I recently stumbled on the Music Extension [ GNOME extensions | github ] plugin that seamlessly integrates your music player into Gnome Shell. The extension adds a music icon in the top gnome shell panel that, when clicked, displays the album artwork & track name of the currently playing song, as well as a set of controls for music playback and settings.  The top panel icon also provides visual feedback (via a small overlay icon) showing if your media player is currently playing music, paused or stopped.

This extension works very well with banshee on Fedora 16. All you have to do in banshee itself is enable the “MPRIS D-Bus Interface” extension and it should be right to go. I installed the plugin directly from the gnome extensions website (extensions.gnome.org), as it is not available in Fedora itself. From the description on the extension’s github page, it also seems to work with a wide range of other media players, including: Amarok, Clementine, Guayadeque, Quodlibet, Rhythmbox, and VLC
Note, however, when installing the plugin through the Gnome extensions website, the ability to adjust the preferences of the plugin is not enabled by default. To enable this, follow the directions detailed on the plugin’s github page. The additional settings allow you to change a few extra settings, such as enabling notifications when the song changes, and having the top panel drop-down integrated with the volume menu rather than having a separate icon.