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songbird 1.1.1 features picMusic and Web surfing mashup Songbird is out with an impressive number of features that were missing from the last major update. For Windows, Mac and Linux, version 1.1.1 introduces album art downloading, MTP device support, watch folders, improved sorting, and numerous other performance enhancements and bug fixes.

This version continues to push the more iTunes-esque feel of the jukebox/browser, but that's a change users will just have to get used to. Grabbing context-menu album art worked quickly, although users should remember to highlight an entire album to get the art to apply to all tracks. If you only remember to do that after the fact, select all the tracks and run the album art finder again to apply the art to all of them.

The album art feature doesn't work perfectly, though. Although users can replace album art through a track's metadata pane, if you resize the art window in the main dashboard the art itself won't resize. A minor bug, but slightly annoying.

The MTP device support includes the ability to sync DRM-restricted songs between Songbird and your portable media player. Zunes, Sansas, Zens, and others can now be used in conjunction with Songbird. The entire list of support MTP devices and known issues can be read here.

Other features and improvements:

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.

Reduced Installer Packages
We've reduced the installer package size on Mac and Linux by about 45% on each of those platforms.

Improved Memory Usage/Performance
As part of our project to bring down memory usage in Songbird, we've re-tuned the database to be less greedy with your system's memory. On some memory starved systems, this should actually increase performance, but most users shouldn't notice any difference in searching, sorting, scrolling, filtering, or smart playlists. Users with very large libraries (>100,000 tracks) will see the biggest memory use improvements. If you do find things are more sluggish than you remember, please see Tuning Songbird Memory Usage and try adjusting the page cache size upwards. If you find any problems in these areas, please file a Bugzilla issue against Songbird.

7digital MP3 Store Add-on (Beta)
We've partnered with 7digital to bring you the highest quality MP3s (320kbps). You can easily search, purchase, organize and get recommendations directly into Songbird. Just click on the 7digital Music Store node in your Songbird service pane. NOTE: The UK store is fully stocked, but the US and other European stores are still continuing to populate a complete catalog of music. Please file any bugs, issues or suggestions for the 7digital MP3 store specifically in our Bugzilla database.

[image credits: download.cnet.com]