We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
15,670 Reviews

Songbird Desktop review - much more than just a media player


Manufacturer: Songbird Desktop

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Songbird Desktop manages your music collection, and it includes features for streaming content & connecting with friends and artists. Here's our Songbird Desktop review.

SongBird Desktop

Songbird Desktop is a media player that's not chained to your desktop, despite its name. Although this free application for PC and Mac will organize you collection and playback audio and video files from your computer, it's also a tool for discovering new music, learning more about your favorite artists, and connecting with friends. See all Software reviews.

Songbird installs quickly and easily, but getting your music into the program is entirely up to you. You have to add files manually, by pointing Songbird in the direction of your media collection. Once your songs and videos are added to Songbird, you can take advantage of its basic media playback functions. You can play songs, rip CDs (but not burn them), create playlists, and more. Songbird does play videos, but you may have to download some video codecs to play back all files, as Songbird doesn't include some that would require it to pay a royalty.

Songbird will sync with Android mobile devices and smartphones, but not Apple's products. While iPhone and iPod owners are out of luck, Android users will appreciate that Songbird syncs with their devices. I had to download an add-on from Songbird's library in order to get the application to recognize my Motorola Droid Bionic, but once I made it through that somewhat confusing process, Songbird worked seamlessly with my phone. In fact, Songbird's extensive library of add-ons is just one of the factors that make this application so interesting.

In there, you can find add-ons that will do everything from adding lyrics to songs as they play to displaying album art from Last.fm. If you're willing to spend some time poking around the add-on collection, you can find plenty of tools for customizing everything from the look of Songbird to the experience of using its Web browser, which displays right in the main window of the application. This  allows you to find out more about your favorite artists. It also allows you to connect with other users, and lets you connect via Facebook to find out what artists your friends like, too.

And that's not all: Songbird also works as a media server, streaming your media collection to UPnP or DLNA devices on the same local network. It's also available as a Web app and an Android app that sync with the desktop version. In short, there's not a lot Songbird can't do.

Songbird Desktop Expert Verdict »

Macintosh OS X 10.5/X 10.6/X 10.7/X 10.8
Windows 7/8/Vista/XP
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

It may all be too much for the casual user who simply wants to listen to a few tunes, and if you want to sync them to your iPhone, you're out of luck. But adventurous music fans looking for a player that they can customize will find a lot to sing about in Songbird.

  • Philips GoGear Connect 3 review

    Philips GoGear Connect 3

    The Philips GoGear Connect 3 Android Media Player has decent sound quality, but bugs and slow performance hold it back.

  • Firefox for Android review

    Firefox for Android

    Mozilla yesterday updated its free Firefox for Android web browser for smartphones running version 2.2 or later, claiming dramatic performance improvements from startup and page-load times to panning and zooming. We took version 14 of the mobile browser for a spin to verify those claims. UPDATED 27 JUNE 2012.

  • Trend Micro SafeSync 5 review

    Trend Micro SafeSync 5

    Trend Micro SafeSync offers a simple and secure way to back up files and access them across multiple devices.

  • Dropbox Android app review

    Dropbox Android app

    The Dropbox app is a service that allows you to send your documents to a cloud server and then lets you reach them at any time from you Android, PC or any other supported device - as long as you have an internet connection.

  • Mozilla Firefox 4 for Mobile review

    Mozilla Firefox 4 for Mobile

    Mozilla Firefox 4 for Mobile is a new Firefox web browser for Google Android that entices with cool features and bookmark syncing across devices.

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model