Songbird, MediaMonkey – Alternatives to the usual suspects

If you like me get annoyed by the standard offerings available to all Windows users for the purpose of listening to their music collection. Most people know about WinAmp as the only real alternative to Windows Media Player and iTunes, however, recently a whole new crop of media applications have come to the fore and today we look at a couple of them.

Songbird is a music player based on Mozilla technology, which means that it is highly customisable just like Firefox. So expect to see a lot of plug-ins, themes and the like. However, generally speaking, Songbird is a fairly easy to use application and as its main user interface is fairly similar to iTunes so most people will feel right at home when they use it for the first time. The main features are its sleek interface, smart playlists (reminiscent of WinAmp), concert tickets availability, integration and Shoutcast radion in addition to the aforementioned plug-ins and easy customization.

MediaMonkey on the other hand is available in two versions, freeware and Gold version (which adds features like the file monitor, support for various collections, mp3 encoding etc). iTunes like all Apple products has a very sleek and stylish interface and apps such as MediaMonkey and Songbird are a testament to this. MediaMonkey is slightly more complex and we would generally recommend it for more advanced users.

To conclude, I would recommend that you give Songbird a try, but keep in mind that so far it is only in RC (Release Candidate) stage which means there are probably a few bugs to work out.

You can find both MediaMonkey and Songbird here.