Will the Songbird chirp the loudest?

(source, via LostRemote) Oh, heavens. TDI is going to try writing a technology piece. So help us all!

Rob Lord, a digital music “veteran” (dudes, the industry isn’t that old!), has started a new five-person company called Pioneers of the Inevitable (heh), and their first project? A “Firefox” for the online music industry, Songbird. The company wants to create a music-playing software that will “work naturally” with the growing number of music sites and services on the Web, instead of being focused on songs on a computer’s hard drive. “That’s where iTunes, which plugs only into Apple’s own music store, falls short,” Rob Lord argues. He says that iTunes is like “Internet Explorer, if Internet Explorer could only browse Microsoft.com.”

Among the digital media giants, Microsoft Media Player accounts for 45% of all PC music playing, with Apple’s iTunes taking in 17%, and, as CNET puts it, “the rest fall off sharply from there.”

Lord worked at Nullsoft, which created Winamp. He also worked to launch Yahoo! Music’s subscription service. This new piece of software, Songbird, will be open-source, like the Firefox browser. (Firefox only claims 8-9% of the browser market.) Using the open-source “XML User Interface Language”, it will let people create their own look for the software via HTML, and will let developers write their own plug-ins and add their own special features. Just like on their own websites!

So, what on earth does all that stuff above mean? Ultimately, a listener could create a playlist that draws from their personal hard drive, a Web-based subscription service like RealNetwork‘s Rhapsody, and an online music storage locker (like MP3Tunes). Since it’s “open-source”, the software can easily be ported to PC, Macintosh and Linux-based computers.

However, as the article mentions towards the END, is that “little of this has actually been built yet.” But when they do build it, it’ll be released early next year.


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