Usability idea: Internet Radio

Yesterday Mark introduced me to a new streaming radio station, Beatles Radio. It’s a stream of Beatles, Beatles-covers and Beatles-related acts.

To listen, I went to the link Mark sent me via IM, and scanned the page looking for a play button. There wasn’t one, but there are links that say ‘Windows Player’, ‘iTunes Player’ and ‘Winamp Player’ as well as ‘Custom Player’ – I had to make a decision which one would be best, and I chose Winamp. I don’t have Winamp, and as it turns out, both iTunes and Winamp both take me to the same location.

Would it be neat if there was a defined standard for internet radio stations to put a tag in their markup with the URL of their stream? Maybe there could be an option for Ogg Vorbis streams too?

Today, when I wanted to listen again, I opened Rhythmbox, and clicked ‘Radio’ on the sidebar. I noticed there was a button at the top ‘New Internet Radio Station’ (this would probably be better as an ‘Add Internet Radio Station’) – I clicked this and typed ‘beatlesradio.com’, but it didn’t work.

So, I propose the following.

<link rel=”stream proprietary” href=”http://www.beatlesradio.com:8088/listen.pls&#8221; title=”Beatles Radio” />

<link rel=”stream” href=”http://www.beatlesradio.com/this/url/does/not/exist.pls&#8221; title=”Beatles Radio (Ogg Vorbis)” />

The ‘proprietary’ property would be for stream in formats other than Ogg Vorbis/Ogg Theora, which hopefully will still make it to HTML 5. User agents could see this tag and do something awesome with it. Plugins for Firefox could offer one click streaming of Internet Radio, and things would be good.

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