Tag: plugin

Radio Station WordPress.org plugin page displays 2000+ active installs

Radio Station Reached 2,000+ Active Installs, 90,000 Lifetime Downloads

Last week, Radio Station by netmix® achieved its first true milestone and benchmark for growth since we took over the plugin in June 2019. Our plugin page on WordPress.org updated to reflect 2,000+ active installations on WordPress websites of broadcasters around the world. We’re also tracking for 90,000-lifetime downloads by mid-February.

When we took over development, the plugin page displayed approximately 62,000 downloads over a span of 6-years – from 2013 to 2019. That’s approximately 10,300 downloads per year. Over the past 18 months, we’ve served 28,000+ downloads; a number that is a combination of new downloads and upgrades when we release bug fixes and new features. In the past, it took over 3 years to reach that number.

We’re excited about the growth and adoption of the Radio Station plugin and we’re continuing the work required toward establishing Radio Station as the premier, professional-grade WordPress plugin for broadcasters to plan their Show Schedules worldwide.

Of course, we’re grateful to you, the broadcasters who use our plugin and provide invaluable feedback. We are truly grateful. Thank you!

netmix® in Clubhouse

Tony Zeoli's Clubhouse short profile displaying Clubhouse App profile page with User Name
netmix® CEO Tony Zeoli’s Clubhouse profile page displaying his user name and schedule rooms.

If you’ve been following the story of Clubhouse, a new “drop-in audio” application for iOS (and soon Android), you’ll know it’s fast becoming one of the most popular social media apps since TikTok. The app is based on Clubs and Rooms. Clubs are high-level containers for the rooms underneath them.

A user can spawn different rooms on-demand or scheduled rooms to have in-depth conversations with as little as 2 or as many as 5,000 participants. Moderators bring speakers up to the stage from an “audience” listening in.

netmix® CEO, Tony Zeoli, launched the room entitled, Radio Station Websites & Apps: Tech & Trends, which is hosted under the Music Business focused, 808 The Wave club. The room opens each Monday night at 9 pm EST.

If you’re already on the app, then simply check the schedule under the calendar icon on your home screen and save the date by clicking on the GCal icon and saving the event to your Google Calendar. You can follow @tonyzeoli on the Clubhouse app to be notified of when the Radio Station Websites & Apps room goes live. We’re working on securing a netmix® club. Stay tuned!

Free Listing in the netmix® Directory

Screenshot of Netmix Station Directory
Screenshot of netmix® Station Directory

Get more exposure and listeners for your Radio Station, for FREE. Simply click the “Submit Your Station Listing” button to sign up for an account and then click “Activate Free listing!”

This time-sensitive FREE OFFER is ongoing. Activate your free listing before it ends!

We know and feel there is a lot of appreciation for these efforts from our community of existing Radio Station users! We’re asking for your financial support and the best way is to not restrict features or seek donations   but to deliver even more value! We are now offering listings in the new Netmix® Radio Station Directory – allowing us to financially support improving the FREE plugin for everyone.

To do this, we concluded providing a value-add benefit for subscription-based giving by offering a directory listing (and other rewards) as incentives for our supporters, similar to how many community-based radio stations offer benefits to their subscribers. Tje Patreon platform is well suited for this purpose since it provides the ability to offer rewards in return for different gifting levels. As software creators, this allows us to more easily create the win-win situation we were looking for, where we can both provide further value to our users and receive the financial support we need.

Thus we have created a Radio Station Directory on the netmix.com website! By becoming an ongoing Patron for the Radio Station plugin, you can get your Station listed in the Directory (which also means a valuable do-follow backlink!) Read on…

netmix® Station Directory Listing

Since the major update to Radio Station to version 2.3.0, the Radio Station plugin now includes an innovative new feature to access all your Show schedule data via a Data API. Once you download the plugin (or update to 2.3.0) and go to the netmix® site to register your support through Patreon, you’ll be able to list your station in the Directory and we’ll pull all your Schedule and Show data from the activated plugin on your site to publish straight into the Netmix Directory. It’s that easy!

