News: New music player

As far as I know, Aurgasm was the first mp3 blog to introduce an mp3 player embedded on the site. Not trying to brag, just providing a little history. But now, after a few years and much thought, we’ve switched over to a new player, the Yahoo Media Player.

This new player has a playlist, floats along the page as you move, and has a bit more functionality than the old ‘n busted play button. Click around!

This little button:

will appear to the left of all mp3s on the site. Click to immediately play that track.

Yahoo will be improving the experience based on your feedback, so let’s hear it! Leave a comment why you like it, why you hate it, wish it would do ___, or anything. Thanks!

Update (2008.07.24): I’ve updated to the newest version of the player.

49 Responses to “News: New music player”

  1. Adrian :

    I likes it, a lot. Totally cool–great snag. Wow!

    It would be even more cool & functional (for me) if there was a way to play the entry the player is currently floating next to in addition to simply playing the tracks in order from newest to oldest posted, as is now the case.

    Thanks again for your work, I totally love what you’re doing.

  2. Lucas Gonze :

    Adrian, there should always be a play button next to a track, whether the player bar is floating next to it or not, and hitting it will jump the playlist to that point.

    Not sure if that’s what you were thinking of, though…

    (me: product lead for the player)

  3. pmhauer :

    real kewl. been waiting for it. glad to see you’ve kept the mp3s, too. you rock. you rock.

  4. chrisfarms :

    visually a bit glitchy viewed in Safari… but it’s inoffensive and clean.

    +1 on keeping the mp3s… I’m sure most people are like me and listen using player while reading… then download

    keep it up x

  5. Da swampman :

    Say yo my friend Paul, I write to you from the distant shores of Rio de Janeiro. Never been to Boston, studied the tea-party stuff and all, but I will someday. Well, surfing the net I found your interesting blog, and since I have a band I thought i should write to ya.

    Hope you hear Homens do Pântano (in a free-translation The Swamp Men) and if you like it post some commentaries in your blog. Our tunes are rap-rock based mixed with some crazy samab-dub. Oh well, only you can judge by yourself. Hope you like it. Gonna also check your suggestions.

    Cheers from Rio de Janeiro,

    Tandera http://www.myspace.com/homensdupantano
    http://www.homensdopantano.blogger.com.br

  6. jimbobwoof :

    Like it alot, especially the ability to listen to every file in sequence. Is it possible to shuffle the list though?

  7. Wanabehuman :

    Hi, we at Wanabehuman tried several flash-based music players a year ago, but they all made the page load very slowly.

    But Yahoo! seem to have done a better job with it.

    Nicely done Paul.

    WbH Team

  8. Jon :

    I actually find it to be quite intrusive, because I have to open up the playlist everytime I want to play a song instead of just hitting the play button next to the song I’m reading about. (When I do just hit the play button, it plays the same song and doesn’t switch.)
    I’ve simply resorted to opening the mp3s into new tabs and letting them play in the bg while I read.

    So, I guess I’m against the new player, no offense.

    I really do love the site. It’s fantastic.

  9. Paul Irish :

    Jon, I appreciate the feedback–it’s great!

    Have you tried clicking the play button to the left of each mp3 link? Does that do what you’re trying to do?

  10. huipiiing :

    Seems like I’m having the same problem as Jon. I can’t make the player play new songs by clicking directly on the buttons next to the titles – doing that just makes the music pause and play again. To play new songs I have to go through the playlist. Not sure if the problem is browser specific though (I’m on Safari).

    Either way, great job on the blog. It’s nice to know that the technical side is receiving as much attention as the music.

  11. ML :

    Very slick.

    I’ve been playing with it for 35+ mins and it seems to do everything it’s meant to, it even handles 404s pretty well; plus it works especially well with the automatic loading of old entries (great feature by the way.)

    An anchor or permalink to corresponding posts might be nice, and would be of more use than a Yahoo search link.

  12. r :

    nice

  13. Danny :

    Pretty good so far. The only thing i would add is a little progress bar on the “compact mode”. I’d like to know when the song is about to end so i can look for another one, and even though there is a timer on the full display mode, it is a bit too big for my taste. Other than that, works wonderful.

    Thanks for all the good music.

  14. Lucas Gonze :

    Jon and huipiiing, that’s a bug, and it’s new to me. Could I ask what browser/OS you’re using? There might be a pattern.

    Feel free to contact me directly — lucas at gonze dot com.

  15. Paul Irish :

    @Lucas, I think it’s the same bug as before: Play a song. pause it. then click the play icon next to a new song. (It unpauses the current song.) Only way to force it to next is to use the playlist.
    Btw- I’m now using the /latest js file, so I’ll get any changes you throw to production.

  16. Lucas Gonze :

    Got it. We have reproduced this bug on developer machines, so a fix is probably not far off.

