Songbird Becomes...Nightingale!

Several years back, Songbird was going to be the newest, coolest, most-awesome music player ever to grace the Linux desktop. Then things happened, as they often do, and Linux support for Songbird was discontinued. I've been searching for a favorite music player for years, and although plenty of really nice software packages exist, I generally fall back to XMMS for playing music—until now.

Nightingale is truly everything I want in a music player. It is simple, yet powerful. The default install makes listening to music an educational experience. In Figure 1 you can see that as my Jonathan Coulton song plays, I automatically see the lyrics, plus instant information on the artist. If that sort of information doesn't interest you, no problem, Nightingale is highly customizable with plugins, and there are dozens and dozens available from its Web site (Figure 2 shows a handful of plugins recommended during the installation process).

Figure 1. Playing a Song Shows the Lyrics and Artist Info

Figure 2. Plugins Recommended during Installation

Every music-playing software package I've tried has disappointed me in one way or another. In my brief relationship with Nightingale, I haven't found a single thing to dislike. The latest version even provides integration into Ubuntu's Unity interface, if that's the desktop environment you prefer. Due to its simple interface, extendible underpinnings, and its continued devotion to the Linux desktop, Nightingale earns this month's Editors' Choice award. Get it for your computer today:


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


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still using songbird on linux!

sunra's picture

I love Songbird and still use it as my sole music player. I know its not maintained but it has all the plugins I need so why change?

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Thank you!

Matt Parnell's picture

As one of the devs, I'm just happy to say thank you for the award and the fine write up! We're extremely pleased you like Nightingale, and even moreso that you and at least one reader use it as your default music application!

We have a lot of great changes coming under the hood for the next release - upgrading xulrunner, using almost all system deps (sans xulrunner), as well as many frontend changes and enhancements.

Everyone is welcome to idle in our channel on IRC, or even come and join the dev team! #nightingale on

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Bymnemermet's picture


Nightingale runs rings around

gdazer's picture

Nightingale runs rings around Clementine. It's ability to multi-tag existing entries in bulk makes it a winner for me. None of the others comes close. Nightingale should be redefined as an Audio Librarian application, not an mp3 player.

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Old News

Kevin Lynch's picture

Nightingale has been around for a few years. In fact it was forked from Songbird almost as soon as Linux support was dropped.

Not clear how this beats

Anonymous's picture

Not clear how this beats Clementine in any significant way. Clemetine's support for radio stations seems far better out of the box.

Honestly, it's great to see

Andrew Luecke's picture

Honestly, it's great to see the project is now well on its way to succeeding . When we first started the project, it was stagnant for a very long time, so its good to see that the new development team is finally getting stuff done.

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