Web 2.0 Audio Player
Mathias Panzenböck, a programmer in Vienna, has been working quite a long time on a Web 2.0 style audio player for Magnatune. It works in pretty much all contemporary web browsers, despite the very fancy HTML5 features he uses.
His audio player is now very feature complete, and I'd like to recommend you give it a try at:
Mathias calls it the "Greattune Player" (because "magna" means "great" in latin) and with it, you can:
1) browse albums by genre
2) drag and drop songs into playlists
3) as a member, download albums in any format
4) drag recommendations to your playlists, to listen to them later
5) export your playlists into files (even as html web pages you can put on your web site) that will play in most any music program
6) view artist bios, album art, embed the album in your blog, and more...
In short, pretty much everything you can do on the Magnatune web site, you can do with the "Greattune player", except that you can do it with Web 2.0/HTML5 goodness.
I've placed an icon on the magnatune home page so you can easily jump to the "Greattune player". You'll find it toward the bottom left of the page:
Below are some screen pictures of the player in action, showing me playing and browsing, modifying my playlist, and exporting my playlist as well.
Cover art in OGG/FLAC files now
Thanks to blog comments by J.B. Nicholson-Owens and Panzi, Magnatune now has cover art embedded in FLAC and OGG files. In a previous blog entry, I announced that we had album art in our MP3 and AAC file downloads but hadn't been able to do the same for FLAC and OGG files.
Support for album art varies among audio players that support FLAC and OGG files. I tested "totem" and "vlc" and both worked for me.
OGG Vorbis in totem:
FLAC in totem:
OGG Vorbis in VLC:
FLAC in VLC:
Just as with our MP3 and AAC files, I'm using a 300x300 pixel JPG as the artwork source, which is a good compromise between quality and file size.
Rhythmbox is currently crashing on startup on my Ubuntu install, and Amarok crashed X windows on me, so I wasn't able to test those two players.
Album art now embedded in our MP3 files
Until today, album art hasn't been automatically associated with our music downloads.
And now, as of today, all our music automatically includes album artwork.
What does this mean? Until today, if you put one of our MP3s into iTunes, the artist/album/year was there, but a generic graphic was shown for the album cover:
now, all our albums have the album art embedded in the MP3 file itself, so that iTunes shows:
on your desktop, the album art should be automatically displayed for the file's icon: (old is on the left of this image, new is on the right of the image)
and when you click "info" in iTunes you see the album art:
The album art is automatically included in:
1) single mp3 song files you download
2) single m4a (i.e. Apple AAC) files you download
3) zip files of entire albums in High quality MP3 (VBR)
4) zip files of entire albums in medium quality MP3 (128k)
5) zip files of entire albums in M4A (Apple AAC format)
The album art is a 300x300 highly optimized JPEG file, which on average is 10kb to 20kb, for about a 1% to 2% file size increase on the 128K MP3 files. I felt that was a tiny amount of disk space to use for what is a very helpful feature.
This very helpful blog about MP3 album art:
argues that 300x300 is the best current choice, as this is what will display at full resolution on current generation iPods, and is also the size the BBC has chosen. That's why we went with that.
Note for FLAC/OGG users: I couldn't find a standard way to embed artwork in those file formats, so for the time being our artwork in not embedded in those two file formats.
A big THANK YOU to Magnatune member David Hopkins for pointing out that this was possible, and for nagging me to do it!