8 cool Songbird addons you must try today

Songbird, the cross platform, open source media player, is to multimedia what Firefox is to browsers.  If you already do not have it installed on your system, please do so now before you continue reading. Ubuntu users can follow the steps here. Windows users can just do the usual double clicking on the .exe file.
Songbird is packed with awesome features that makes it a real must have app on your box. There are certain things that it can do which the popular iTunes cannot. The best part of Songbird is that you can extensively customize it with the hundreds of addons available to you. Lets take a look at 8 of such addons that you really need to try on your Songbird.
LiveTweeter for Songbird helps you tweet your tunes. It allows you to post what you are listening on both Twitter and MSN Messenger/Windows Live Messenger. Tweet your tunes with ease with LiveTweeter for Songbird. The  LiveTweeter addon is cross-platform and it works on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux.
Learn more about the artist currently playing from Wikipedia. The information is displayed in the bottom content pane by default. More knowledge of your artist as you enjoy their work.
This time around you can enjoy your Apple toy on your PC without hassle or iTunes. Play your iPod from Songbird and synchronize it with your Songbird library using the iPod device Songbird extension. This extension will mount your iPod in Songbird, allowing you to play songs from your iPod library and playlists. This extension also allows you to copy songs to your iPod or synchronize your iPod from your Songbird library.
This extension simply imports your iTunes library into Songbird.
The iTunes Library Importer functionality is built into Songbird 0.7 and later. You can find it in the preferences under “iTunes Importer.” Simply install the iTunes library importer Songbird extension from the Tools/Add-ons menu, and you’ll be able to import your iTunes music library into Songbird using the “File/Import a Library…” menu item.
Caveat:
The iTunes importer may be used on Linux to import an iTunes library from Mac or Windows. However, the file paths in the iTunes library file must be modified first. For example, a global change such as changing “D:” to “mnt/data” would allow an import of files that were stored on a Windows “D:” drive and mounted on a Linux “/mnt/data” drive.
Simple. Playback M4P files you purchased from the iTunes Music Store. Must have.
This is an addon that works on both Songbird and Firefox. CustomizeGoogle adds links to other search engines and services like social bookmarking websites, removes ads, lets you “scroll infinitely” through search results, make Google services more secure with https://, and other additions that make Google services better.
This addon defines bittorrent made easy. It’s an extension that allows you to download torrents in Songbird (please check if using bittorrent is legal in your locality before using).
Do you like to be reading the lyrics of your song while it’s playing? Then LyricMaster is your answer. It does among other things
  • Displays an icon next to the track in the library if the track has lyrics.
  • Displays the lyrics a song has embedded through metadata.
  • Fetch the lyrics if the song contains no lyric metadata.
  • Allows you to edit the lyrics a song contains.
These are what I think are some cool addons you should give a try today. There are hundreds available that you can try to find your best fit. I would really appreciate it if you share your own list with me.

10 Things Songbird Does That iTunes Can’t

Songbird turned 1.0 this week, and aims to do to iTunes what Firefox did to Internet Explorer. That is, it aims to take the basic design of something closed and proprietary, and turn it into something open and extensible and fun. Songbird aims to give the power back to the people.
Appearing in February 2006, Songbird is five years younger than Apple’s iTunes, and does not yet match it feature for feature. iPod support, album artwork, podcast support and stability are considered beta features and need improving. CD ripping, watching folders for changes and video support are all still coming.
However, Songbird’s unique features make it a great media player in the Web 2.0 world. It is a flexible tool that belongs in the toolkit of any musician who explores new music online. In particular, the way it works with music-related websites and blogs greatly interests me. Songbird has completely changed the way I think about discovering and playing music online.
Here is what Songbird does best:

1. Tabbed Browsing

Like most of today’s web browsers, Songbird comes with tabs. If you can only listen to one song at a time, you might wonder about the point of trying to multi-task within a media player. So far I have found the tabs much more useful than I expected.
With my song library open in one tab, I’ve been able to change settings, install add-ons, explore feathers and surf the web in other tabs. The tabs are also used effectively for displaying photos and YouTube videos of the currently playing artist.

2. Feathers (Themes or Skins)

Songbird is based on Firefox, and shares many of its strengths, including themes, which Songbird calls “feathers”. A variety of feathers are already available, including some nice dark themes, an iTunes-like one, and a Vista Aero look.
As Songbird takes off, I’m sure many hundreds will be created by the user community. This feature alone will give Songbird appeal to those who value creativity and individuality.

