iTunes is a fantastic media player that does almost everything I want, but when Raffel prodded me to check out Songbird, I knew this has the potential to be awesome. Here are some initial thoughts:
A couple of gripes I had, (because it’s always good to start with gripes):
- Keyboard shortcuts absent – can’t select it and start/stop/browse songs with Space / Arrow Keys.
- It crashes. A fair amount. It’s still in pre-release tho, so i can’t start going off on that yet.
- Weird lockups which are almost exactly like Firefox. Grrr. Can’t get away from the Mozilla core.
- It keeps asking me to import my iTunes library – even though it’s already there.
- Interface is slooooow to resize. At least on my aging Macbook Pro.
- Too slow.
Things I like:
- I’ve only been using it for a short while, but I find myself returning to it regularly – a good sign! I particularly like the way it intelligently adds songs it discovers on sites such as The Hype Machine into the standard iTunes Store style. This is a fantastic innovation.
- Overall, I love the design. It’s smart, thoughtful and not excessive.
- Love the music browsing functionality. It’s smart that it figures out what you were listening to and adds that as a link.
- Grrr. Locked up again.
There’s quite a few other things to love and I can see lots of ideas for how this could be vastly improved.
What I want to know is what their strategy for getting users / growing market share without hardware is. iTunes had the iPod, Windows Media Player had Windows PCs (and er… the Zune… heh.). What is Songbird going to do to change the game? iTunes is so entrenched right now with the iPod, iPhone and the iTMS crowd, that it’s going to be difficult to move in and take away that market share without tying this to a similarly strong hardware/software/media brand. This is still early days, but I have to say, Songbird Developer Pre-Release 0.3 – you’ve certainly made an impression on me.