This exciting development means new listeners will not only be able to find your Station via netmix®, but also discover all of the Shows scheduled on your station’s website! This is a major advantage for listeners in using the netmix® Directory, for example, users will more easily be able to discover a variety of Shows in all of their favorite genres – not just via single genre-oriented stations as in other radio directories.

And of course, we will also be gradually adding improvements over time to the Directory over time in a similar way to the Radio Station plugin… We’ll be adding more navigation, filters, and search capabilities so listeners can find your Stations and Shows more easily.

Submit Your Station Listing

Get On The Waitlist for Radio Station PRO

In June 2019, we took over the Radio Station plugin for WordPress from its original creator, Nikki Blight. Since that time Lead Developer, Tony Hayes, and netmix® CEO, Tony Zeoli, have worked to add a slew of new features and functions to bring Radio Station back to life.

With over 2,000 active installations and close to 90,000-lifetime downloads, Radio Station has restored its place as the preferred WordPress plugin for broadcast and streaming stations around the world to create a show schedule and playlists on their WordPress websites.

Radio Station PRO adds advanced features to program your station’s schedule and display relevant content to your website visitors. Be one of the first in line to get a FREE TRIAL offer when the plugin is ready for download.

Upcoming PRO Features:

  • Persistent Audio Player – with the aim of continuous play during website navigation.
  • Show Episodes – a new plugin post type for adding and displaying Show Episodes.
  • Host and Producer Profiles – publish and display individual user role profiles.
  • Role Assignment Interface – fast interface for assigning plugin Roles to your team.
  • Genre Image Support – assign images to Genres for genre shortcode display.
  • Show Meta Caching – gives improved performance for Schedule calculations.
  • Schedule View Switching – allow user-switching between multiple Schedule Views.
  • Dynamic Widget Reloading – auto-refresh widgets at Show changeover times!
  • Visitor Timezone Switcher – allow site visitors to adjust their Timezone display.
  • Archives Views – Grid and Cloud Views for archive shortcode displays.
  • Social Icons – Social icon fields for Show and Profile Pages.
  • Show Schedule Feed – allow users to subscribe to a Show schedule via RSS.

One feature we’re working on post-launch is the ability to manage multiple Show schedules on one site. If you operate two or more stations but only operate one WordPress website, the ability to add multiple schedules is going to be cool. While it won’t launch with the first version of PRO, it will come soon after.

The reason we’re adding a persistent audio player to PRO is to help our user’s station websites finally remove their sidebar audio widget player, which stops playing when a user changes the page. A persistent footer player will always stay sticky and never impact the listener experience!

We’re opening up the plugin to a limited group, so enter your email address today to ensure that you secure your spot on the waitlist and receive the email with the initial FREE TRIAL offer when PRO is ready to go!

Just click on the button to go to our new PRO version domain and future PRO version website: RADIOSTATION.PRO. Then enter your email address to be added to the waitlist.

Get On The Waitlist!

New Music!

We are introducing a new feature to our Radio Station by netmix® newsletter. Each month, we’re going to feature an artist we hope you will love and ad to rotation on your station. This is a trial to ascertain how many stations want to be added to our new music promo list. Please let us know if you want to receive music from us in the future.

This month, we’re featuring Fete Sad Girls, the electronic music duo from the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY.

Fete Sad Girls Soundcloud EP

Fete Sad Girls YouTube Videos

Get Up To Speed!

Since 2.3.0 dropped in May, our email list has grown considerably. It’s best to get up to speed with Radio Station by Netmix®. We recommend you read our release blog post about v2.3.0 to familiarize yourself with the wide range of plugin changes, including new features, a completely new Show page layout, the new conflict catcher, and so much more.

To follow new features and enhancements, check out the Changelog.

View the plugin’s documentation.

If you need support, please post your support requests to the Radio Station support forum on the WordPress.org plugins page.

If you would like to report a bug or open a feature request, use our Github forum.

Want to contribute to the development of the open-source and free version of Radio Station, or make a feature request? Dive into the codebase and generate a pull request at https://github.com/netmix/radio-station. Or, add your feature request to our Git repo.

