Where’s the music?

One of the things I’ve been constantly delaying on Gloss is the development of the music player module. For a long time this was simply because I had no idea in my own head about what it should look like. I’ve bitched and moaned along with all the others about the existing MythMusic interface, but when it was all said and done, I didn’t have anything better to offer.

Well that is now a thing of the past. There’s a plan in my head and some code in SVN. What I’m picturing is a mix of the interfaces from Elisa and FrontRow, hopefully being a little simpler in the end. One of the crucial things I decided early on with this idea though was that it would require images. Lots and lots of images. Nobody likes sorting through a list of band names when you could be rolling through some form of pretty image display (ie Coverflow).

The obvious problem with this though is, of course, actually having the images. ID3 data in the files themselves is ok, but it really doesn’t represent the band itself. If you’ve got a band with 5 albums, which album cover do you pick to represent the band? So whilst Gloss will now pull images out of ID3’s, the solution is for the higher level pics fairly obvious, Last.fm. Last.fm offer a reasonable web service interface allowing you to get information, including images if you look hard enough, on bands, albums, songs etc. Integrating with Last.fm wasn’t too difficult, although bringing it all together is still a work in progress.
Currently, Gloss will run through your existing music collection and download (in the background) images for artists and albums, storing them locally for future use. This is a fully automated process and has about a 95% success rate. Once the images are downloaded, artists and albums can be searched in a pretty growing/shrinking image row, similar to what Elisa currently uses. I’m thinking in future that I will also pull general info about bands (description, tour dates etc) from Last.fm, but these would obviously require further DB updates, which I am hesitant to do.

So that’s about it for shiny new stuff type updates. There’s been a bit of work ‘generifying’ some code to make it usable across the whole system rather than just in specific modules. Code reuse is a glorious thing when you sit down and make things useful 🙂
Depending on how busy I am over the next week, I’d like to have another screencast with the basic Music interface up within 2 weeks, but there’s still a lot to do.

6 thoughts on “Where’s the music?”

  • Zeltak brisbane says:

    Hi

    Thx for all the hard work your putting into the project. One question/suggestion. I think one killer feature that is missing from myth (and one elisa has) is integration with the “normal” desktop media. For example if the pictures module would use the Digikam database and the Music Module would use the Amarok Database it would be truly awesome (elisa uses f-spot and rhythmbox databases).
    Since you are tinkering with the music player aspect i am sure a lot of people would love an integration with their Amarok database.

    Thx alot

    Zeltak

  • @Zeltak

    Should definitely be possible. I’ve never really used Amarok much but from a quick look around it appears it uses DCOP so shouldn’t be too hard to get artist/album/track information out of it.

    -Josh

  • Zeltak brisbane says:

    Hi

    Thx for the answer!
    Its great to hear you are giving it a thought. I would be really happy to help you in any area you may need though i am not a programmer. I could however help with simple graphic stuff (gimp etc…) testing and any other stuff you may need!

    Thx again

    Zeltak

    P.S you may want to look at this link where there is already some full screen option which uses dcop features from amarok:

    http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Kirocker+Music+Display?content=52869

  • Kevin Sookocheff says:

    One thing I like is if the music player looks at the embedded image tags for files that it plays. I have taken the time to download and embed the album covers in the id3 data for my entire music collection and if a player doesn’t recognize them (or tries to download its own — often incorrectly) it’s a big minus for me. Just a thought! Keep up the good work!

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