  17. Dan :

    Just thought I’d share my experience: loving the new player, very intuitive. Thanks Paul!

  18. Mr.Moe :

    Hello there,

    I’m a frequent visitor of aurgasm, writing from Germany. I really love most of the music you showcase on here, and I always used to just click the old Play button and continue reading or surfing. The new player looks nice enough, however it doesn’t work for me at all – whatever song I click, it just says “Timed out. Please retry” after a few seconds. The second problem is, when I click on the play-link left to the blog entry, the song is just added to the playlist, but to start playback (or try to, in my case) I have to click the Play button on the player itself. :/
    I’m on Win2k SP4 and Firefox (Latest)
    apart from that: keep it up, I love aurgasm!
    greetings from old europe

  19. Lucas :

    Hi Mr. Moe, we have turned your comment into two formal entries in our bug tracking database. My best guess is that the bugs are related to Win2k, which is a fairly rare platform.

  20. kyle :

    would be nice if all mp3s hosted on the site were loaded, rather than only from posts in view, and if a random play option were available.

    when fully expanded, could the image of a speaker be replaced with the image associated with the currently playing music’s post? and could that image link to the post’s url, opening in a new tab/window by default?

    perhaps the Y! logo to the left could then be the shortcut to yahoo, yahoo music, or a search for the current artist in play.

    i don’t understand having the Arist – Song display be linked to a yahoo search for the file. i would link that to the blog post, or a yahoo search for just the artist.

    there’s a lot of space in that expanded area. could currently playing song be in the middle, with previous and next track shown above and below; then being able to click on either to listen?

    when the playlist opens, could view be brought to the currently playing song, instead of the top of list?

    maybe random play could be a third click on the play button.. with squiggly arrows or something.

  21. Jay :

    I don’t like the new player.It’s intrusive, gets in the way of the browsing.I dont want to have to scroll through the playlist just to find a song.It’s got me resorting to having to open up a mp3 player and playing the songs through there.Also it doesn’t show the genre of the song, can’t edit the playlist at all.

    I give the new player 2 thumbs way down.

  22. jhc :

    @mr.moe and @lucas,

    hey,
    i was getting the same error message (“timed out. please retry”) on a winxp box running firefox 2.0.0.11 loaded with a few different plugins, but i ended up tracking the issue down to a flash blocking plugin that i use (flashblock 1.5.5). the player started working when i added “aurgasm.us” to flashblock’s whitelist.

    i’m assuming the player uses flash for playback, so it’s totally understandable, but a more accurate error message would have helped out.

    usually when firefox+flashblock loads a page that requires the flash plugin, it provides a visual cue letting the user selectively startup flash apps, but this wasn’t the case w/ YMP on aurgasm.

    also, this means that i will have to add each mp3 blog that uses YMP to my whitelist (i tried adding mediaplayer.yahoo.com to the whitelist, but that didn’t work). not a huge deal, and probably not yahoo’s problem…

    anyway, great work on the player and aurgasm. this is the first time that i’ve listened to and read the blog, and it’s really excellent.

    -jhc

    as asides:
    how does aurgasm+YMP appear to users who don’t have flash installed on their systems yet? …and wouldn’t it be nice if flashblock’s whitelist understood ‘applications’ in addition to ‘domains’???

  23. Mr.Moe :

    @jhc:
    yes, I’ve tracked it down to Flashblock as well, as I’ve contacted Lucas directly via E-Mail about this. I think he has added a variety of possible solutions & ideas to his bugtrackingDB, so for now we’ll just have to wait and see. As of right now, it’s good to hear it’s not Win2k fault, as presumed earlier ;)

  24. ForzaPalermo :

    It makes no difference at all to me… maybe if it played tracks while i navigate around the site, instead of cutting the track off it would be useful.

  25. Lucas Gonze :

    @jhc and @Mr. Moe — yes, this is a Flashblock issue. It assumes that Flash owns the UI as well as the media playback engine, which isn’t always true. It’s important that this problem affected not just one but two people — I’m surprised there are so many people using Flashblock. There are a couple non-trivial steps involved in the workaround so the fix won’t make it into the upcoming mini-release, but it shouldn’t be too far down the road.

    @jay: in the next release the player will be minimized at page load, so it won’t eat screen real estate until you open it. If you don’t want to use the playlist to find a song, which is completely reasonable, use the play buttons in the page.

    @kyle: thanks for all this thoughtful input.

    About loading all mp3s, the site owner could do this by creating a playlist and pointing our player at that instead of the current page. Also, if you look at Paul’s HTML source you’ll see that he explicitly adds elements to the playlist using Javascript as you scroll through the document. But in general I would leave this kind of decision up to the site owner and say that the player’s goal to give the publisher the power to do whatever they decide.