We also want to hear from our users. We’d love for you to respond to this email and tell us about your radio station or Internet broadcasting website. We want to know how you’re using the plugin and where in the world you are.

Speaking of the world…we need translators for the plugin, especially after 2.3.0 is pushed. Please get in touch with us at https://netmix.com/contact to let us know you are interested in translating the plugin to your language. We’ll get you on your way!

Follow us on Twitter: @netmix

Follow us on Instagram: @netmixcom

Like our Netmix page on Facebook and join our Netmix Facebook Group.

You can also take our survey by clicking the button below.

Take Our Survey

Support Radio Station Development

Your support would mean the world to us! Donate a few dollars a month and join other patrons supporting this free, open-source plugin!

Become a Patron!

Featured Video Play Icon

Intro to Radio Station for WordPress

We thought it might be neat to post videos from time to time to talk about the Radio Station project and share news, insights, and updates about the plugin. In this video, Netmix founder, Tony Zeoli, talks about how the project came to fruition, advancements to the plugin, and the future of Radio Station.

News about the upcoming release of Radio Station 2.3.0

Here at Netmix, we had a great holiday season. And we hope you did too! While we've been celebrating the New Year, we've also been quite busy with our heads down in our laptops tracking and squashing bugs in the next release, 2.3.0. It's been a while since our last newsletter, so we thought now is as good a time as any to get out an email blast to keep you updated with our progress. We also want to connect with the 50+ new email subscribers who signed up for the newsletter since our last blast!

Read more

Introducing Radio Station by Netmix

In December of 1996, Netmix.com first appeared online as the world’s first DJ mix-show website hosting streaming mixes by the world’s most sought after DJs. In the March 20, 1996 issue of Billboard Magazine, Netmix was cited by former Dance Trax columnist, Larry Flick, as the “innovation and advancement of dance music on the Internet.”

Born out of my bedroom in a four-story walk up at 726 Washington Street, just outside of Washington Square in Brookline, MA, I would move Netmix from Boston to New York City in September of 1996 to partner with a dance music promotion company, with the goal of converging promotion and marketing with online streaming and distribution. While the partnership didn’t work out in the long run, Netmix survived in the dotcom 1.0 economy until it entered a purchase and sale agreement on June 1, 2000 with Polyverse, a youth-culture startup funded by investors in the gold rush of the early Internet era, which saw companies like CDNOW, MP3.com, and Psuedo Networks valued in the many hundreds of millions of dollars.

While I was negotiating with Polyverse, the Internet bubble started to burst. Fast forward to October of 2000 and Polyverse was out of cash. No one could raise money. The doors closed on new capital and thousands of startups on both coasts and around the world failed. It was, in no uncertain terms, one of the most difficult periods for founders and employees of these companies who saw their hopes and dreams fall apart when the Internet economy collapsed.

Over the next 19-years, I would hold onto the Netmix.com domain and keep the website active. In the late 2000s I launched the Netmix Global House Sessions Podcast, which is still ingrained into this site today (and for the foreseeable future). The podcast features my alter ego, DJ Tony Z, in the mix. But Netmix became a side hobby while I focused on working for various corporations and startups in New York City until 2010, when I asked my wife to move to Chapel Hill, NC for a job at the University of North Carolina.

In North Carolina for 9-years now, we skipped across the state; from Chapel Hill to Winston-Salem and now Asheville, NC. My wife and I adopted a baby boy at birth who was born in the Asheville area. My family became the priority while I also ran my WordPress consulting company, Digital Strategy Works. I had ideas for Netmix, but life’s priorities simply got in the way.

A few years ago, I got it in mind to host a radio mix-show on a Low Power FM here in Asheville, AshevilleFM. My friend, Phillip and I created the Asheville House Music Society and hosted the show on the station for about a year, but we had to put the show on hiatus. In September of 2018, we brought the show back on the air on another LPFM in Asheville, WPVMFM.org, where I volunteer as the station’s webmaster. While working on the station’s website, I noticed they were using a WordPress plugin, Radio Station, which was originally created by a developer in Colorado, Nikki Blight. The plugin hadn’t been updated on the site in a while, so I checked in on the WordPress codex to review the plugin and its status. When I learned Nikki was no longer actively developing the plugin and saw that there was an installed user base, I contacted her to inquire about it and let her know that I’d consider taking it over.

