SoundBite - Songbird

Steve Lloyd, Chris Sutton, Mark Levy

SoundBite for Songbird is an add-on that automatically creates great sounding playlists and allows you to explore your music collection in map and network based visualisations.

SoundBite For Songbird

Getting Started

  1. Installation
  2. Track Analysis
  3. SoundBite Playlists
  4. SoundBite Media View




Getting Started


If you are new to Songbird, you will first need to download the application for your platform. SoundBite is currently compatible with Songbird versions 1.4.0-1.7.3. Songbird 1.7.3 is available for Windows, Mac, and 32 bit Linux. Install the app and import some music.

The easiest way to install SoundBite is to open up a new tab inside Songbird, navigate back to this page, and click on the download link for your platform above. Songbird will prompt you to restart.

After restart, you should see a welcome page and the Songbird control panel:

SoundBite Install

Track Analysis

Before SoundBite can create playlists and generate visualisations, it has to analyse your music collection. This generally takes 5-8 seconds per song. Analysed tracks will automatically populate the 'SoundBite Processed' smart playlist.

SoundBite playlists and visualisations only consider songs that have been successfully analysed, and you can get started with SoundBite's features as soon as you have a few songs on the 'SoundBite Processed' playlist.

SoundBite Track Analysis

SoundBite Playlists

Creating an automatic playlist is as easy as selecting a track in your media view and pressing 'Create Playlist' in the SoundBite control pane. SoundBite will then load a new playlist containing the most similar sounding songs to your selected seed track.

Use the options below the 'Create Playlist' button to filter and control the size of your playlist. SoundBite will consider all analysed tracks in your current media view when generating a playlist.

SoundBite Playlists

SoundBite Media View

SoundBite Media View has two options, Map View and Network View. Map View shows all analysed songs in a two dimensional space. Network View allows you to explore your collection though a network of similar sounding songs.

Select Map or Network View in the SoundBite control pane and enter SoundBite Media View using the Media View menu next to the search box in the upper right corner of Songird:

Accessing SoundBite Media View

You can also enter SoundBite Media View from the menu bar at View->Media Views->SoundBite Media View:

Accessing SoundBite Media View II

Navigation controls are the same in both views:

  1. Navigate by clicking and dragging on the background.
  2. Zoom by clicking on the ZOOM plus/minus buttons.
  3. Change the size of the track markers by clicking on the MARKER plus/minus boxes.
  4. Access track details by rolling the mouse pointer over track marker boxes.
  5. Play/pause tracks using the circular button in the track context pane.
  6. Rate tracks from the track context pane.
  7. Create automatic SoundBite playlists using the 'soundbite' button on the track context pane.
  8. Build your own playlists using the 'add' button. This adds the song to your SoundBite target playlist. Choose your target playlist in the SoundBite control pane.
  9. Highlight the most similar sounding songs in Map View by clicking on a track marker. Click again to remove the highlighting.
  10. Expand and reorient the network in Network View by clicking on a track marker.
  11. Control track colours using the four options (artist, album, genre, rating) in the SoundBite display pane.


Feedback, feature requests, and bug reports can be sent to


SoundBite sends information to our servers about its analysis of your music collection. This information includes text metadata and numerical results from our analysis algorithms. We do not collect any audio content or copyrighted material. Submissions are completely anonymous.

The purpose of the data collection is to support research in music information retrieval and music recommendation. The SAWA Recommender is an example of a tool powered by the data produced by SoundBite.