Music Changes January 2, 2008 5:32 PM   Subscribe

Some new stuff at Music: play counts, flash player update, and pop-outs!

Today we started tracking the number of times a track is played over at Music. (You can read the original request here: Blind Musicians.) You'll find the play count under the title, next to the date on a track detail page, like this: "- played x time(s)". If there's no count for a track, a play hasn't been recorded yet. A play is counted when someone listens for at least 60 seconds, and the play is stopped in a way that we can track. For example, listening to a single track all the way through, or tracking forward on a playlist will do the trick. Closing your browser window or clicking pause will not do the trick. So it's not perfect, but it should give some indication folks are listening.

As part of this process we moved to the new version of the Flash player (JW Media Player 3.13), so the little Flash widget will look a bit different. Hopefully this will fix the tab/focus issues people have been having with the player.

If the player update doesn't fix the tab issue, you can now use the "pop-out" link under players to open that playlist in a new browser window. We were thinking about adding this as a fix for the tab/focus problems, but realized even with the new player this would be a handy feature.

Please report any problems with the updates here, thanks!
posted by pb (staff) to Feature Requests at 5:32 PM (56 comments total)

This is great pb, is there a way to track downloads for people who only listen to the stuff via podcast?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:40 PM on January 2, 2008

Cool stuff pb, thanks :)
posted by doctor_negative at 5:42 PM on January 2, 2008

There's no way to track podcast/iTunes downloads right now. Matt isn't keeping any server logs, so we don't have any numbers there. And it's impossible (from here) to tell when someone plays a track within iTunes. The new playcount stuff works exclusively with the in-page Flash player.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:42 PM on January 2, 2008

Thanks pb! Much appreciated!
posted by cashman at 5:48 PM on January 2, 2008

Another metric by which I can measure my unpopularity. Well, at least I'll know how many people I've tormented.

More seriously - thanks! This is cool.
posted by malocchio at 5:58 PM on January 2, 2008

Nice! The popout feature is awesome. Thanks pb.
posted by Demogorgon at 6:02 PM on January 2, 2008

Wow. Awesome!

Does this pony come in cornflower blue, too?
posted by spiderwire at 6:14 PM on January 2, 2008

Hey, awesome stuff! I love the new play counter.
posted by mosessis at 6:22 PM on January 2, 2008

I'm not seeing the changes - am I missing something? There's no play counter and no popup link. Here's a screenshot (looks just like the old version).

I tried a reload and a shift+reload, but still have nothing new. This is using Firefox on Ubuntu Linux. Adblock, greasemonkey, etc are all turned off.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:36 PM on January 2, 2008

So this is just for stuff that is posted from hereon out, right? Not stuff that's already posted?
posted by miss lynnster at 6:45 PM on January 2, 2008

Looks like you have the new version chrismiller. It's not a *big* change, just a slight change. The playlist player looks quite a bit different, but again, nothing drastic.

miss lynster, it's for all tracks even those already posted. But the play counts start today.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:01 PM on January 2, 2008

Within the playlist view I'm seeing the title of the playlist (rather than the title of the song) in the list of tracks.
posted by mattbucher at 7:11 PM on January 2, 2008

I noticed this right away a second ago in Music and came right here to see if there was an "official" announcement about it. Thanks, pb, this rocks.
posted by chococat at 7:34 PM on January 2, 2008

You should see the playlist title followed by the track title. Unfortunately I haven't found a way to get that playlist title out of there yet.
posted by pb (staff) at 7:35 PM on January 2, 2008

This is so wonderful.
posted by Pants! at 7:46 PM on January 2, 2008

I'm still going to hold off on posting my good music until you can count podcast listens.

not really

I have good music?
posted by davejay at 7:56 PM on January 2, 2008

Awesome. Thanks.
posted by spiderskull at 8:19 PM on January 2, 2008

Excellent. My contribution to Music (ears) can finally be appreciated.
posted by carsonb at 9:01 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ah, I see now. That song hadn't been played yet, or something, so the playcount wasn't showing up.

Nice job.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:48 PM on January 2, 2008

MeFiMu marches on, shining and glorious, toward ever-expanding horizons of sonic greatness! Nice work pb.

So, whadda y'all think about, uh... genre boxes?

Genre boxes?

posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:00 AM on January 3, 2008

Thanks, pb. I can play songs from individual post pages and navigate to another tab without losing sound, now but I still lose it if I'm playing anything from the front page of Music.

Not a major big deal, but I was hoping to use the feed stream to keep up and listen while browsing, without having to go back and forth every few minutes to load up a new page/tune.
posted by taz at 2:03 AM on January 3, 2008

Hooray! Thanks for the baking-in the popout feature. It works much better than my previous hack. I still have a pony for a pop-out "quick playlist" feature, where you can quickly enqueue (AJAX-ily, perhaps) a few front-page tracks I want to hear, instead of playing one, then clicking the next. It's a minor and possibly minority need, but ranks high on my "nifty and hella useful" list for MeFi Music.
posted by potch at 6:41 AM on January 3, 2008

Thanks very much for all your hard work, pb. One other thing that I would like to see more than just about anything else if you have time would be nice wide live preview fields like the ones throughout the rest of the site.
posted by melissa may at 7:50 AM on January 3, 2008

taz, have you tried using the pop-out link to open the "Stream the RSS Feed" player in a new window? (It's located at the bottom of the right column on the front page.) It's too bad the player upgrade didn't take care of the tab issues everywhere, but opening the front page playlist in a new window should let you listen to new additions and browse.

melissa may, music already has wide live preview! We added that to all sites a few weeks ago.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:29 AM on January 3, 2008

Yes, I tried it, and it works as long as I make my main browsing window smaller and don't let it overlap the player by much... which, I'm not really going to be doing. Just popping it out, though, no - it won't play in the background, sadly.
posted by taz at 8:45 AM on January 3, 2008

Weird. What browser/OS are you using taz?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:47 AM on January 3, 2008

The same one I am, apparently...