After a brief conversation, Nikki passed along the car keys to the plugin in early June (2019) and wished me luck. After 16-years of working with WordPress, I am now an official manager and committer of a plugin listed in the WordPress repository. But, I’m not a developer myself. I’m a product manager and entrepreneur with deep experience managing WordPress projects, so I needed help bringing the plugin up to speed. I put the word out in the WordPress universe and the universe returned Tony Hayes, an experienced WordPress developer living about two-hours south of Brisbane, Australia. Tony’s work includes http://wpmedic.tech and other plugins that check on the health of WordPress websites.

For the past three months, Tony and I have been working together on the open-source, free version of the plugin. We’ve also had a contribution from another developer working at a radio station in Virginia, who helped bring the plugin up to WordPress coding standards. We’ve made some improvements to the plugin and are actively working on building a PRO version with an audio player, time zone switcher, and a few other neat features. But for now, we’re tightening up the plugin and its core feature set.

We’re also looking at integrating the plugin with a few popular radio station automation software packages, like AirTime and LibreTime.

After 19-years of controlling the Netmix domain name and website, I decided on merging Radio Station with Netmix, which is why the plugin is now hosted here on this site and it will carry the Netmix brand going forward, along with all the bells and whistles we hope to add to it.

We’re always looking for contributions from the community. If you’d like to join in the fun, please do visit the Radio Station project on Github and take a stab at fixing something or adding something, then issuing a pull request. We’d love to get contributions from the radio station community supporting open-source projects.

I’m so excited I finally found and merged a worthy WordPress project with the Netmix brand. Over the next couple of months, you’ll see some changes to this website. It’s a work in progress and slow going, but we’re committed to advancing the plugin, building out a PRO version with additional awesome features, and figuring it all out as we go along. We’d love to know what you think of the plugin, so leave a comment on this post below. And, please do share this plugin in your networks, so we can grow participation and installs – that’s how this is going to succeed.

WordPress Plugin – Radio Station

Radio Station is a plugin to run a radio station's website. It's functionality is based on Drupal 6's Station plugin, reworked for use in Wordpress. The plugin includes the ability to associate users with "shows", display the currently on-air DJ, store playlists, and more.

Read more

Making your audio player persistent with jQuery and AJAX

What is the single most important feature of any music website? C’mon, don’t let us stump you that easily. Still thinking? Okay, let us help. It’s the audio player, of course! If you’ve got a hot music site, then you’ve got to have a functioning audio player, so your audience can play back music featured on your website or in your mobile web application (notice I said mobile web application, not mobile application). When serving up those audio tracks, nothing is more frustrating than having a song interrupted while navigating between pages of a website. That means you can’t just deploy any audio player, you’ve got to deploy something with persistence across all site pages, allowing a consistent listening experience while surfing with no obvious break in the action. Wait, did we say that a user can navigate between pages while the audio player remains persistent and it doesn’t disrupt the audio stream? Yes! That’s what we said. After many years of ugly pop-up players or Flash-enabled players in Flash .swf wrappers that kill your site’s SEO, it is finally possible. Lots of sites are now deploying them. Some are even creating themes for WordPress with enhanced audio player experiences, so you get all that for free or a very low cost compared to custom development. The Stylico-DJ-Template features a persistent HTML5 player in the left sidebar. Before we get into the how and why of persistent audio players, here are a few more examples of sites employing these players successfully.

8tracks.com

The best site for hand-crafted Internet radio, where user-generated playlists are all the rage, 8tracks.com recently converted to a persist audio player experience. This advancement will allow listeners to enjoy uninterrupted audio while navigating the site and following their favorite “DJs.” It will surely increase engagement with 8tracks and subsequently, listening hours. check out the player in the screen shot below. It’s at the bottom of the page. (In the interest of full disclosure, the author of this post is an adviser to 8tracks.com and holds shares in the company.)

