Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye Rhythmbox, Welcome Songbird!

Although I don't like to admit it, I have always liked the iTunes media player. I know it hogs so much RAM, and that it loves to crash half way through your most loved song - but it is so sexy. I wasn't too keen on the idea of installing and running it through Wine, as it would only use even more RAM then before. I settled for Ryhthmbox in the end, even though it didn't really compare at all to iTunes. I finally had enough of its uglyness this evening, and went on the search to find a better alternative. After a bit of Googling,I had found it!

Songbird is far from just your normal media player. As well as having the ability to play your normal music, it has an integrated web browser, integrated support and many different skins and plug-ins.

Image From: http://www.getsongbird

So what are you waiting for? Run the following command to download it:

Now to unpack it:
tar zxvf Song*.tar.gz

Now we will want to move the icon png image to a different location. You can chose a different location from me if you wish:
cd Songbird
sudo mv songbird.png /usr/share/pixmaps

Rather then having more folders and files cluttering up my home folder, I decided to move the folder to /opt. To do this, run the following command:
cd ..
sudo mv Songbird/ /opt/

The only problem now is that you will have to be root to launch the application. To get around this problem, you will need to change the ownership of the files:
cd /opt
sudo chown -hR username Songbird

*Change username for your username!
You can now run the application by using the following command:

Rather then having to type that command out every time to launch it, you can add the application to the menu. To do this, right click on your menu -> Edit Menu. Now choose which section you wish to place it - I chose Sound & Video, Then chose New Item. Use the following details in the pop-up window:

Name: Songbird
Command: /opt/Songbird/songbird
Comment: Thanks!

To change the icon, click on the image in the top left, and navigate to where you original moved the Songbird icon (/usr/share/pixmaps). When you have found the icon you wish to use, simply click on it to replace it with the default icon. Click OK to complete it.


  1. mv doesn't have a -r switch. It's recursive by default.

  2. you don't like easy ways to install software in Ubuntu? Just download .deb file from and double-click it.

  3. Thanks for that JK, I have changed that error now!

    And about installing it from - to tell you the truth, I didn't even think of checking there. I just came across their website, and decided to do it this way. But thanks anyways!

  4. Have a look at Exaile from the Ubuntu repositories. I much prefer the way it handles playlists with content in the left pane and playlists in the right pane - as per Amarok. The main bug I have seen is that the library needs to be manually scanned for updates, but I am sure that will be fixed soon. Songbird, like iTunes, makes playlist creation a little clunky in comparison. Maybe it just suits my way of playing music and you won't like it, but it costs nothing to give it a try.