What are song actions?

We've introduced a brand new feature to the Radioplayer browser player - Song Actions. As part of the new Now Playing ticker, if you're providing us with metadata, we're able to show this in the console. But what's even better is that if we know that what's playing is a song (in other words you're providing us with PE metadata), we can display an action icon next to the track. This action icon is called a Song Action and it can link through to a music shop affiliate, a page of artist/track related content on your website or even just Wikipedia.

The basics - getting the metadata right

For Song Actions to work, you need to provide track now playing data. There are two ways to do this. The first is to send us metadata. Many stations already FTP us their XML metadata - it requires some quite technical development resource on the station's end so it isn't for the feint of heart.

Alternatively if you have an AAC stream delivered over RTMP (and some other RTMP streams seem to work too) then the Flash EMP will 'sniff' the stream and show what's playing. We're also looking at other ways to do this but either way, without sending us metadata, your ticker will only ever show the station description.

Setting up a song action for 'click-to-buy'

One of the most useful applications for song actions is to add a BUY link to the player. This is able to change dynamically depending on the track played. Here's what to do:

  1. If your company does not already have click-to-buy elsewhere on your sites, you'll need to establish a commercial agreement with a music store or affiliate network. iTunes and Amazon MP3 are the most popular but others like 7Digital exist. Some even give you a white-label shop microsite.
  2. Dive into the developer documentation (ask them for this if needed) and find out what the format of the affiliate links is. It'll probably be something like http://music-shop.com/search?affiliate=myRadioFM&s=artist/title. We recommend linking to a page of search results because we don't ask for ISRC numbers in the metadata so can't pass that back. Plus, if you give your users search results, they might find other mixes of the track they liked!
  3. Login to the Station Control Panel and scroll down to the section about Song Actions.
  4. You now need to insert Magic Tokens into the URL you found in Step 2. Magic Tokens tell Radioplayer where to insert the artist and/or track title in a URL string. Radioplayer will then automatically substitute the Magic Token with the correct artist/title when in use.
    To insert the currently playing artist into a URL, use the token [artist]
    To insert the currently playing track title into a URL, use the token [title]
    If you need to URL-encode these (as some affiliate networks require), you can use [[artist]] and [[title]] to achieve that result
    Example: Leo's Record Shop now sells MP3's. You've been told that your affiliate URL is
    http://leosrecordsh.op/search?artist=artist&track=track&affiliate=myRadioFM
    Insert the Magic Tokens in the right places and your Song Action URL becomes...
    http://leosrecordsh.op/search?artist=[artist]&track=[track]&affiliate=myRadioFM
  5. Insert that newly derived URL into the Song Action URL field in the Station Control Panel
  6. Set the Song Action Type to buy or download
  7. Hit Save and wait for Radioplayer to check and approve

Setting up a song action for other purposes

There are a number of places you can obtain additional info about the artist or track currently on air. Most people use Wikipedia or last.fm but databases like AMG and Discogs are all useful. You might even have pages on your site such as an artist A-Z of your core playlist artists. If you do, you can link to that or indeed any page on the internet.

Follow the steps above and the Song Action Type could be set to info or music.

If you're feeling adventurous and have developers available, you might like to build on top of the functionality we've provided. Add, rate and custom are song actions which do nothing more than to link to a page of your choice, on the web, inserting the artist and title as needed. We don't provide track favouriting, user playlisting or ratings but that shouldn't stop you from building it if you wish. The custom song action is there if you're doing something new although you'll need to code a string substitution otherwise it'll say "custom" as your action in the ticker, which won't be ideal!

Please note, icons and imagery instead of text labels are not supported at this time.