Monday, March 3, 2008

How to install Songbird on Ubuntu

Now this is the way I install my programs that I get from tar.gz's. This is also how I add the extra features to give me the feeling that I installed it through synaptics, and what I mean by that is that this guide not only covers how to install Songbird, but also how to add it to your menu and how to be able to run it from your command line, with just "songbird."

Step 1: Download the newest songbird available, and save it to your Desktop. You can get it from

Step 2: Next we are going to untar the file to /opt/, that's where I put the applications that I install. Here is the command:

sudo tar -xvzf Songbird*.tar.gz -C /opt/

Step 3: This is going to change the permissions to make sure we have access to the folder where songbird is installed.

sudo chown -R username:username /opt/Songbird/

Of Course substitute username, for your actual user name. That should be the basic install of the program, but if you want to add the extra features that I was talking about at the beginning of this tutorial, then go ahead and keep on reading.

Step 4: Now we are going to add Songbird to the menu. So it can be accessed by going to Applications > Sound & Video menu.

Go ahead, and Right-Click your Menu Bar and select Edit Menus.

Once the new window opens up, on the left column (labelled Menus), click on "Sound & Video." Then on the right hand side, click on the button "New Item." The "Create Launcher" window should pop up. Fill out the information like so:

Type: Application
Name: Songbird
Command: songbird
Comment: Open Source Audio Player and Web Browser

For the icon, all you have to do is click the left box, it sort of looks like a spring and type this into the address bar


Hit OK, and close out the Menu Editor window.

The next few steps are to run songbird from the command line, just by typing in songbird, just like any other application. Start off by typing this into command line:

sudo gedit /usr/bin/songbird

Add this following text to the file:


/opt/Songbird/songbird "$*"

Save and close the window out, and then run this command:

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/songbird

... and thats it, now you have Songbird fully installed on your system, Good luck! Most of thanks goes to Artifacial Intelligence, for showing me the layout to this guide, most of the credit should go to him, I just changed a few things.


Christopher said...

I followed your instructions and everything worked perfectly! Thanks!!

Is there a way to set Songbird as a the default audio player? I couldn't find Songbird as a registered audio application in the preferences.

Any help is appreciated... thanks again, though!

Phil said...

Thanks for your excellent how-to. Have you any success getting the Flash player to work in the songbird browser? I've got it working in Firefox (using the ndiswrapper trick) but not in Songbird.

Pete said...

I followed the directions and now I can't launch Songbird :\

Pete said...

nvm...songbird never closed the first time i opened it (when i didn't accept the agreement or whatever) so I couldnt open it when I tried your shortcut. Works great. Is there a default icon songbird comes with that I can use?

Thomas said...

I assume when I set the username, it will mean that I am the only one that can use it. Is there a way to set this up so every user on the computer can use it?

HalfLife said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. It worked well for me.

Jeremy said...

Thanks for this great installation guide - I'm new to Linux and this guide has given me some great insight into installing other applications as well. Much appreciated!

kystorms said...


thanks for the how to, worked great, but i was wondering, how do we uninstall the 0.5 version so the newest will work?

thanks again

Luis said...

Sorry guys for a while I stopped using Linux. I'm shocked that people actually found it helpful.

Please email me at with any questions, I don't check this page to often.

Luis said...

Forget what I said I use Linux

@ Christopher don't know if you might ever read this but in case you do check out my new tutorial on how to make your choice on default programs.

keep in mind if you do read the guide you are going to use the MIME_TYPES for all audio format that Songbird supports. So if songbird supports let say ( MP3, OGG, and WAV ) you will need to create an entry in the mimeapps.list for each of those formats.

The Desktop Entry I talk about is already created in this tutorial.

As for upgrading, just delete the Songbird folder inside of /opt/ and untar the new version just like you did in this tutorial. All the links should be the same, so no need to worry about changing the desktop.entry.

I'm making videos soon, as soon as I can figure out how to get my capture card to work or edit ogg files and output them into flash.

Matthew said...

I am apparently not the owner of the /opt folder and therefore cannot write to it. Any suggestions? Noob here with Ubuntu Studio 8.04.1. I like the fact that Songbird works with syncing ipod nano(3rd gen). It seems that the root owns most of my folder and I cannot access some of them. A bit frustrating

Joe said...

Mathew, the sudo chown command makes you the owner of the folder.

To whoever asked if they'd be the only person able to use it, you won't. You'll be added as an owner of the folder it's in so you can do the following commands. That's all. Others can do the same to add themselves to the list, but you put it in the menu so they don't need to

Intruder 9D2 said...

muy bueno! thnaks you!

Sameer said...

Thanks dude! Great tutorial! Everything is working good.

Chumy said...

Wonderfull help, thankyou very much

Berkem Ceylan said...

Thank you.

sherlock said...

Thank you!! excellent tutorial!!

Luis said...

Glad it can help all you guys out. I'm looking to update the guide a little better soon win some pictures and stuff. Also I found a much easier way to add more stuff to the menu, along with a cool icon that you can use for songbird.

Chitrakayah said...

Thank you so much!
Worked like charm!