8tracks.com Audio Player Example Screen Shot

Beatport.com

One of the earliest and best implementations of a persistent audio player, Beatport first innovated with a full, all-Flash experience. Advances in HTML5/CSS3 and jQuery saw Beatport convert their entire experience into an SEO friendly website. This was smart for two reasons. First, it improved search engine optimization of the Beatport site. Flash is notoriously difficult for search engines to crawl, so converting the experience into HTML would helps Google, Bing and other search engines efficiently crawl the site. Second, it was to enable their audio player to work on Apple iPhones. When Apple decided not to support Adobe’s Flash Player plugin, Beatport customers could not play music from the existing Flash site on an iPhone or iPad. This forced Beatport to quickly innovate and come up with a solution for the mobile web, which you can from the screenshot posted see below.

Beatport Home Page Screenshot as of 1/1/13

Play any track on the Beatport home page and the track is added to a playlist found by the drop down arrow to the right of the bright green “add to cart” button in the header. You can jump back and forth and pause/play your track selections and there is a visual representation of the track with a cursor in the timeline that helps you know where you are. Then try and navigate between pages and you’ll see that the player consistently remains fixed and the audio continues to play.

This is similar to the iTunes experience, which has always had a playback feature in the head of the software as shown below. The user has the ability to play a track and navigate throughout the store or their library, as shown below without interruption.

Screenshot of iTunes as of 1/13/13

Finding a way for users to listen to music uninterrupted while surfing the site is one of Beatport’s competitive advantages over its rivals, many of whom continue to deploy pop-over players, which are problematic for a number of reasons. As you can see in the screenshot of the DJDownload website below, the pop-over player gets in the way. It pops up and over the left side of the page, making it very difficult for the user to navigate the site. Since the pop-up player is in its own browser window, just clicking on the main page will bring the main page forward and layer the player behind it making it that much more difficult to use. Today, an audio player should always be persistent on your site. The technology is available, you just have to find the right developer to make it happen for your site. There are a few WordPress themes that feature HTML5 audio players and we hope to see more.

Screenshot of DJDownload.com and its accompanying audio player

Pandora

Another successful deployment of the persistent audio player is on the Pandora website. Pandora is one of the most popular streaming radio services on the Internet. The implementation is also HTML5/CSS3 with jQuery and AJAX, two methods to trigger playback and load new page information in the browser, without stopping audio playback. Whether you change your preferred radio station or click into your user profile, the audio player stays constant.

Pandora Audio Player Screenshot

Reverb Nation

The grandaddy of artist networks and indie music discovery, Reverb Nation recently converted their site and player experience as well. The difference here is the player is on the bottom of the page instead of the top. It’s a different take and we’re wondering what A/B user testing uncovered when they were planning this feature. Does it matter whether the player is fixed to the bottom or the top? Is there an increase of decrease in usage based on location on the page? We’d love to get some feedback on this. Please leave us a comment with your thoughts on the placement of a persistent player experience. Top or bottom – which is better for the user experience?

Reverb Nation Audio Player

MySpace

The new MySpace has launched and its got a new player experience as well. As you can see, all the titles we’ve listened to are in a left/right scrollable slider. The player sits at the bottom of the page – similar to Reverb Nation. All pages load with AJAX, keeping the player persistent.

new.MySpace page with audio player experience as of 1/13/13Here is a view of the new.myspace.com media library. Click on any track it will play in the player at the bottom of the page. Playlists can be created and shared with other new.myspace.com members. Of course, there is no Facebook or Twitter integration, which is understandable given the competitive landscape between these social networks, but that is going to make it much harder for MySpace to gain social traction. You cannot cross-post from MySpace to Facebook or Twitter and vice versa. MySpace is going to have to decide if they want to go down that road. But, we’re getting off track! Back to the player discussion.