    About shuffle mode, yes, we should do it. The reason it hasn’t happened yet is that our first goal is to empower the page creator, and we still have a lot of stuff to do along those lines.

    “could the image of a speaker be replaced with the image associated with the currently playing music’s post?”

    Yes, but what image we use is up to the blogger. They can specify the album art by putting an img element in the mp3 link.

    “could that image link to the post’s url, opening in a new tab/window by default?” We’re working on a comparable feature right now. This isn’t far off.

    “perhaps the Y! logo to the left could then be the shortcut to yahoo”. We used to do exactly that but backed it out about a month ago. People who wanted a shortcut to Yahoo couldn’t find the link, people who clicked the icon were surprised when it went to Yahoo.

    “i don’t understand having the Arist – Song display be linked to a yahoo search for the file. i would link that to the blog post, or a yahoo search for just the artist.”

    What we’re trying to do there is to help people find links related to the media item. When we have separate metadata for the artist, song title, and album title then each of those links to a search for the specific item. For example the artist name links to a search for the artist. In this situation we don’t have structured metadata, such a general purpose string that happens to contain some text related to the media item, so that’s what we search for.

    The plan for the album art is to link to an image search, BTW.

    “there’s a lot of space in that expanded area. could currently playing song be in the middle, with previous and next track shown above and below; then being able to click on either to listen?”

    That expanded area in the middle is for artist/album/song metadata. We’re wasting it right now, but when we get better at figuring out the metadata on the fly this real estate won’t be left unused any more.

    If we had space under the track controls to the left to list the prev and next song I would definitely do that instead of making people open up the playlist. Maybe it would be useful to put the song titles in tooltips on the prev and next buttons? The lack of discoverability might make that ineffective, but maybe not. Need to investigate this.

    “when the playlist opens, could view be brought to the currently playing song, instead of the top of list?

    Good point. If the currently playing song isn’t visible at all when you open the playlist tab, you lose the context. I will write this up.

    “maybe random play could be a third click on the play button.. with squiggly arrows or something.”

    We’re probably going to annex the space on the far right for minibuttons like this, or at least that’s the current plan.

    Thanks again for this very detailed feedback. Very helpful.

  26. victor :

    @jhc thanks for finding that fix! I’m also using FlashBlock on Firefox.

  27. Hippie Zingo :

    OK, great player, but, when I clicked on the link to go to this comments page from the front page, the player STOPPED PLAYING!! What’s up with that? I mean, I’m listening to a cool song, boppin’ along, and I click a link to another page ON THE SAME SITE and the music just STOPS? No, that’s no good, thumbs down from me!

  28. Paul Irish :

    @Hippie Zingo: For now the player is included on the page, so when you navigate to a new page, the player has to reload. I’m going to add some ajax stuff so the music keeps on truckin. Thx

    Update: okay now the comments load in ajax style (as long as you’re using firefox or safari). :)
    Update: and now commenting works with ajax. sweet! (IE users left out in the cold, though. http://www.getfirefox.com duh!)

  29. D :

    Visual glitches in Safari 3 for Leopard.
    If the tab with the music player doesn’t have focus, the next song doesn’t play.
    I can confirm the bug in Safari, where the play buttons next to the songs only serve to play / pause the current track.

    I like the player in theory, but I won’t use it until the Safari bugs are worked out.

    — D from Boston

  30. Paul Irish :

    Yo D. I think that’s because Flash player doesn’t play audio when you’re on an inactive tab. Maybe?

  31. Lucas :

    D, it’s a Flash issue that will happen with all Flash MP3 players. We’re not better or worse.

    We’re aware of its affect on us as well but haven’t yet diagnosed the problem. We do know of a workaround, but we can’t use it until we understand when the problem occurs.

    The one thing I know is that it is specific to the client machine rather than the web page. I used to have the same problem on this machine that I’m working on right now. At some point the problem went away, probably because of either a Firefox or Flash upgrade, but maybe because of some other change in my system.

  32. adam :

    I have not actually listened to anything with the new player yet, since I haven’t whitelisted aurgasm with Flashblock yet. However, I think the fact that I must whitelist the site to use it counts against the new player.

    Another very big thing against it for me is the way it moves when I scroll. I can’t overemphasize how much this behavior irritates me. Please, please, at least give me the option to make the damn thing stationary.

    I would much prefer a player like the one on these pages:
    http://podingtonbear.com/
    http://ochremusic.com/music/

    Alternatively, giving me the option to use the old player method would also make me happy.

    On a somewhat related note, whenever I click a link to an mp3 hosted on other sites, the mp3 opens in quicktime embedded in my browser (which is my desired behavior, or else I’d have told it to do something else). When I click links to mp3s hosted at aurgasm.us/music/, it instead opens a dialog asking me what I want to do. Why is that?

