How to Remove Duplicates in Songbird

by JoHarrington

Tired of multiple listings of identical tracks in Songbird? I was! So I tinkered with it until I found out how to wipe all the ghost tracks away.

Songbird is a digital music player. It can be used on your PC, Android or iOS.

It's a perfect alternative for iTunes, if you've had enough of the closed world there. That's how I found it! When Apple blocked access to LastFM, I finally had enough of being told what I could and couldn't do with my music. I've used Songbird ever since.

But for all its good points, there's one very big annoyance. Songbird doesn't have the algorithm to know when two songs are the same. Over time, you can end up with duplicate listings of the same track. Let me demonstrate how to make them go away.

Songbird: Free Music Player (Quick Demo)

YouTuber Grant Berntsen demonstrates Songbird, for those who have never encountered this music player.

The Problem with Duplicate Track Listings in Songbird

You might really, really love this tune, but not to the extent that you want to listen to it multiple times in one session.

Songbird began as an open resource media player, codenamed Hilda, in 2006.

It was developed fully by Pioneers of the Inevitable (PotI) and grew from strength to strength. Many of the add-ons and extensions were created by users.

Amongst the favorites of these add-ons were two programs called The Exorcist and Attack of the Clones. Unfortunately, as Songbird was updated, both of these user created extensions became incompatible.

Which is a great shame, because they tackled the biggest issue with Songbird.  They took away all of those multiple listings of the same song, which could leave you listening to the same tune over and over again.

Image: Songbird Logo
Image: Songbird Logo

Fantastic if you're really into the music. Rubbish on every other occasion.

It generally happened if you'd tidied up your music folders, or otherwise relocated a track on your hard-drive. Or it might derive from running a program which brought everything into a Songbird shell. Or importing a playlist.

The biggest culprit is creating a Watch Folder which links to the same place as a Create Library folder. Then EVERYTHING is duplicated.

Suddenly each album has its individual tracks listed two or more times. You'd have to click on each song that you wanted to delete, then select 'remove' from the drop down menu.  And who's got time for that sort of thing?

Songbird Music Player for Android

Songbird Workaround to Install The Exorcist

The Exorcist was undoubtedly the best way of removing clones, hence it is unfortunate that it's no longer compatible with Songbird. However, there may be a hack for that:

  • Write 'config' in a new Songbird tab
  • Click 'agree' in the 'I'll be careful' warning
  • Right-click anywhere on the page and select 'New Boolean'
  • Set the value to 'False' on 'extensions.checkCompatibility.2.2.0'
  • Restart Songbird
  • Download The Exorcist
  • Restart Songbird again

A Simple Way to Remove the Duplicates in Songbird

My own work around was much easier than that. It was effective too. I did it with my own Songbird and now I have no ghost track listings.

Image: Deleting a Duplicate Track in SongbirdOften we can completely over-think an issue.  I went for the clean sweep and it worked like a charm.

I contemplated how we would remove a single rogue track in Songbird.  The image to the left demonstrates it:

  • Right-click on the track
  • Select 'Remove' from the pull down menu

Job done.

So why couldn't I do that for the entire library?  There were over 27,000 tracks, but I removed the whole lot.

I selected 'music' from the 'library' listing, then highlighted every one of them before pressing 'remove'.  It only took a few seconds.  It wasn't like I individually went through every track. After clicking on the first track, I scrolled right down to the bottom of my library.  Then, while depressing the Shift key, I clicked on the final track.  All were highlighted, all were removed.

I then spent a few minutes looking inside my music folders on my hard-drive.  I ensured that they were nice and tidy, before adding the folders back into Songbird.

Let me break that down for you.

Removing and Adding a Library in Songbird

Please note that this method will remove all of your play statistics too.

  • Open Songbird
  • Select 'Music' from the 'Library' section in the top left hand corner
  • Click on the first track
  • Scroll to the end of the library
  • Press shift on your keyboard, then click on the final track
  • Right-click any song from the highlighted listing
  • Select 'Remove' from the pull down menu

You should now have an empty Songbird library.

  • Click on 'File' on the top Songbird toolbar
  • Select 'Import Media'
  • Navigate to and click on your hard-drive's music folder
  • Import it
  • Repeat from 'navigate' for any extra music folders

It will take anything from a few seconds to several long minutes, depending on the amount of music that you have, but it will result in a full, duplicate free Songbird library.

Simple, eh?

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Updated: 03/05/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 09/09/2013

In this instance that should be fine. As it's open source, the entire internet will be supporting it. :)

Paul on 09/09/2013

I'd imagine so. I doubt they'll be support it now.

JoHarrington on 09/09/2013

Oh no! So I'm still using it only because I have the program downloaded?

Paul on 09/09/2013

Did you know that the people behind Songbird announced that they've shut it down?

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