So…if musicians, publishers, and businesses alike incorporate audio into WordPress sites, why is there no one plugin that is the clear winner to satisfy a world of listening?
The answer? Because there are now platforms, not plugins, that are delivering audio content around the web.
At the time of this writing, one recognizable and arguably popular WordPress plugin, WordPress AudioPlayer, was last updated in January of 2010 (v2.0). Still functional today (2012), the player is easy to customize, and can work (and look) great for podcasts and quick embedding of audio using shortcodes – its a long-time faithful for WordPress.
But it’s Flash-based, and Adobe Flash technology doesn’t work on iOS/mobile devices, something every web designer needs to know and take into consideration.
Free plugins, like the HTML5 jQuery Audio Player, and premium ones like the Fullscreen Music Player already aim to address this issue. But the absence of an all-in, clear winner, I believe, is in large part due to new direction of sharing in general. YouTube did it with video and the guys at SoundCloud are doing it with sound.
SoundCloud is a “social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.”
And share them, quite literally, indeed. The power, use on the web, is in embeddable widgets which make sounds playable on any device from any site. It’s way more than a plugin – it’s a platform. Similarly, share sounds to Facebook and Twitter, or send them by email.
It’s a world with music.
The direction of sharing isn’t limited to clicking “Share” and telling others. It’s a two-way sharing street: once sounds are published (i.e. initially “shared” by the artist/creator), comments and thoughts can be left by anyone for every moment of sound, right in the player. It’s comments and even feedback to the publisher/artist. Do you like that part of the song? Leave your comment, right there at 2 minutes 17 seconds. Such social activity can also be turned off for those who prefer distraction-free, visual listening.
Sounds are shared from just about anywhere, too. You can capture a voice, moment or music in seconds with the mobile apps and share them with the world just as quickly, in near real-time.
“So, what about professionally recorded, high-quality music, fashioned from hours in the studio or by a choir?”
That’s shared too, and depending on what you want, SoundCloud could be the way to share it on your site. With apps (check out the app gallery)
In their words
SoundCloud was born out of the frustrations that founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss felt when they couldn’t easily send and receive large music files over the web. They decided to build a platform that would not only solve this problem, but that would enable any audio creators to collaborate on projects, receive feedback on their work and ultimately share their creations with anyone, anywhere. Their aim is to unleash the sound creator in everyone.
Feel the heartbeat.