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:
- 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.
- 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.