3. Add-ons (Extensions)

If Songbird doesn’t do what you want, you can always install or write an add-on. Some of the add-ons that are currently available include:
  • LyricMaster, which displays lyrics so you can sing along. I’m waiting for someone to create a chord chart add-on.
  • MediaFlow, which is similar to Apple’s Coverflow.
  • iPod Device Support, which seemed to work very well when I tested it on a friend’s iPod earlier in the year.
  • LiveTweeter, which adds support for Twitter, MSN/Windows Live Messenger, Pidgin and Mercury.
  • Last.fm Album Art, which may save hours of fiddling.

4. Turn a Web Page Into a Playlist

Songbird includes an integrated web browser based on Firefox, with features like bookmarking and tabbed browsing. A unique feature of the browser is that any playable music files on the page appear in a playlist at the bottom of the screen.
This makes Songbird an excellent tool for exploring new music online, especially when combined with the subscription feature mentioned below. The playlist also allows for easy downloading of songs.

5. Subscribe to MP3 Blogs as Playlists

When you right-click on the page as you view a music-related blog, you’ll see “Subscribe to this page” as an option. Click on this, and you’ll get a chance to choose which folder to save the blog’s music into, and how often Songbird should check the site. After subscribing, the page will appear as a playlist, and new songs will be downloaded to the specified folder automatically.

6. Display Media Related to the Currently Playing Artist

Songbird’s Mashtape feature allows you to discover Flickr photos, YouTube videos, Last.fm biographies, Google news (and more) for the currently playing artist. The Mashtape pane appears under your playlist. It contains tabs for artist info, news, photos and videos.
  • The artist info page contains a short biography, discography, tag roll and web links from Last.fm. Clicking on any links in this section opens a new tab containing the relevant Last.fm page.
  • News is aggregated from a number of sources via RSS, including Google News, Hype Machine and Digg.
  • The Flickr photo stream scrolls smoothly across the screen. Clicking on an individual photo opens the Flickr page in a new tab.
  • The videos are related to the currently playing artist, but not the currently playing song. Clicking on a YouTube video link opens a new tab in Songbird where your video is played.

7. Play a Wide Range of Media Codecs

Songbird supports MP3, FLAC, and Vorbis on all platforms; WMA and WMA DRM on Windows; and AAC and Fairplay on Windows and Mac. I’m by no means a fan of DRM, but the fact that Songbird can play protected files will make it much more usable to some. Add-ons allow the playback of DirectShow and Audible media formats.

8. Better Last.fm Integration

If you haven’t heard of Last.fm yet, sign up for an account today. Last.fm collects a list of every song you play (plugins are available for most media players), recommends songs you may like, and introduces you to people who have similar musical taste. It also allows you to stream a very large collection of music. Besides submitting your played songs to Last.fm’s database, Songbird also allows you to scrobble, love, and ban your tracks directly from the program.

9. Purchase Concert Tickets

If you purchase your concert tickets online (and who doesn’t), you may find Songbird’s integrated Songkick helpful. From within Songbird, you can search for concerts available in your area, and purchase the ticket there and then. Songkick services the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

10. Run It On Linux

Last, but not least, Songbird works on Linux and related operating systems. Yes, I admit that I’m a geek. Like iTunes, it supports Mac and Windows too, which should also keep the rest of you happy.

Make Sure You Look Good in Songbird

Consider how people using Songbird to listen to your music will perceive you. You can use Songbird’s rich media experience to improve the image of your music and band.
  • Use a direct, unobscured link to the MP3 files on your website so that the mini-playlist will appear at the bottom of your screen when viewed in Songbird.
  • Add your band to Last.fm, including a good description and photos, and consider uploading some of your music. This way, when playing your music, Songbird will have something to display, and you won’t come off looking like you’re unknown. Near the bottom of the main page you’ll see a link “Do you make music? Upload it!” which will get you started.
  • If you’re part of a gigging band, make sure your gigs are scheduled in Songkick’s database. That way, when you’re playing in someone’s area one Friday night, they’ll have an extra way to find you. The “Add new concert” link on their home page is pretty hard to miss.

Have you tried Songbird yet? Please share your thoughts.
BTW did you know you can watch thousands of satellite channels for free on your computer without a satellite dish or monthly subscription? You really stand to save a lot.

Source- Audio Jungle