When you click on "listen hifi / lofi" on any album at Magnatune, you now get a page with a built-in flash player which plays the music right away in your browser, rather than launching your music player. The reason for this change is that 28% of our hits at Magnatune are from iTunes, and iTunes does a terrible job playing music from .m3u playlist files, which is what we've been using for the 3 1/2 years since we started Magnatune.
The "details" pages for each album at Magnatune also include a flash player for the album, but the music doesn't auto-play (there's a > play symbol there). For those of you who prefer to listen to m3u files, they are still there, in the "details" page for each album. This is what it now looks like:
The "lofi" pages are actually playing hifi music for a few days. The reason, is that Flash can't play a 16k sample rate audio file, so I'm currently converting all our lofi music to a 22k sample rate, which Flash handles fine.
There are a few issues with the transition:
1) you have to have flash working, otherwise you can't use this new feature (evidently, something like 98% of users have flash installed)
2) on one machine I tested, the sound quality was diminished, causing a sort of bell-like feedback, but on 3 other machines I tested it was fine. This appears to be a rare flash bug specific to some machines. A friend of mine from Macromedia is looking into that for me.
3) sometimes, if the playing page is in a background tab in your browser, the music won't advance to the next track when a song is done, but if you click on the browser to display the tab, the next song plays then. I think this only seems to happen when the music starts automatically, and not when you clicked on a track at some point. And, it doesn't occur consistently for me: often, background tabs work fine. It may be caused by going to another tab and using another flash application, which then tells the other flash tab to go on pause (or maybe not). I don't know yet, but if anyone has any tips, please leave a comment.