Overview of Music in Second Life

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Second Life is a great place for people who enjoy listening to or creating music. People who like to listen to music will find a wide range of styles and unique venues to explore. Musicians can share their work with a global audience by performing live concerts in Second Life. It's also a unique opportunity for artists to directly connect with fans around the world, taking requests and communicating with them in a live environment. Just like playing a gig in Real Life, but without the hassle of carrying your gear around and travelling!

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How does this all work?

Land owners in Second Life can stream music to their parcels to be enjoyed by anyone who visits their land. If you own a parcel of land, you can set a "Music URL" specific for your land. This "Music URL" can be MPEG-audio (.mp2, .mp3) and Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) from streaming servers or a basic web server. Anyone visiting your land in Second Life will automatically hear the music you wish to share with them.

I'm a musician and want to perform my music live to an audience in Second Life. Where do I start?

There are many musicians who regularly have concerts in Second Life. This is done by sending a live music stream from your own computer to a Shoutcast or Icecast server, and mapping the server's stream URL to a parcel of land in Second Life. People who visit the parcel in Second Life will immediately hear the live music stream. Musicians are also typically logged into Second Life at the same time as they are performing, so they can chat with the audience between songs and even take requests! There are also many Residents in Second Life who run clubs and venues specifically to host and feature live musicians, so you don't necessarily have to own your own parcel of land to get started. When you are in Second Life, try joining and talking with people in the "Live Music Enthusiasts" Group to find venue opportunities.

I'm a DJ. Can I spin my music live to fans in Second Life?

Absolutely! It basically works the same way as described above for musicians. There are many popular clubs in Second life full of Residents who socialize and dance the night away, listening to live DJs who can take requests from the audience during their set. Or you could build your own club on your own land, creating not only the musical experience for your audience but also the entire virtual venue.

I'd like to listen to some live music going on in Second Life. How do I find it?

Log into Second Life, click the "Search" button, and under "Events" select the category "Live Music." Click the Search button and you'll immediately see a list of upcoming Live Music events and venues. Click on one you find interesting, and you can teleport right to it. Be sure you have have the "play streaming music" option turned on in our Audio Preferences (press control-P). When you are on a parcel of land that has streaming music, a small Music Control window will automatically pop up on your screen. Click the play button, and you're listening to music...live!

I need some technical help in streaming music to my land in Second Life. Where do I look for more information?

Please read below for many more details! Check out the following articles for more information on streaming media:

Additional Notes

Please keep in mind that the audio streams come directly to your Second Life viewer, they do not get streamed by Linden Lab's servers. None of this content comes via Linden Lab's servers at all, so performance issues with streams are completely outside of Linden Lab's control. Some streams reach a maximum number of listeners and then accept no more. Some have poor connections and may stutter or stop. Most internet radio stations will provide a playlist link (.pls) file, which will will trigger your local mp3 player to start up and stream music on your computer. In SecondLife you cannot use playlist file links, instead you require the specific address of the music stream. This information is contained within the playlist file, therefore if you open the playlist file in notepad or similar, you can see the actual mp3 or ogg music stream (usually listed as File1= or File2= in the file). For a list of some of the public available stations, try visiting Shoutcast's homepage and looking at the radio directory. A few important things to remember:

  • Legal Issues: If you choose to stream your own music into SL directly or using a streaming relay host, the content and any copyright/royalty fees and any other possible issues are your responsibility.
  • To hear streaming audio, remember that you need to enable the options on the Audio/Video tab of your Preferences (ctrl-P) in the Second Life client.
  • If there is an invalid URL in the "Music URL" field on the land, you won't get an error message in Second Life (you simply won't hear anything). Try double checking the stream in an external player such as Winamp or iTunes to make sure it is the correct URL and actually broadcasting, and that it has not run out of available streams for listeners.
  • You can only change the Music URL on land that you own or on group land when you have sufficient group abilities.
  • You can stream MPEG-audio (.mp2, .mp3) and Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) from streaming servers or a basic web server.
  • Streaming directly from an audio file URL (as opposed to a live streaming URL) will play the file once, but not loop it.
  • It is possible for a land owner to create a scripted object that anyone can use to change the streaming music URL. (See: llSetParcelMusicURL() )
  • Can't get your shoutcast stream to work? If your stream url looks like http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:8000/ remove the trailing slash: http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:8000 Stream URLs typically have a port number like :8000 in the example above. And remember, currently you cannot use playlist files (.pls/.m3u) in Second Life.
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