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Syncing Your Android Device with Songbird Using MSC

posted by Administrator on Thursday, February 04, 2010

Back in the summer I posted a tutorial on using the FolderSync add-on for the Songbird music player as a way to synchronize music to your Android device. If you are using a previous version of Songbird (earlier than 1.4), that post is probably the best place to start.

A new and improved version of Songbird is now available. The new release has a completely new look, but more importantly for Android users, has a new option for syncing music to your device: the MSC Add-on. This is probably the closest thing Android user now have to the iTunes experience for managing music on your device.

If you haven't seen it yet, the new Songbird look is quite impressive (this is the Purple Rain feather):

Songbird 1.4 with the Purple Rain feather (screenshot)

Even more impressive is how easy the new synchronization option is to implement and configure.

Install Songbird 1.4 

Install Songbird 1.4.3 if you have not already (you must have Songbird 1.4 or higher). During the installation, the MSC Add-on should appear as a recommended extension.

If you want to verify that the extension is already installed, you can select Add-Ons from the Tools menu. If you do not see MSC Device Support listed, click the link on the lower right of the screen labeled Get Extensions. Enter MSC in the search box on the top right of the screen.

On the search results page, locate the entry labeled MSC Device Support. You should see a download button on the right side of the screen, click this button to begin the installation process:
Click on the Download button to install the MSC Device Support Add-on
click on Install Now when prompted to install the extension (screenshot)

Click Install Now. Once the installation is finished, you will be prompted to restart Songbird:
restart songbird (screenshot)

Connect Your Android Device


Once you restart Songbird, you can plug your Android device into your computer. Pull down the notification bar and select the USB Device Connected alert, then tap  Mount on your device when prompted; this will enable USB storage mode.

At this point, you should see your device in the left frame of the Songbird window. The first time you connect your device Songbird will prompt you for a name.
device listed on the left side of the Songbird window (screenshot)

Create or Manage Playlists


If you are like me and have a large music library and a small SD card, you will want to only sync specific content. Instead of manually dragging music to the phone while connected, this is what I recommend:

  • Create a new playlist (or set of playlists) specifically for your phone. To do this, right-click Playlists in Songbird and select New Playlist.
  • From media view, drag the songs or albums you want to add to your device over to the new playlist. Your Android device does not have to be connected when you perform this step.

Configure Device Options


Now, select your Android device on the left side of the screen, you will see something like the following:
Android device view on Songbird (screenshot)

To limit your synchronized content, click the radio button labeled Selected playlists, then place a check next to each playlist you want to synchronize to your phone; click Save.

There are options to format your SD card and perform a device repair on the Tools tab. I haven't tried either option, and I wouldn't recommend it: there is no guide that explains these options (that I can find), and although the format option is self-explanatory, it's difficult to say what the second option would do to your device.

The Settings tab has some additional options:
Device settings (screenshot)

You can limit the amount of space used for music on the card to prevent it from becoming full. You can also control what the folder structure looks like for music on your device, the default configuration uses the format Artist\Album\Track.

Finally, there are three controls on the upper right hand side of the screen:
Device controls (screenshot)

The first one will display information about the current device:
Android device information (screenshot)

The second button will eject your device so it can be safely removed from your computer. The last button will perform a manual sync (required if you disable automatic syncing). If you have automatic synchronization, Songbird will immediately begin a sync every time you connect your device.

By comparison to the previous method, this is an easier and faster solution, and it's certainly a testament to the rapid evolution of the Android platform; every day brings better integration between Android and the other devices and software I rely on.

5 comments for “Syncing Your Android Device with Songbird Using MSC”

  1. Allan Midtgaard Kristensen Posted Monday, March 01, 2010 at 1:44:32 PM
    Gravatar of Allan Midtgaard KristensenFirst thanks for a good and useful guide - now my question.

    Is it possible to control where on the sd card the music is stored? Mine stores the music in .iMusicData and this folder is for some reason unscannable for my music players on the phone (Meridian, MixZing and MortPlayer Music). The files are on the card, I can manuelly find them (with my file browser ASTRO)and play in e.g. Meridian.

    Any ideas?

    Any ideas?
  2. matt Posted Monday, March 01, 2010 at 2:58:14 PM
    Gravatar of mattHi Allan,

    Interesting question, and one that never occurred to me. My card/device automatically synced up to the /Music folder. I don't see a setting in Songbird to change the root folder. Do you have a folder named /Music? I would try and manually create it if not.
  3. Allan Midtgaard Kristensen Posted Monday, March 01, 2010 at 3:40:48 PM
    Gravatar of Allan Midtgaard KristensenHi Matt,

    I found a solution. Yes I already had a /Music folder. I deleted the app. iMusic, and the /.iMusic folder and that solved the problem, Songbird now adds the files to the /Music folder and the music players can now detect the files - cool :-).
  4. matt Posted Monday, March 01, 2010 at 4:52:55 PM
    Gravatar of mattI'm glad it worked out... I have yet to find a music player better than the stock Android music application (that's not saying a lot). The only one that has come close is RockOn. I was very excited about Diggin after the first Android developer challenge, but sadly it has never surfaced in the Market (or anywhere else).
  5. Passerby Posted Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 8:38:09 PM
    Gravatar of PasserbyAny folder with a period at the beginning of the name is considered hidden so most apps won't detect it.

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