February 06, 2004

Online Music Aggregation of Deep-Linking MP3s

In the process of working out some ideas at another site (don't ask) I realized that one of the big missing pieces left from the net online independent music scene that MP3.COM filled (actually created) is the concept of the user-created Station

The Station was an M3U file, a list of links which could be viewed as a web page, with associated graphics or listened to as a continuous stream or individual streams or downloaded.

The beauty of the Station idea was that it encouraged thousands of folks to be creative in mixing together, curating and promoting music through this user-defined act of aggregation.

Many fantastic stations come to mind from the MP3.COM era, from Steve Layton's Music Now Worldwide to hundreds of others. They let the user discover new artists quickly by skipping through hundreds of similar artists.

How could we re-create the station idea today? Easily, a little PhP and some MySQL could do it. We need a way to allow users to collect deeply-linked MP3 URL's, and then extract the song, artist, information from the MP3's or have them be user-enterred in some way. Would be great to have a uniform M3U station system or API someday...

Posted by jeff at February 6, 2004 01:17 PM

Maybe Webjay is a fledgling attempt at this?

Posted by: Robert Gable at February 6, 2004 02:23 PM

I used to think of that back during the MP3.com days, when their own pages were getting too loaded with junk. For all the crap on MP3c, the beauty there was that statisically that still meant there was a ton of good stuff for the person who dug hard enough. My "mission" was to do a lot of that slog-work, and put 6 to 12 interesting tracks up every few weeks in one location, to give people a chance to find & hear them, and hopefully listen a couple times if possible. There are some mechanisms that let you make similar "playlists" at certain sites, like Ampcast.com. Given enough to work with, the single-site thing is no problem; I just send out announcements by newsgroup and email when a new show's up, and the rest just happens. But especially in the classical/experimental field, there's still not enough on-site material to make something that stays new and fresh. Still, if I decide to make it a bit more "eclectic", there is enough even there. Maybe it's about time to think about it.

Posted by: Steve Layton at February 6, 2004 10:34 PM

Robert, thanks for the link. That was just what I was thinking of. Steve, there are more than a few OMD's now that support deep-linking, ElectronicScene.com, Ampcast.com, why not make the playlists cross OMD?

Posted by: jeff at February 7, 2004 11:38 AM

I've just made a few Webjay playlists, one by scraping a site - using their Webjay It facility and loading up the front page of ElectronicScene and one by hand including a tasty Stockhausen MP3 or two and one of Steve's MP3 and a couple of mine. And I made one by scraping jeffharrington.org too.


Posted by: jeff at February 7, 2004 06:12 PM


I'm another example of someone who used to post shows on mp3.com, did micro-promo in newsgroups etc.

Just before mp3.com's demise, I figured out how to do it on my own with basic html and winamp. When mp3.com "station" playlist making got to be such a pain in the ass, my creativity was stoked to come up with an alternative. I'm glad that happened because this method enabled me to create playlists that are cross OMD.

By the way guys, excuse me for not notifying you about being on the shows. I just figured since we post in the same areas you'd find out about it.

I guess it was audacious of me to think you guys would read my posts announcing the programs and notice your names listed.

Thanks for helping to make interesting shows with your music.

The shows are archived and ready to stream. Rather than individual stream links, I link to the artist. Most of the shows allow skipping back and forth also, just as mp3.com playlists did.

While some may cringe at the idea of maybe a breakbeat track in close proximity to art music or even "post"rock; I'm keeping the faith that there are those who like to mix it up and will find Headtones enjoyable.

Webjay seems very promising. I do hope folks take the opportunity to share their curated fan programs; not just use the site as another vehicle for self promo.

Posted by: AgentA at February 9, 2004 04:50 AM

Couldn't this be achieved through the W3C's Synchronized Multimedia Interface Language (SMIL)? See: http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo/

Posted by: Yllona Richardson at February 9, 2004 07:45 PM