Songbird, Great but Am I Missing Something?

I have liked the idea of Songbird since I first encountered it. A cross platform media browser that re-uses much of the same components as Firefox and Thunderbird clearly has a lot to offer conceptually.

I have downloaded and experimented with just about every version since the first public testing release. I like the ability to play media embedded in pages and the browsing metaphor makes sense for discovery of new media. I haven’t focused as much on the library management but it seems pretty typical of these sorts of applications, like Amarok, Exaile and, of course, iTunes. That is not too surprising as they all seem to have ripped popular features off from each other.

Since I am not shopping for a jukebox replacement myself, I have been most curious about Songbird’s potential as a cross platform podcatcher. I was even pleased to notice it has bundled Ogg Vorbis playback in the just now available 1.0 release candidate.

Since they added the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds, however, I have not been able to figure out how to make that feature work. Am I missing something?! I see the subscription in my library but no media attached or available for download. I right-click and hit update…nothing. I am sure I am doing something wrong.

I’d love to be able to recommend Songbird so I don’t have to start off new podcast listeners with the question of what OS they use. Plus, you know, it is open source and like Firefox has a robust extension mechanism. Those qualities together give it great potential to shoot past the other offerings but I cannot in good conscience recommend it for a podcatcher if I cannot figure out how to make that feature even work.

3 Replies to “Songbird, Great but Am I Missing Something?”

    1. That link describes exactly what I am doing. The feed is sitting there in the library, albeit with the server name not the title from the feed. It never downloads anything. Useless. I upgraded from the RC1 version to the full 1.0 version, no difference. At least on OS X, Songbird is useless as a podcatcher.

  1. I’ve just created a little hack which may help.

    The two main problems I’ve encountered are that some RSS feeds just won’t work at all (e.g. National Public Radio in the US), plus Songbird will try to download every episode in a feed, rather than just the most recent one.

    This should solve both problems for you:

    Hope it helps!!


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