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music — TechWhimsy


How to host and stream your own mp3s with JW media player

by Shane Perris on Thursday, 22 May, 2008

in how-to,tutorials

Note: this tutorial was for version 3.15 of JWPlayer. It is now up to v4.2. The customisation wizard may or may not work with v3.15. An older version of this post demonstrated the customisation by changing colors. However, that code no longer works and has been removed. Hopefully I will provide an updated tutorial soon.

While using someone else’s media player to stream mp3s hosted on your site can be fun (see the tutorials on how to use the Google Reader player and how to use the Yahoo media player), nothing quite beats the thrill of rolling your own media player and controlling it on your own server. Below are some simple steps anyone can take to use the free jwplayer from Jeroen Wijering.

JW FLV Media Player

The JW FLV Media Player is the brainchild of Jeroen Wijering. It is made with Adobe Flash technology and will play not only flv files but any other media format supported by Flash, including our self-hosted mp3. You can get the jw flv media player up and running with a few simple steps:

  1. Download the source files for the media player from here
  2. Unzip the source files and upload them to your own hosted server. I created a new folder on my account called ‘mediaplayers’ and then created another folder called ‘jwplayer’. Take note of the location of the files as you will need this later.
  3. Go to the jw flv media player setup wizard
  4. The JW Media Player configuration wizardConfigure the wizard as desired.  I’ve included a screenshot of my wizard configuration and I’ve kept it very basic. The wizard lets you do things such as change colour, size, add playlists (if you have those set up already), add a stop button – stacks of features all up.  When you’re finished configuring, click the ‘Update and preview code’ button to see what your player will look like and the code you need to cut and paste into your own site.As a quick explanation, the ‘source’ option is where you have uploaded the media player files on your server and the file option is where you have stored your mp3.  Also, the ideal height for the slim player is 20 pixels (the default setting) for a single mp3.  Larger sizes are useful for when you have a playlist of tracks you want to display.
  5. Copy and past the code into your webpage.  As an example, the code generated from my options is:
    <embed src="http://techwhimsy.com/mediaplayers/jwplayer/mediaplayer.swf" width="440" height="20" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="height=20&width=440&file=http://techwhimsy.com/31_Ghosts_IV.mp3" />

Embedded, the final version looks like this:

And If you are having problems with the embed code (for example, the code shows up as standard text in your blog), try removing all the line returns and replacing them with a single space instead. Also, for some reason that escapes me (but you clever bunch out there probably know), you need to have a space between the end of the code and the closing “/>”.


Trent Reznor does it again

by Shane Perris on Tuesday, 6 May, 2008

in administrivia,opinions

I’ve got a guest post up at sarahintampa.com (the blog of Grand Effect and ReadWriteWeb writer Sarah Perez) on the new Nine Inch Nails release The Slip and how Trent Reznor continues to lead the way in ‘music 2.0’.

Over the last few months, Sarah has quickly become one of my favourite tech blogger so of course I jumped at the chance to provide this guest post.

NIN does it again. Are you watching, Thom?


Has Radiohead missed the point?

by Shane Perris on Thursday, 10 April, 2008

in opinions

Radiohead - Nude coverart Radiohead has once again hit the headlines with an ‘innovative’ new media way of promoting the band and the music. They have broken down their latest single ‘Nude’ into 5 stems (vocal, guitar, bass, drums, the rest) and made each available to buy exclusively at the iTunes music store for fans to download, remix and uploaded their mixes to the Nude Remix site.  Despite the media hype, the question to me becomes is Radiohead at the forefront of new media or the rearguard of old media?

I have a number of concerns with how Radiohead is approaching this release:

  1. The stems have to be downloaded individually, each at the cost of an individual track ($1.69 here in Australia), making it more expensive than some EPs.  Some people might think that this is still a fair deal (after all, how often do you get the chance to remix a track yourself?) but it doesn’t offer anything extra to the  buyer.  In times past, Nine Inch Nails have released multi-tracks for free (remix.nin.com has more information).  As a less extreme example price wise, BT released ‘The Technology’, 6 track EP of remixes and included the multi-track files for 3 singles of the album ‘Emotional Technology’ back in 2004.  Nine Inch Nails was free and BT added something extra.  Radiohead does neither.
  2. The stems are only available through the iTunes music store.  Big Radiohead fan but no iTunes music store in your country? Too bad, my friend. No remix for you.
  3. The Nude Remix terms and conditions are not very friendly at all.  You sign over all rights to the remix to Warner/Chappell Music (the publishers). It doesn’t specify if this only applies if you upload the track to the remix site. In my own experience, if it is not specified, it is a blanket approach.  Also, the Radiohead band members are given sole writing credit.  When you submit your remix, you can not ‘exploit’ it in anyway without prior approval of Warner/Chappell and Radiohead.  In other words, we own your song, you will receive no credit for your work and you can’t do anything with your own remix without permission.  To Radiohead’s credit, they do also undertake to not commercially exploit your work without contacting you first. Nice.
  4. There’s no competition or prize attached. While a competition or prize is not essential, in the context of the previous three points, throw your fans a bone guys!  Seriously. It doesn’t have to be a huge prize.  Maybe the best remix could get a signed copy of the the 7″ vinyl single, or something equally token but meaningful to a hard core Radiohead fan.  Surely that wouldn’t be too much to ask.  Instead, remixers get a guarantee that the ‘Radiohead will listen to the best remixes’.  Woo.

Are Radiohead reaching out to the fans by offering individually downloaded components, or are they taking 5 bites from the same cherry?  Is it innovative new media thinking or classic old media record label money grubbing?

What do you think?  I really want to know what other people think about remixing ‘Nude’