'Fox WinXP here, and the tab issues aren't fixed on the front page.
posted by potch at 9:35 AM on January 3, 2008

I'm having some trouble listening. On both the Music front page and on song pages the player will buffer the entire song but not actually start playing it.
FF WinXP. Have reloaded styles, etc.
posted by carsonb at 9:53 AM on January 3, 2008

(This didn't happen last night; I heard the collaboration song no problem.)
posted by carsonb at 9:54 AM on January 3, 2008

2 bugs on Opera 9.25 / XP. No popout buttons and music stops playing when main page is not active tab. Although you can play the songs on the song page and look at another tab.
posted by bigmusic at 10:05 AM on January 3, 2008

This is great! Thanks, pb.
posted by ORthey at 10:14 AM on January 3, 2008

FF Firefox/ and WinXP here.
posted by taz at 10:45 AM on January 3, 2008

Just to be clear, the popout buttons only show up for playlist pages, not when you see a single song player, so it's not a bug with any browser if you aren't seeing popout links on song thread pages.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:46 AM on January 3, 2008

I'm seeing carsonb's front page problem with FF Seems like it has something to do with multiple players on the page because track detail pages, playlist pages, and tag playlist pages work fine.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:49 AM on January 3, 2008

I tried all of the pages you mentioned pb, and the same problem persists: The song/playlist will buffer up to 100%...and then nothing. All javascript allowed; as far as I can tell I'm completely open to it.
posted by carsonb at 11:34 AM on January 3, 2008

Oop, went ahead and restarted the browser. Front page of Music still doesn't work, but the other pages do now.
posted by carsonb at 11:50 AM on January 3, 2008

I had the same problem as carsonb, but I uninstalled flash 9 installed Flash 8 and everything was able to stream.
posted by bigmusic at 11:56 AM on January 3, 2008

I think we might have this nailed down to a Flash version issue. If you type about:plugins in the address bar you can check and see which version of Flash you have. I have "Shockwave Flash 9.0 r47" on my Mac and it's working fine, but "Shockwave Flash 9.0 r115" seems to be a problem in WinXP.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:59 AM on January 3, 2008

Yep, confirmed the version issue for XP. If you go back to "Shockwave Flash 9.0 r47", everything seems to work fine. (Though the Windows Firefox/Flash tab issue is still there.)

You can get older versions of Flash here: Archived Flash Players. Download Flash Player 9, unzip, and look for the appropriate installer in the 9r47 folder. That should take you back one version.

Hopefully the MP3 player we use will update soon to fix this.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:30 PM on January 3, 2008

Nice work, thanks pb!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:05 PM on January 3, 2008

Until today, I could open new tabs and the songs would still play. Now the music stops when I move to a different tab. (Firefox, vista, flash 9.0 r47)
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 2:46 PM on January 3, 2008

I had no idea there would such a huge difference between times played and # of comments. This really kicks ass. Thanks pb!
posted by snsranch at 4:54 PM on January 3, 2008

Someone just favorited my Cry Me A River tune... but it still says nobody's listened to it. I'm assuming they did, though. So... huh?
posted by miss lynnster at 5:09 PM on January 3, 2008

Don't forget people: If other people are listening via the podcast, those numbers will not show up. I have listened to every single song on MeFiMu (except maybe 20 I'm listening to today) but they don't count under the playcount list. So, the playcount is useful, but also approximate. At the very least there is a +1 to any number you have because I have listened to it. :)
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:25 PM on January 3, 2008

I think as long as we all know jessamyn is checking out our stuff, what the hell do we need those play counts for, anyway?

Now, the Genre Box, that's another matter...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:32 PM on January 3, 2008

I think I fixed the Windows Firefox tab focus issues. If not, could you just humor me and say that it's fixed? I'm kidding. But the whole tab/focus thing is working for me on Windows after adding a wmode parameter to the Flash object code. I still don't know why that fixes it.
posted by pb (staff) at 5:56 PM on January 3, 2008

Oh, and as a bonus, the site is now working with the latest version of Flash for me in FF/Win.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:04 PM on January 3, 2008

I haven't changed a thing since my last comment, and now everything works. The player on the front page, all the other pages, AND even when I cover it up with another tab/window/program. Sweet!

pb, you fuckin' rock! (and now we can fuckin' rock [out] too!)
posted by carsonb at 6:24 PM on January 3, 2008

pb, you are a star, mate.
posted by micayetoca at 8:40 PM on January 3, 2008

Vunderbar, mahvelous, faboo! Everything works! Thank you!
posted by taz at 11:25 PM on January 3, 2008

pb, the new player is SuperFast! Gracias.

flapjax: I made you a genre box, but then I eated it. Sorry.
posted by snsranch at 3:19 PM on January 4, 2008

Am I right in thinking that downloading the song (via the little disc icon) doesn't count as a play? 'Cause I usually download songs first and then play them after, to avoid bufferstops.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 3:44 PM on January 4, 2008

yes, KtJ, you are right.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:59 PM on January 4, 2008

flapjax: I made you a genre box, but then I eated it. Sorry.

Well, as long as you enjoyed it, sns.... Did you eat up all the polka, by the way?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:33 PM on January 4, 2008

I didn't even save you any polka. Nor any Tuvan throat singing. It's all in my tummy now!
posted by snsranch at 4:37 PM on January 4, 2008

You greedy bastard.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:05 PM on January 4, 2008

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