Winamp’s Now Playing Plug-In, URL Streams, and Classic vs Modern Skins

Well, this is going to be one of those posts with a very narrow target audience and will undoubtedly make no sense and confuse others. :)

(Update 12/21/2009: With the release of Winamp 5.57, the Now Playing Plug-In version 2.1.2 I discuss below started to cause Winamp to crash. I found a new plug-in and discuss it here.)

I use Winamp to play my music with: MP3s, MIDI, MOD files, Internet Radio and so on. I also use the Winamp Now Playing Plug-In version 2.1.2 which interfaces with a PHP script on my website to create now-playing images, and a list of the past 10 songs I have listened to. The plug-in is rather old and it’s amazing it even still works with the current version of Winamp. It does seem to exhibit one rather odd and maddening behavior that has taken a while to track down.

The behavior manifests itself when playing a URL playlist stream (which are typically from Shoutcast) such as this one from Club 977 Music: http://www.club977.com/CLUB977HI.pls. When it first starts playing, the Now Playing Plug-in will always see the first song that is played and update the images and lists accordingly; however, it would not always recognize changes in the song title when a new song started playing. This was, of course, annoying. Over time I seemed to notice a pattern and today I tested it out and here are my findings:

  1. If I start Winamp with a classic skin such as Bento Classified or the standard classic skin that comes with Winamp, the plug-in will recognize song title changes as the stream plays. If I then switch to a different classic or modern skin while Winamp is running, it will continue to work.
  2. If I start Winamp with a modern skin (Winamp Modern, Bento, etc.), the plug-in will NOT recognize song title changes as the stream plays, even if I change to a classic skin.

So, the key is to always close Winamp with a classic skin loaded so that it will start with that skin and the Now Playing Plug-in will work. The work-around is simple enough but figuring out what was going on was a bit maddening. If you use this plug-in then, hopefully, you’ll find this useful.

Since Winamp does not provide tech support for 3rd-party plug-ins, I’m not going to bother to find out exactly why it acts this way. At least I now know how to keep it working. :)

9 thoughts on “Winamp’s Now Playing Plug-In, URL Streams, and Classic vs Modern Skins

  1. chromoplastic

    I there.

    I’m using Now Playing Plug-In in a little internet radio and it almost fits my needs, the only problem is (i think due to the plugin age) it as a problem with some of the tags it suports. Album, Artist, Track, Quality and Year are ok, but Comment outputs Year and others output nothing (i need comment really bad, because there’s some info i want to embed in it to enhance the functionality of the webpage).

    Do you have any solution to this? I’m asking to you because the plugin development is obviously dead and we seem to be one of the few using this plugin.

    Thx.

    Reply
  2. MarkRH Post author

    I mostly play MP3 files that have both the ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags with the ID3v2 tags written in ID3v2.3 ISO 8859-1 format for greatest compatibility with my MP3 players and so on. The songs with a comment in them do come across properly in $_POST[“Song”][$i][“Comment”] with the Year being in $_POST[“Song”][$i][“Year”].

    Might need to make sure you are getting the comment data out using:

    html_entity_decode(stripslashes(urldecode($_POST["Song"][$i]["Comment"])))

    Reply
  3. rare cd

    Thanks for this Blog !!
    I from Russia.
    Winamp is the best choice from media players !!
    I am use it every day on my computer. I listen more songs in format mp3.

    I have now version 5.56. !!

    Reply
  4. Broadcaster

    Our radio station FM 95.9 uses a Winamp Shoutcast as Remote Transmission from bars and concert halls. At the studio there is a PC with Winamp installed to receive the signal, making it the only listener. Latest Winamp 5.621 and latest Shoutcast v223 installed. Of course there is a streaming service that we pay only for that remote transmission apart from our regular website streaming audio. We start the receiver PC with Bios at a specified time and Winamp automatically loads Play URL at the receiver. So I ordered the the transmission guy to be already transmitting with Shoutcast before the studio PC starts. It works it picks the signal ok but if it disconnects for some reason it is neccesary to manually go and press play again to start receiving. Is there a way to control winamp remotely (plugin?) without compromising our network security as Teamviewer or DynDNS would do?

    Reply
    1. Mark Headrick Post author

      I use AjaxAMP to listen to my music library remotely. It also has a remote Winamp control feature as well. At one time their website wasn’t working right so I also have a copy of the installer here.

      It does have security features to provide basic authentication (for a single user) and you can allow/disallow IP addresses. Hope it helps. :)

  5. Broadcaster

    Hi Mark: I obtained a fixed IP (Public) from my CATV-ISP to use AJAXAMP. This ip address I gave to my fellow in another city who will broadcast using AJAX to a Winamp PC connected to my stereo (FM transmitter is the same) . In the main studio I have a Dlink router DI524 (Wireless and Ether cables) with PCs connected. The guy in the other city says he points the browser to the Public IP plus 5151 and gets denied, ask for password …. Do you think I have to open AJAX as virtual server within my router to allow traffic? IP adresss for PCs connected to the Dlink change continually so how will the system know which pc is the browser ponting at?

    Reply
  6. Mark Headrick Post author

    If it’s asking for a password, sounds to me like you have Ajaxamp configured for username/password authentication. I have a Linksys router connected to my system and within it’s Application/Gaming section I added an entry for Winamp on port 5151 to be routed/forwarded to my PC’s internal 192.X.X.X IP address which always stays the same.

    When I’m at my parent’s and browse to my PC’s public IP Address:5151 it does ask for a username/password since I have that set within Ajaxamp and then I’m able to browse my music library and stream whatever.

    If you do not want the username/password prompt, then you need to turn that off and allow/deny access based on IP addresses I guess.

    Reply
  7. Ashish

    You guys can also visit streambeats.ajaxtown.com . It does the streaming part at no additional costs…..Its free…. Plus also gives you an added option of sending a custom tweet from the same plugin…

    Reply