Some music players are smart. Not only will they play your tracks, but they’ll try to tell you more about them, perhaps downloading and displaying the lyrics.
Windows Media Player and iTunes aren’t quite so clever, but that’s where Song Buddy comes in. This free app for Windows, iPhone, iPad and Mac detects the “now playing” artist and displays other releases, concerts, images, a biography, links and more.
We tried playing a few songs in Windows Media Player, then clicking Song Buddy’s system tray icon. A small window popped up each time, correctly identifying the current artist and track, and displaying a picture and a few basic details.
Click the Releases tab and Song Buddy searches for the artist’s previous releases. Performance seemed inconsistent – some searches brought results in a couple of seconds, others took an age or failed entirely – but when it worked we saw album titles, cover art and release dates, as well as links to track listings (with previews) and iTunes.
You also get a Similar tab to list similar artists, and an Events tab for upcoming concerts. Again, while these generally worked just fine, they would occasionally take a long time to display, or not return anything at all.
Song Buddy provides links to the artist’s home page, Twitter and Facebook account, YouTube channel, Spotify, Wikipedia and iTunes page, as appropriate.
There’s also an option to search for an artist by name. Once they’re found, you can then access the release lists, “Similar Artists” page and other details just as before.
Song Buddy has a few small annoyances. We undocked the program, displaying the results in a larger window, for example, so we could read them while a song was playing. But it automatically minimises if you don’t click anything for a while, and there’s no way to change that, no enable/ disable or timeout setting.
Song Buddy handles its core functionality well, though, and on balance it’s a useful extension for Windows Media Player and iTunes.