Update 7/13/09: It looks like the source I was using to find music links for this tool is no longer in service, so this approach may no longer work.
You may have seen some of the sites that Tumblr users recently made to showcase the music they’re listening to. There’s Zak.FM, Radio.Jstn, and my own LastButNot.com. When I made LastButNot back in November, I pieced it together using Yahoo! Pipes, and Tumblr since I didn’t have the programming skills to create something from scratch. This morning, I made some adjustments so that anyone can make a similar site in a matter of minutes. The site automatically updates based on new songs you listen to. You can point friends to the site, and they can listen to your personal radio station as a playlist. If you’d like a site like this, read on. All I ask is that you either reblog this with a link to your site once it’s up or link to it in the comments.
What you’ll be creating is an automated music tumblelog. The site will monitor the songs you’re listening to in iTunes or other popular MP3 players. When you listen to a new song that hasn’t been posted to your music tumblelog, the site will automatically scour the internet for a MP3 matching that new track. If it finds one, it will be posted to your site as a link with artist and track info. Visitors to the site can listen to individual tracks or play up to 15 songs per page as a playlist. Using Tumblr’s theme editor, you can skin the site with any design you like.
You’ll need a few things before we get started:
- Last.fm Account: sign up for a Last.fm account. Last.fm is an amazing social music site, but you probably already knew that.
- Last.fm Audioscrobbler: Download Last.fm’s desktop software and install it on your computer. This little piece of software connects to iTunes and most other desktop MP3 players and transmits the songs you’re listening to back to Last.fm. We’ll use that information to program your personal radio station.
- Tumblr Account: Create a new Tumblr account. This will be the site that hosts your music. I would recommend using a new account rather than your current Tumblr so you don’t spam your followers with every song you listen to. The music tumblelog is meant to be enjoyed as a destination site, not in the Tumblr Dashboard.
Once you have those three things, just follow these simple steps to build your music tumblelog:
- Visit My MP3 Tumblelog page on Yahoo! Pipes
- Enter your Last.fm user name and click “Run Pipe”. If no tracks appear, the tool could not find matching MP3’s from the web. You need to wait until some appear in order to post them to Tumblr.
- Once some tracks appear in Pipes, select “More Options > Get as RSS” and copy the RSS URL.
- Login to your new Tumblr account and select “Account > Feeds” from the tab at the top of the page.
- Add the Pipes RSS feed as “links with summaries” to start importing your music.
- Copy the embed code from section “B” on the Yahoo! Media Player page and paste that line of code into the “description” field on your new Tumblr’s theme Customize page.
- There is no step 7. You’re done!
Last.fm will track your listening habits. Pipes will find MP3’s from the web matching the new songs you listen to. Tumblr will import the songs. People can play the songs on your page using the Yahoo! Media Player. The only issue I’ve noticed is that the sites hosting the MP3’s might eventually remove the MP3 file your site links to. Fortunately, the Yahoo! Media Player handles this gracefully. If you try to play a MP3 that’s no longer available, the player will skip to the next song after a few seconds.
Remember to please reblog or comment with a link to your new site.
Update: Based on some great feedback from Justin, I made an alternative version of this that allows you to be more selective in terms of which tracks feed into your music site. See instructions here.