I received an email earlier today heralding the arrival of a new version of the Firefox-like music jukebox:

Download Songbird 1.1

Almost a million people have given Songbird 1.0 a warm welcome. We thank you for that. We've listened to your feedback on Get Satisfaction, our blog and Bugzilla. We want to keep bringing out the innovation you deserve. Here is your Songbird 1.1.

New Features

On demand Fetching of Album Artwork
Songbird can now fetch album artwork from the web at your command. Simply select or right-click a track and choose "Get Album Artwork". You can also select your preferred source of artwork. By default, Songbird will retrieve album artwork from Last.fm but you can install other sources such as amazon.com via an add-on.

Watch Folders
You can choose to watch a folder hierarchy for changes and the content will auto-magically be imported in your library. If a file is removed from the watched folder, the corresponding track will be deleted from your Library.

Better Sorting
Library sorting supports unicode collation and better handling of leading definite and indefinite articles such as "The" and "a".

Replay gain support (normalization)
If a track's metadata contains replay gain (including iTunes-specific) information, Songbird will adjust the playback gain appropriately.

Improved Media Core & Better gapless playback
We rewrote the low level media core component for Windows to improve playback performance and lower cpu usage. Also, if an mp3 encoder places metadata information to indicate the exact beginning and end of the audio, Songbird is able to read it and use it to skip padding data that does not contain audio, leading to perfect gapless playback.

MTP Device Support
We fixed many bugs affecting MTP devices on Windows. We've also added the ability to synch authorized Windows Media DRM'ed content to your MTP device. To see if your MTP device is supported, or to report your findings, visit the MTP device page.

7digital MP3 Store (Beta)
Buy high quality MP3s (up to 320kbps) from the 7digital store in Songbird. The 7digital store in Songbird uses your most recently played tracks to recommend albums to you. Plus, 7digital contributes a portion of every purchase back to Songbird's development. Every song you buy supports your favorite artist AND our development. Woot! The UK store is fully stocked, but the US and other European stores are still continuing to populate a complete catalog of music.

Performance Enhancements

We've continued to make the application more stable and zippier in all sorts of ways. Amongst other things, you should notice a smaller memory footprint and decreased CPU usage.

We made some substantial gains this release:

  • Reduced memory use with a large library by 40%
  • Cut CPU usage during playback by half
  • Fixed playback memory leaks
  • Made library caching configurable
  • Added batching to the media importer, reducing memory use by 60%
  • Reduced Mac download size 45%
  • Fewer Crashes: We've worked hard to identify and fix ten of the most common crashes in Songbird.

For Developers

You can now invoke Songbird from a url. For instance,

songbird:open?url=http%3A%2F%2Flast.fm will launch Songbird and open a new tab pointing to http://last.fm. For more information, review this article in our developer section.

What's Next

Our goal is to continue to focus on building a world-class, open music player. Our next release will consist of continued focus on performance and stability gains, implementing additional audio features, and much more. Stay tuned to the blog to keep up to date, or if you like to live dangerously check out one of our nightly builds and see the progress for yourself! We're always interested in hearing your feedback so please visit our blog and post a comment or file bugs or feature requests in Bugzilla.