At Last A WordPress.org vs. WordPress.com Definitive Guide

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I get these questions often: “Should I use WordPress.com? Or download the software from WordPress.org and host it myself? Which approach is better?! Help me understand!!”

Thankfully wpmudev.org just published a handy guide that answers this question in neat detail. It’s conveniently titled:

WordPress.org vs WordPress.com: A Definitive Guide For 2015

So read up and don’t fret. Go boldly forth into the wonderful WordPress world. Remember, you can always start a free account at WordPress.com to get your toes wet, and then export your juicy content (very easy to do with WordPress) and import it into your new fancy self-hosted install later, if you like. You have freedom. And options. Isn’t life grand? Gutenberg would freak out.

RIP Yahoo Web / Media Player

LAST AND FINAL UPDATE OF THIS EVER-EVOLVING POST! June 25, 2015

I’ve been meaning to say – beloved WordPress open-source geniuses have solved this whole issue and you don’t need a plugin or anything else to manage audio streams and downloads and playlists anymore, just WordPress. This has been true for a while now I just now finally got around to updating ye olde “Yahoo Player Lament” post =). Done. Closed. Le fin. Or as Jonathan Richman said, bye bye, bye bye. I’ll leave the rest of it and the comments below for posterity as it was such a lively thread for those of us who care madly about this stuff.

LADEEEEZ AND GENTLEMEN! Musicians and bloggers, audio web geeks and music lovers of every stripe the world over, we have an UPDATE! 10-2-2014 :->

It’s not: an update for the dearly departed Yahoo Web Player. It’s not: a solution for streaming video. It’s not: a solution for platforms other than WordPress. It is: a badass new WordPress plugin for audio streaming that works on (praise all that is holy) all major platforms including iOS, Android, etc. I am testing out the free version here. Pro version purchase imminent, as it allows for multiple playlists, drag and drop ordering of songs and other features which will be essential for the “power-user.” Wanted to make sure it hums along and works as intended and so far yes yes yes it does.

I will leave this thread open for further improvements, revelations, or laments about our old pal YMP / YWP. But I’m pretty sure the audio-player wp-plugin question has been finally solved by something solid, cross-platform, stable, and easy to use. Get the plugin here.

UPDATE 2-22-2014! Thanks Jaap for the Playlist function update! Awesome work, it’s great to see that part working again. Thanks everyone for your kind feedback and notes. Glad to see so much interest in this. Please feel free to post any links to your uses of the player, or blog posts about this subject, in the thread below.

UPDATE 1-28-2014! Scroll down to the more recent comments or click here for the latest exciting updates around this.

UPDATE 8-30-2013! OK, to summarize from the comment thread, what we’ve found is that you can host your own instance of the player and modify it to fit your needs. You can download it from here. This is unfortunately not a solution for bloggers who use shared servers and can’t install and run the software locally. What yahoo had going was a neat little snippet of code that activated the player from any domain, and served it up from Yahoo’s servers. The good news is if you can install it, it runs exactly the same way as the remotely served version used to. We have it running again on publicdomain4u.com and it seems to work perfectly. For those going this route: it’s important to note that you need to poke through the player code and make sure that all of the elements are served locally. There still are some images and bits that come off Yahoo servers, and given that they’re not supporting this software anymore, it’s a safe bet those elements will go dark sooner or later. It’s a hell of a piece, as others have stated here, it’s the best web media player out there, ESPECIALLY for music, by a country mile.

Big props to our server admin and chief propeller-hat, Lou Parmelee at Planet Six String for getting the player humming for us again!

UPDATE 8-20-2013! See encouraging developments in the comments below, and feel free to join in the discussion.

UPDATE 8-14-2013! It’s gone again. Bye bye. Yahoo Media Player, or Yahoo Web Player, or whatever it was called. How sad, that was the coolest thing Yahoo ever made.

UPDATE 7-8-2013! It’s on, the Yahoo Web Player is not discontinued, turns out that report was erroneous. You just need to change the URL to access it. View the very simple fix, right here. Truly happy news.

ORIGINAL POST:

Ack! Yahoo turned off their WebPlayer service. What a bummer for all the sites out there that used it. I used it extensively in PublicDomain4U, various other music blogs, and the band sites I manage. I know of roughly a bazillion other music sites that also used it. This was a simple way to make all your .mp3 or other media types load automatically in a neat little player – just by adding a line or two of code to your head tag.

I had wondered how Yahoo benefited from this magnanimous service to the Webmasters of the world. I had wondered what their expense in tech resources and cash amounted to, for making it available. If anyone knows of a media player that works similarly to the late, great, Yahoo WebPlayer, please leave it, or your #$%^&’s and laments about this, in the comments below.

For now, without any explanation or discussion, webplayer.yahoo.com redirects to the front page of Yahoo. I did find one article, on webpronews, which explains that Yahoo is shutting down a stack of services including the redundant AltaVista search engine. That’s understandable. But the Yahoo WebPlayer was a great service, and it will be sorely missed by myself and everyone else who wove it into the fabric of their websites.

On the other hand, here’s how you DO get me to Like yr Band Page!