Screenshot of the new.myspace.com music library

A Brief Jog Through Our Experience With Audio Players over the past 17+ years

While persistent audio players have long been available in a downloadable client for the desktop (iTunes) or baked into an Adobe Flash experience, it’s only in the last few years you’re seeing them included on web sites as a persistent web app. And, like all audio players that came before it, it’s not all that easy to implement. I mean, it’s not necessarily plug-n-play type thing. You’ve got some work to do to implement them correctly. We”ll get to that, but let’s first start with a little history. When we first started out in this business, the most widely accepted method for streaming audio was to purchase a streaming server from Real Networks or lease space on a server from a hosting company who invested in the technology. Using Real’s server technology, you could broadcast at 14.4kbps, which is a fraction of today’s 10mbps download speeds. Early audio players were rudimentary. They were only meant as a utility to stream audio and not much else. The first image below is the Real Player 2.0, which was released in 1996. Netmix actually used this player to stream our first DJ mixes when we launched in January of 1996. Image of Real Player 2.0 (1996) Here is a view of the latest version of Real Player 16, which has a persistent player experience. The software also acts as a media library along with other advanced features. As you can see, Real Player has advanced considerably over 17+ years.

Real Player 16 Image

Before bandwidth got cheap, Real Networks would power audio on the web for the better part of a decade before being rendered obsolete by HTTP, UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and RTSP (RealTime Streaming Protocol).  At the time, Microsoft would compete with Real Networks, rolling out a competitor to Real Audio and calling it, Windows Media. Here’s the original Windows Media Player. Windows Media Classic VB6 image The latest version is Windows Media 11.

Image of Windows Media Player 11

Not to be left behind, Apple joined the party with its QuickTime streaming technology. All were required to employ a dedicated streaming server to deliver packets of data to their respective desktop clients that had to be downloaded and installed on the end user’s machine. Proprietary and expensive (although all companies offered a version of free for a limited number of consecutive connections), these products became the darlings of corporations who needed a way to stream webcasts for corporate announcements, online trainings and webinars while also keeping their content secure. The the big three controlled streaming audio throughout the 90’s until the MP3 format disrupted the status quo. In the meantime, Adobe would work audio player functionality into it’s Flash SDK (software development kit), which provided a way to create immersive, interactive audio player experiences.  The vector-based tools in Flash gave designers and developers creative license to employ unique and highly stylized players that could be persistent across an entire site. Even though Real Networks developed a proprietary markup language, SMIL, to embed web pages and other multimedia into the Real Player, Flash really took off as the best way to implement audio in a web experience. With Flash, anyone could surf a Flash-enabled website pages while listening to a continuous audio stream that would not stop abruptly when navigating between pages. The dewplayer is a good example of how designers and developers used Flash to create sophisticated and lightweight audio players. The player has various options, from Mini to one called Playlist, which displays a list of files to play. The player at the bottom of the list below shows an emulated black vinyl record, which actually emerges from behind the white box each time a new song is played. Screen shot of Dew Audio Player options To get an idea of how complex Real Audio technology was for developers to deploy, take a look at this Real Networks Production Guide published in 2002, we found on a still functioning service site. And, here is a tutorial on how to create a Flash Audio Player using Flash MX. Noted previously in this article was that Beatport once employed a Flash solution. The entire site was loaded in the browser via a .swf file, which encompasses all the code and graphics needed to display the site and make it interactive. While Flash is still in use today, HTML5 and jQuery can give you similar functionality on a standard web page all without having to load a proprietary file to run a complete web site. One can image how expensive it is to constantly update multiple .swf files that may run a very large web site. Despite the cost, some still prefer to build all-Flash experiences, but they sacrifice search engine optimization best practices in the process. A disgruntled user posted his dismay over Beatport’s migration from Flash to HTML5. Why do away with Flash? Google is the dominant search engine. Its crawlers – the bots that scour all websites to index them for content and relevancy – could’t penetrate the Flash .swf wrapper to index text within the Flash experience. Sure, there are workarounds to point a browser to scan files that would import text into Flash, but doing so was highly problematic when you could really just build a full HTML5 experience and not have to struggle with search engine optimization for Flash. Ultimately, it’s also cheaper to build an HTML5 experience than hire $175-an-hour Flash developers. Some would say that Flash technology has outlived its usefulness for complete end-to-end web sites. It’s now better served to use Flash in very specific use cases. For example, advertising banners or desktop solutions built in Flex that need to be complete, closed solutions and not open web apps that can be more easily modified. We’re at the point where the power of Google’s search and its crawler requirements have reduced the necessity of immersive Flash experiences. With Flash’s hold on the media industry reduced, which technology will now provide a similar audio player experience? Now, there is javaScript, which has evolved to offer a solution. Using HTTP, UDP or RTSP, anyone can employ a javaScript player by embedding it on their website and streaming audio from a web server the listener. It’s now possible, because telecom and cable companies have improved the speed and efficiency of bandwidth to deliver rich media to the user’s desktop or mobile device at a faster rate and more reliably than ever before. In addition, a technology called Really Simple Syndication, which is known in web circles as RSS, allow a listener to subscribe to podcasts that deliver downloads of episodic content to a laptop, desktop or mobile phone. All of the aforementioned advances make downloading, transporting and sharing audio across devices easier. There was a time when Yahoo was focused on creating open source products. During that period, one of their development groups created an immersive javaScript audio player, the Yahoo! Web Player, which could also be installed as a plugin for WordPress. In the screenshot below, you can see that once installed, the player is loaded by a click action on the page. The version in the image below is the full video experience.