  33. adam :

    I would also like to say that I love aurgasm. It’s the best place I’ve found for getting consistently excellent new music. But the new player pushes a bunch of my buttons, so I’d like some alternatives.

  34. Lucas Gonze :

    D we can’t reproduce this issue in-house. But we completely believe you that it’s real and want to fix it, so it would be awesome if you happened to contact me to say your OS, browser, and Flash version. Email my first name @ my last name .com.

    In other news we have a brand new unstable/untested build of the player up at http://mediaplayer.yahoo.com/latest . That has many of the fixes promised here, especially the problem with the pause button.

  35. Paul Irish :

    btw- I just switched Aurgasm back to using /latest so we should have those fixes in now.

  36. nommh :

    What a pity! I hate that player thing. Especially if it says no player and I have to download the song just to listen to it.

    I know I’m oldfashioned and all that. I don’t need playlists, I need simplicity and a bit of control over what I’m doing.

    Please change it back.

  37. Jon :

    Umm…now the mp3′s won’t play either in the player or by clicking on the play button next to the song. I’m on OSX and Firefox. Still love the site though….

    Oh, and now the mp3′s want to download instead of open in a new tab.

  38. Lucas Gonze :

    Thanks for sticking with us while we shake out the early code, Paul. Please don’t feel bad if you decide that you need to revert back to the original setup.

    nommh and Jon, sorry about the hassles. It’s bleeding-edge software and we’re cranking out fixes for every single bug we can identify. I’d really like to fix the issues you’re seeing, so if you happened to fill out the debug utility at http://gonze.com/ymp/ and email the results to lucas at gonze dot com it would be a good thing.

    Jon, the reason why you are getting a download prompt is that the server is using “application/octet-stream” for the mime type rather than “audio/mpeg. Our player isn’t involved. Basically, the download is on purpose.

  39. Paul Irish :

    I never knew people really liked that ugly quicktime player instead of the prompt to download. I’ve reverted the behavior and all mp3s should go to your quicktime player instead of a download prompt!
    Thanks.

    *is thinking i’ll run a poll asking for overall feeling on the player..*

  40. adam :

    @Lucas

    The new version now stays in a fixed position within my browser, rather than trailing up a bit as a scroll down, then jumping to where it’s supposed to be. It still bugs me sometimes, but it’s so much better now than it was before.

    @Paul

    I hated the ugly quicktime player. But I use a Mac. In windows, if I chose, say, “Open with winamp” from that prompt, it would download to a temp folder that would periodically get deleted automatically. In Tiger, choosing “Open file with VLC” downloads the song to my desktop, and I have to remove it myself when I’m done.

    So I use that ugly quicktime player to preview a song.

    I also don’t like sites that override the default behavior for anything. If I click on a link to a song, I prefer that the site assume that I wanted to do whatever I have set up as the default action with that song. Personally, I think a site should modify the default behavior only when that behavior will cause the site not to function.

    To put it another way, if I can set up my browser to display that dialog anytime I click a link to a song, and I choose to set it up some other way, why should you override that choice?

  41. Deb :

    I’ve had apparent buffering issues with the new player from the start, but it has been especially bad today. Mac (tiger), firefox (latest), dsl, and I’m not even wireless at the moment, I’m plugged right in.

    I love this site, but the player isn’t really working for me.

    Though it *could* be some setting I’m not aware of having fiddled with that is causing the buffering issue. Any ideas?

  42. Lucas :

    Deb, the player couldn’t cause network problems. It’s just a player.

    The only place that the player could interact with that part of the experience is when your system is CPU-starved, so the playback engine can’t get enough CPU to keep the stream going steadily. But that problem would apply to all players equally.

  43. Deb :

    Well I have had problems with this new player every single time I have attempted to listen to anything. Choppy sound – if it isn’t buffering, it is just horrible quality. I never had a problem with the last player. Same computer, same everything. Memory is fine, no paging going on.

    So, I know it isn’t the bandwidth, I know it isn’t the computer, the only thing left is the player. Apparently I’m the only person having this problem? Curious.

    I don’t listen to this site anymore because of the player.

  44. Demara :

    I really like how I can just click play and all your music plays from the very first Artist on. That is so cool! Thank-you.

  45. Javs :

    Doesn’t work at all for me. I’m running Firefox 2.0.0.12 in Ubuntu Linux.

  46. blacklotus90 :

    This is one of the coolest embedded tools I’ve seen for music. Not only does it show everything you need (including that great target button to snap back to the song you’re listening to) but it also stays completely out of the way when you’re not. Great job on this one!

  47. ray :

    doesn’t work with opera 9

  48. julia :

    Hooray! I love it! This is my new “what to listen to in the computer lab while trying to write yet ANOTHER paper” tool. Thanks!

  49. Martin :

    Nice site its very interesting site! your site is fantastic.

Post a comment