Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another It's been awhile post, another stack of cool features

It's been a crazy month. We passed some pretty crazy milestones, songs sold, songs avilable etc, and the monster is still growing. Tim is working on getting the site on a new server. Our former hosting provider hung us out to dry last week during the Techcrunch craze and the server died. That's why we're switching.
And this time we've made absolutely sure on our own that the new server CAN have CPU's added in 5 minutes AND they're always in STOCK.

Fortunately, we have found some time during this time to build some really cool new stuff for everybody. I'll post details on them in the following days, but first a look at the overhauled player and some new features that have been added on to it.

First of all, there have been some small style changes to make it fit better in the new design as you can see below. Its still pretty primitive. been working on the functionality side of things up to this point.

If you look closely, you'll notice that Amie Radio is finally starting to see the light of day. Want to just bounce around indie and hear alot of music you've never heard before, even if you're heavy users like us around the house. You can just open up the radio and get a good two hours of music. Adding to the idea of genres as another focal point for discovery, each genre now has its own station. What's really cool at least to me, is how easy it is to get around all the content in a genre via some intelligent URL's and the arch. For example, say your a big indie fan. Here's how easy it is to get all of the content you could ever want.

First, there's the genre home page. You can get there by just typing in http://www.amie.st/genre/Indie . Want blog posts? Three options. View in the site, http://amie.st/blog/genre/Indie Newsfeed? http://blog.amie.st/tag/Indie/feed/ Feedburner fan? http://feeds.feedburner.com/amie/genre/Indie What about tuning into the Indie station? Simple enough. http://amie.st/radio/Indie What if you want to search for something? Simple. http://amie.st/search/Indie

Yikes spikes that's slick! But back to features.

On the functionality side of things, some in the flash it self, other on the backend, the player has become its own entity entirely.

After some good user feedback, we added some more buttons to make life easier. Hear a good song playing on the radio? Click a button and you can rec, buy, download, or go to the artist's store.

Something really cool is the option to add the player itself to your browser's sidebar. This works on just about every browser out there, but no one really uses it but us. No pop ups, no iteruption. Just cruise around the site listening to good music. A link to easily bookmark any playlist or radio station has also been added. Some other functionality has also been put in to make sharing the player with your friends easier.

You can also search right in the player and the results will load as a playlist. Again, pretty slick. Big fan of the search bar in the upper right hand corner of iTunes? Same deal here. You'll love it.

You'll also notice the first bits of playlist integration. In the upper left hand corner. Lists are an academic essay in themselves, so I'll save that discussion for another time.

The last change i can think of in the player is the concept of listen pages for artists. Want a really easy way to let people listen to your music on Amie Street and allow them to buy songs really easy? Simple. Just make a link to http://amie.st/listen/The Artist's Name . So if you want to listen to The Far Star, http://amie.st/list/The Far Star . Seldon Plan fan? http://amie.st/listen/The Seldon Plan . Rather put the flash player on your own site? Just copy and paste the code in the embed input and you're set. Want to let people listen to samples of middle distance runner on your site?
<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" height="300" width="400" src="http://amie.st/flash/player/xspf_player.swf?playlist_url=http://amie.st/listSongs.php?fetchPlaylist/artistId__334">

That's it.

We use Fabricio Zuardi's XPSF player as the frame work for our player. Check out http://hidout.com.br for really really good free independent music.

Note: These features have not been pushed to the production environment yet. So if they don't work, that's why. Should be up in a couple days though.

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