Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to Stream Full-Length Songs from Lala

I've used several online music download stores in the past and I've found that Lala.com has some distinct advantages over competitors like iTunes and Amazon. For one thing, many full MP3 albums are significantly cheaper at Lala, often $7.49 for albums that cost $9.99 elsewhere. What's more, Lala allows webmasters to embed a music player in any web page (for example, an album review) that allows web site visitors to stream full-length tracks right there on the spot, for free. The Lala player allows one play-through per song and then you're asked to sign up for the service and pay for additional streams or downloads.

This is a great feature. In fact, I often find the embedded mini-player to be a better way to try out music than loading up the full Lala web site. With that in mind, this post will show you an easy way to find and play full-length streaming tracks from Lala, without having to create an account at Lala.com.

Option 1: Play tracks from Lala right here

Below you'll find a form with Artist and Album search fields. Just enter an artist and album of your choice and click "Load tracks from Lala." An embedded music player will appear with the corresponding songs (keep in mind that not all artists are carried by Lala). Click the Play button to stream full-length tracks.


Option 2: Create your own Lala player

You can save your own copy of the custom Lala player seen above. Just create a text file called lala.html (use Notepad in Windows or TextEdit in MacOS). Then copy and paste the following lines into the file. (When you hover over the code below, a "copy to clipboard" icon will appear.)

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
<head>
<title>Lala Player</title>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.3.2/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.lala.com/external/widgets/LalaWidgets.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
function loadLala() {
  $('div#embedLalaPlaylistWidget').remove();
  lala._loaded = false;
  $('<div id="embedLalaPlaylistWidget"></div>').appendTo('div#lalaSeparator');
  $('div#embedLalaPlaylistWidget').attr('widgetArtistName', $('input#widgetArtistName').attr('value'));
  $('div#embedLalaPlaylistWidget').attr('widgetAlbumName', $('input#widgetAlbumName').attr('value'));
  $('div#embedLalaPlaylistWidget').attr('widgetPartnerId', 'blogfeld');
 lala.onload();
}
$(document).ready(function() {
  $('input#widgetArtistName').select();
  $('input#widgetArtistName').focus();
});
</script>
</head>
<body>
<form method="get" action="#" onsubmit="loadLala();return false">
<label for="widgetArtistName">Artist keywords</label>
<input name="widgetArtistName" id="widgetArtistName" value="" /><br />
<label for="widgetAlbumName">Album keywords</label>
<input name="widgetAlbumName" id="widgetAlbumName" value="" />
<input type="submit" value="Load tracks from Lala" />
</form>
<div id="lalaSeparator"><hr /></div>
</body>
</html>

You can now open the HTML file in your web browser to easily find and play songs from Lala.

Replaying a Song

As mentioned, the Lala player will normally allow only one play per song. However, if you need to replay a track (for example, the phone rang and you missed it the first time) you've got a couple of options.

  1. Load up the Lala player in a different web browser (for example, Firefox instead of Internet Explorer)
  2. or Delete your browser cookies for the domain lala.com, then refresh the web page and load the tracks again
  3. or Enable Privacy Mode in your web browser, then load the Lala player. (Instructions are available for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari.) You'll need to disable and then re-enable Privacy Mode to play the song again.

If you like the tracks, definitely consider signing up for Lala. So far, iTunes and Amazon haven't matched Lala's MP3 prices or full-length streaming offerings.

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