Screenshot of Yahoo! Web Player

While the trial site did have a link to the audio only view, we discovered that by clicking on the link for the audio only experience, both Chrome and Safari for Mac returned the audio file in their HTML5 browser based audio players, as shown below.

Safari Audio Player screenshotIn the context of this post, it’s important to address this issue, because many of those who are new to development and working with audio on the web may not know that audio links must start using the new HTML5 download attribute, which is appended inside the link tag like this:

<a href="http://www.google.com/.../logo2w.png" download="MyGoogleLogo">download me</a>

Open Source content management systems including WordPress are inadvertently driving persistent audio player experiences. Free to download and install, these content management systems are extremely popular with DJs, bands and labels. Anyone with a hosting account can quickly set up a blog and within minutes publish a podcast or embed player widgets from services like Reverb Nation, Soundcloud or 8tracks into their sites pages. When it comes to a persistent experience, we’re just starting to see WordPress themes that utilize jQuery and AJAX to deliver the persistent player music fans are increasingly exposed to from the sites we mentioned earlier in this post. If you’re a DJ, artist, band or label, there will be a point in time your users will expect to be able to navigate your site or mobile pages, while listening to audio uninterrupted. We’re anticipating your next question, which is probably, “show me some examples of WordPress themes that have persistent audio players?” Ha! We thought you’d never ask. We mentioned Stylico-DJ-Template, which is available for $18 at Themeforest, a theme and plugin marketplace. The theme uses history,js, which:

…gracefully supports the HTML5 History/State APIs (pushState, replaceState, onPopState) in all browsers. Including continued support for data, titles, replaceState. Supports jQuery, MooTools and Prototype. For HTML5 browsers this means that you can modify the URL directly, without needing to use hashes anymore. For HTML4 browsers it will revert back to using the old onhashchange functionality.

Stylico WordPress Template Screen shot at Themeforest

 Another example of a WordPress theme using history.js to create a consistent player experience is the predominantly dubstep and mash-up site, sosimpull.com. Notice the player is fixed at the top left. You can navigate between each tab in the playlist and the audio will continue to play.

Screen Shot of SoSimpull.com

How do you build persistent audio players?

After a little bit of research, I came up with a list of links that I’m going to pass to you, which should help you get started in building out your persistent audio player experience.

If you need a little help trying to get AJAX into your theme, here are a few links that may help you out.

Lastly, SEO is very important to this endeavor. If you’re going to AJAX your site’s pages, you’re going to want to do some “deep linking” to content.

For developers, this slide deck might be useful. The author is Ronald Huereca, who presented these slides at WordPress Philadelphia in 2010.