

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 their closed source addons, such as MTP and DLNA support, and for the source to their addons platform with it's database, and the source to the mobile versions. We're game to maintain and improve upon all they offered, it's just going to be interesting to see how they respond.

if only VLC would tickle my ballsack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44017209)

it does just about everything else

Eh this was inevitable (1)

redmid17 (1217076) | about 10 months ago | (#44017315)

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 be able to manage my music with it as well. Signing up to support Zune was an idiotic idea, but they could have at least released the source code to let someone fork the add-on. I guess it really comes down to great idea, (usually) bad execution.

lacking necessary features (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44018405)

I was going to switch to Songbird on OS X a few years back so i could get away from iTunes, but it didn't even support playback from audio CDs...?

(and it still doesn't)

Re:lacking necessary features (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44023281)

Audio CDs ? Because playing mp3/flac is too easy

Couple of reasons (1)

Alarash (746254) | about 10 months ago | (#44028145)

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 a year or so to check their progress.

Then about a year ago I found out about Foobar2000 http://www.foobar2000.org/ [foobar2000.org] and I never fired Winamp up ever again (as soon as I figured how to setup foobar). It's got all the geeky plugins ('components') I need, such as Kernel Streaming, AudioScrobbler and live Lyrics. The only downside is that it runs only under Windows.

Make it for phones then (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 10 months ago | (#44041235)

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 randomly to artwork and gracenote tags, etc. Its a mess. If Google even just tried to associated your music to artwork and information automatically then it wouldn't be half bad, but I am tired of seeing a bunch of generic icons and poorly named songs on my Android which is why I don't use it as a music player.

Re:Make it for phones then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44045801)

So glad you can speak for everyone who just might play music from their desktop machine.

Also glad you called out all those companies making portable music players before iPod. Too bad they weren't modern.

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