Sarchasm-Help_I_Need_An_AdultI felt a little bad posting this little screed the other day about bands asking people to “Like” their FB pages before hearing their music. Today I have a happy footnote to that!  A young band sent me a nice email asking if we could put them on a show sometime, with a link to their bandcamp page. So I popped over and pressed play, and it is freakin’ GREAT! So I’m a fan now. So, I went over to their FB page and clicked “Like” and added them to the Uptones’ likes as well. And now I’m posting it here. Because it really rocks my ass, OK? Not because I’m being nice. This is firmly in the East Bay punk / ska / power-pop tradition, and it really stands on its own merit. The lyrics are sincere and smart and passionate, the combo playing is tight and dynamic, the guitar playing and vocals are lovely and powerful, the production is marvelous and look. Here’s the thing. I pressed play on song 1, and it kept my riveted attention all the way to the end, and kinda made my morning. I like it because these kids put in WORK and turned in a real gem of an album, for which I have no problem sharing my “Like” with the world. Let’s see, will bandcamp let me embed this whole thing, along with Buy and Share links? Let’s see.. Yes! Like! Heh.. Where’s the “Love” button? Listen to this:

How Not To Get Me To “Like” Your Band Page!

not_likeSigh. Invited to “Like” a band on FB. I go to their page. Band looks cool. I click Play and it prompts me to Like before I can hear ’em. Not doing it!

I’ve been sharing some of my bands’ music for free on the Internet since 1998. If someone likes us, great! But I’m not going to ask for a “Like” unless you actually like us and want to help spread the word about us. Gawd. That said, you can hear The Uptones at our FB page, heck yeah we’d appreciate your Liking! Love it even more if you like it enough to want to buy our music at iTunes or put it on a playlist in Spotify or play the Uptones channel in Pandora. We get a little revenue from that and it really means a lot to us. Encourages us to release more music, I mean we have a way to distribute our music world wide without having to invest in CD’s or deal with storage and shipping. It’s potentially a great new world emerging for recording artists as the subscription sites and youtube etc. all figure out how to pay the artists and copyright owners in this era of nearly universal access to recorded music.

But the work has to stand on its own merit! If you’re going to compete with a bazillion other records, compete! Make the best record you can, and then let people hear it somehow. I know it’s not easy to choose the best ways to get your work noticed in today’s crazy playing field, but the model of using a “Like” as currency before even hearing the work, is just kukoo. I might just “Like” the band that invited me, then listen to their stuff, but then I’ll be in the awkward position of having to un-Like them if I didn’t dig their music. Or leave the “Like” standing, thus recommending something I’m not down with, and diminishing the value of my real recommendations. I don’t Like either option.

Thus endeth the rant.

Your comments and rants and musical recommendations are always invited.

UPDATE, Jan 30!-> Here’s is how you DO get me to Like your Band Page!

The Quiet Death Of IODA Promonet

IODA-Promonet-RIPMost people don’t know what IODAPromonet is, or was. And I don’t see any news articles about it closing, so I’m making a little post to say goodbye to what was a remarkable resource. IODA (now merged with Orchard) is an online distributor of recordings: they take the music made by independent labels like the one I record for, and feed it out to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other online music retailers and subscription services. Promonet was a site that IODA created, which gave bloggers some tools to easily post and promote music in the IODA catalog. The idea was to encouraged people to discover and promote music in the “Long Tail” – the vast, undiscovered or under-discovered bulk of contemporary recorded music. I used it extensively, posting links to hundreds of records and promotional free mp3s that I found there over the years. Word is that as of today, the site is going dark along with all the content in it. I’ll miss it. But it isn’t a huge surprise. In the evolution of music and commerce in the digital age, there are hundreds of former sites. I’ve been following this stuff since IUMA. What a long strange tail it’s been.

Public Domain 4U and You and You!

Thanks Aidin Vaziri for spreading the word about Public Domain 4U. Check out today’s post – a free mp3 of Charley Patton’s “Poor Me” recorded in 1934. One mic, one man, his guitar and voice. Oh and a tape recorder! A vast contrast to today’s overwrought and sanitized faux-recordings. Posting at PublicDomain4U.com continues to be a labor of love. There’s a lot of great music in the public domain now, and our humble site’s mission is to help you find and enjoy some of the best of it.

Spam Spam Spam! And why we don’t take Akismet for granted!

I try and remember that lovely Louis CK bit where he explained “Everything’s amazing, but nobody’s happy” as part of my everyday rules for living. It’s in that spirit that I’m thanking, in this blog, the authors of all of the pieces that make a WordPress install such an awesome publishing tool.

Which brings us, to Comment Spam! I left Comments enabled on this blog. I NEVER would do that, in the vast hurricanes of Spam that is the Internets, if it weren’t for a stalwart unsung hero of WordPressdom, called Akismet. Akismet obliterates the Comment Spam problem which would make running a discussion-enabled blog a total nightmare. Who are these heroic coders? Ah, they are bloggers, what a surprise! This key piece of the WordPress puzzle was actually written by some of the same folks who created WordPress.com – at a company called Automattic. Their site header says, “We are passionate about making the web a better place.” And their work proves it. Thanks, Automattic!

And here is Monty Python. Because I can.

Hello world!

There’s no such thing as a blog that starts at the beginning. They start in the middle. Hopefully not at the end. This is a stock WordPress install. I haven’t changed the theme or done anything to it yet. Fresh canvas. And what the heck. My first post will be called “Hello World” which is the WordPress default 1st post. Why not? Hello world! Nice to meet you.