Streaming Music

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Streaming your own music into Second Life

see also llSetParcelMusicURL

It is possible to stream your own music from your computer into SL. Unless you have a large amount of bandwidth available, using your own machine as a streaming server is not really an option. With around 5 users connected you would using most of the bandwidth of a standard DSL line.

Therefore to stream your own music you would require a streaming relay provider. You would send a single stream of music (around 6-8k/s) to the streaming relay provider. The relay would then stream multiple copies of the music into SL.

The two most common streaming server systems at the moment are a Shoutcast and Icecast. You can either set up the server software on one of your own servers or pay someone to host it. Due to the amount of bandwidth required for multiple streams, the price of streaming can vary. Try searching Google for a list of available hosting solutions.

Options for Mac users

Check out Nicecast for a way to set up your own music streams in OS X.

Sending your live stream to a streaming relay server

There are several methods for sending your music to a streaming relay provider.

Using WinAmp

Using the WinAmp MP3 player and the Shoutcast DSP plugin, you simply play the music you want with the encoder plugin active and configured. The encoder plugin connects to the relay and sends your live stream. The relay then streams the music onto the listeners.

Once WinAmp and the Shoutcast DSP plugin are installed:

  • Run WinAmp
  • Press CTRL P to bring up the preferences menu
  • In the plugins menu, click on DSP/Effect
  • Select Nullsoft ShoutCast Source DSP
  • Then click Close
  • You should then see the ShoutCast DSP Plugin appear.

  • Click on the Encoder tab you need to set the quality of the live stream (eg. MP3 - 64Kbit Stereo)
  • Click on the Output tab and enter the streaming relay information
  • Then click Connect in the Output tab to connect to the relay
  • Playing any music in WinAmp now will cause the music to be streamed to the relay.

As well as playing recorded music in Winamp, its possible to stream actual live music to a relay using the sound input/line in on your soundcard. If you are using the Line In option, you will need to set the encoder to use the soundcard's input rather than the WinAmp player.

Alternative to using WinAmp - SimpleCast

If you aren't using WinAmp to play the music files you can use SimpleCast. Again you play the music you want to stream via any sound application and have the SimpleCast program active at the same time. It encodes and streams any sound playing on the computer to the relay. SimpleCast is free to download and is fully functional (although after 4 hours is displays a message about registering).

Once SimpleCast is installed:

  • Run SimpleCast
  • Click Config
  • Under General Options, make sure your soundcard is selected
  • Close Config
  • Click Encoders
  • Click the Plus (+) icon
  • Choose the format for encoding (MP3/MP3Pro/OGG/Other)
  • Set the quality for the stream (suggest 64Kbit/s Stereo)
  • Click Server Details tab and enter the relay information
  • Click OK and close Encoders
  • Click the Play button for your encoder setup, and it should connect to the relay

Once SimpleCast is configured and encoder is running click Start in SimpleCast and then open your music application of choice and simply play the music as you would normally. The music will then be streamed to the relay. You should see the volume levels in SimpleCast moving, if not see the troubleshooting section at the bottom.

Settings for your streaming ShoutCast plugin or SimpleCast program The streaming relay provider will provide several bits of information which are required for the configuration of the streaming encoder (plugin or SimpleCast). These are IP Address, Port Number, Password and possibly Username (if you are using an IceCast server solution). These are simply entered into the configuration page of the ShoutCast plugin or SimpleCast.

Also within the configuration page or encoding page you will be able to set the format of the music stream (mp3/mp3pro/ogg/other) and the quality of the stream. The higher the quality the more bandwidth used and so the higer the cost. I've found 64kbit/s is perfect for mp3/ogg streams within SL.

TroubleShooting: I can't get any sound input/output into the encoder/plugin/program After configuring the encoder plugin or program you will need to do the following:

  • Open the Sound Mixer/Volume Control on your computer.
  • Click Options
  • Click Properties
  • Select Recording within Adjust Volume for...
  • Make sure either Stereo Mix, Wave Mix, What you Hear are selected (depends on your system and soundcard) and are turned up.
  • You should now see that the encoder plugin/program is getting a sound level.

(Thanks to Jamie Otis for providing a great deal of this information!)