Songbird is beautiful.
MediaMonkey is technical.
I mean these words. But I must explain from the bottom. This is a story (read = guide) of my music woes, from playback to organization. Here are two applications that truly make life that much more musical. And pleasant.
MediaMonkey is technical. Not technical in the sense of you need a manual just to play a single song, or a screwdriver to push stop. Technical in the way of if you want to go deep into your music, tweaking here, fixing there, reformatting 12520 songs with an array of tools, then MediaMonkey is the way to go. Its is a Music Organizer. It has all the usual features. Auto-Organize, Smart Playlists and such. Ranks 5 with 90 likes on Alternativeto.net. It deserves more.
It supports up to 100,000 songs, is damn fast considering, and has amazing versatility in its organizational toolbox. It is not very intuitive as to what you want to do, but it is not hard to learn. most things are clearly labeled and it does support plugins. The aren’t an amazing amount, but the ones I got serve a function, and I have found anything else that comes close.
It has native FreeDB support for CD’s, which is nice, but the big kicker comes from its Auto-Tag from Web function. It uses the Amazon.com store with 6 regions(UK, US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France) but you can download a few plugins for more. This will give you album art too, but you only have the choice of the album you choose, so no alternative covers. I suggest sticking to the standard tag info.
The plugin of ‘Batch Art Finder’ works well here, and you can process 50+ albums at the same time. It has multiple choices of artwork, as well as sources Album Art Tagger has a few process to fix Album Art, which really helps.
The last amazing plugin is ‘Tagging Inconsistencies‘. This embeds into MM already-there files-to-edit view. This add many little tools to view any sort of inconsistency in your tags. From capitalization errors, to a full out tracks on the same disk in different folders. It is almost the only reason for using MediaMonkey.
However, it is somewhat neutered but the fact that there is a pay version, which has some of the killer features. No big, everything I mentioned is in the free version.
Here’s the link for the MM plugins (official)
But here’s the collection of great ones by TrixMoto
Songbird on the other hand, is an amazing media player. It is still very young, so is a little buggy, but it is open source, multi-platform, so it is fast becoming the best player I have ever use. As yet it does not support video, but the next stable release is expected to have full video support. Full Last.fm support, plugins (many), watch folders, Auto-Organize folder rules, Smart Playlists lots of standard, a few not so common. Ranks 1st with 243 likes on Alternativeto.net. I was suprized, last time I looked it was pretty low.
It is also fully skinnable, hence the ‘beautiful’ claim I made. It also has a plugin of LyricMaster, an amazing Lyrics finder. The best I have ever seen without 3rd party software running in the background. Great success rate, it uses the LyricsPlugin.com database, and it is amazingly fast. Even on my modem connection it take 5-8 seconds to download the lyrics, display them, and embed them into the mp3 file forever. Very nice, very tidy. Also supports up to 999 songs batch lyric fetch (Above that and mine crashes, and songs with no artist always freezes the fetch. Select your songs, right click, edit metadata, lyrics tab, batch). This is one of the reasons I made the switch over to Songbird.
That and it’s Open Source, so it will get very better very quickly. I will say though, the love affair for me ends with organizing music. It has an unappealing tag interface, just as MM does, but MM has such power behind it. Songbird is good for small amounts of editing, but it really shows it lack of intention of editing when you spend more than 10 minutes editing. However, that is a small flaw in my book, because I feel Songbird never intended to be a killer media organizer, MM did, and added on a player to it. Songbird has given the basic editing features and really focused on the playing of media.
And the web. Yes, Songbird, built on Mozilla framework, has a full web browser. It really is useful for looking up a new artist, creating an awesome playlist or check facebook. It’s even going to have support for some FireFox addons in the next release, 1.6. As yet, I still use the ‘fox, but if I’m playing music, I might as well go through ‘bird. A nice feature would be dragging a Songbird Tab right into Firefox or vice versa. You know, just a little (read = LOTS) code could embed the frame into each other. Hmmm. !!!YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!!!
Actually, a thought just hit me. Songbird and the Pioneers of the Inevitable (The creators, which is also an awesome band name) should create a sort of social network. Like Last.fm or the like. Maybe fully integrated to Last.fm, Twitter and Facebook, that should drive people to Songbird. Have Last.fm’s song stats, twitters feed, and Facebook’s profile. Hmmmm. !!!YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!!! If only I could code, I may just do it..
Anyway, MediaMonkey is the best utility to fiddle with your music and make it look the way it should, while Songbird is the beautiful way to hear your music and, soon, see your videos. One other thing, MM has the Milkdrop music visualizer, which is beautiful, but Songbird has nothing. I’m surprised at that! Maybe once video has landed, the rendering code will be there, but I can’t code, so don’t look at me. But it would be nice.
Songbird also has some amazing gear, just plain cool. I would love some of their items, but I don’t have the money, nor do I live in the right country. Shipping is not cheap. Shirt is not either. Too bad, one day I will be rocking this shirt, but not today. I love Songbird, and play poker with MediaMonkey on the weekends. Both are special