Songbird 0.3

Last week we release Songbird 0.3. It’s the release I’ve been working on since I joined the Pioneers of the Inevitable in January. There are a whole lot of improvements in there to various parts of the application – the database engine was rewritten to be faster and more extensible, we added tabs to the browser, etc – but that’s not what’s really cool. What’s really cool is the new Web API we’ve developed.

Web pages being displayed in Songbird can (with the user’s permission) interact with pretty much the whole music player. We’re exposing both basic playback controls (what’s the current track, play, pause, next, etc) and access to the music library (see what’s in the library, add to it, etc). This means any music web site can offer a really rich integrated experience. Sites like last.fm or Pandora could offer recommendations without requiring you to download a plugin or desktop application, music stores like Emusic or Amazon.com wouldn’t need to provide a separate desktop applications and could offer the kind of seamless player / web-service integration that only Apple is providing at the moment, and there are a million other possibilities that we haven’t even thought of yet. Right now you can see this at work on The Hype Machine.

Steve and I have been hacking on Greasemonkey, getting it integrated with the bird and writing userscripts that add new functionality to web sites that don’t yet know about Songbird. My most complete hack is one that adds album previews (courtesy of Amazon.com’s music store) to album reviews on Metacritic and Pitchfork. It’s useful and its fun!

PS: yes, it supports your bloody iPod…