I’ve added a new feature to my blog which you can see and use in the sidebar: XSPF Player plugin. I started out this quest after reading the NY Times article on blog widgets, which referred to Streampad’s mini-player. It looked so cool and performed such a useful task I coveted it for my blog. I went about installing it. It took quite some time since I didn’t feel the installation instructions were terribly clear. And even once I installed it correctly, I couldn’t get the mp3s to display in the mini-player. Dan Kantor, Steampad’s owner, is working on fixing the problem.
So I shifted gears and started researching WordPress player plugins. It’s hard to find a player that does what I want. And those that seemed to do so were difficult to install & get up and running. XSPF isn’t terribly easy either. Part of that is the installation instructions and part is due to my intermediate technical abilities. I think the instructions anticipate a user who has more technical background than I or the average Joe.
XSPF is an mp3 player which can be placed in a sidebar, post or anywhere else you like in your blog. I’m using the Player in a fairly simple way (you can see it halfway down my sidebar). But it can be configured in more sophisticated ways than what I’m doing. I’ve manually added links to 27 mp3 files featured in blog posts here. This will give visitors the opportunity to listen to as many as they wish of the collected songs I feature in my mp3 blog.
What I’d like is a plugin that can find audio files on your server and automatically list them in the player. Streampad will do this (if you can get it to work), but it will only do so for mp3 files you upload AFTER you install the mini-player. It will not detect files that already exist on your server. This forces you to manually link to any old files which you’d like to display in the mini-player.
They say that nothing worthwhile is easy. That should be a motto for the technical side of blogging. It’s certainly been true for me in the search for a good player.
I’m hoping that Jose, author of the XSPF plugin, will consider a future feature that would display a button allowing listeners to go directly to the blog post in which the mp3 file is featured. This would help capture listeners attention and keep them longer at the blog and possibly lead them to purchase the music which I offer via links within the posts. Another feature I’d like (and possibly this would be technically complicated) is to offer a “buy this song” button allowing visitors to buy the music listed in the player through Amazon by using my Amazon Associates ID.
I should add that XSPF’s interface can be a bit balky. After installing, the player didn’t display in the sidebar. Jose told me to change the display format from the default (you have a choice of Slim, Button and Wide) to another mode and then back again. This got it to display in Slim mode, but not in the Wide mode I wanted. The only way I could do that was by eliminating the data in the width and height dimension fields in the interface. Then I got the Player display mode I wanted. I still haven’t been able to add background or foreground color to the Player, which is one of its features.
The search for perfection continues.