"Now playing" metadata
  • 28 Jul 2022
  • 6 Minutes to read
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"Now playing" metadata

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Providing "Now Playing" information for a live-stream allows listeners to see this information on the web player.

This information is typically available from play-out systems but needs to be pushed into our platform as songs change.

This article looks at supported ways of supplying and retrieving "Now Playing" metadata.

Send Now Playing data

Icecast stream

Icecast supports metadata to be sent alongside the stream if available. Typical streaming source clients can do this automatically, for example BUTT is supported via this method.

A script can also be used to manually call the Icecast metadata update endpoint:

http://<username>:<password>@<ip>:8000/admin/metadata?mount=/<mountpoint>&mode=updinfo&song=<songname>

The username, password, ip and mountpoint values must match the values assigned to your stream. This information is available on the "Setup" tab of the stream's page.

Example:

Screenshot 2022-07-28 at 14.21.51.png

curl http://source:examplepassword@1.2.3.4:8000/admin/metadata?mount=/123_primary&mode=updinfo&song=ACDC+Back+In+Black

<iceresponse>
  <message>Metadata update successful</message>
  <return>1</return>
</iceresponse>

Icecast notes

  • The songname value should be in + delimited values with artists first, for example: ACDC+Back+In+Black. Updates may fail on invalid characters or incorrectly formatted values.
  • Important: The metadata updates must be sent from the same IP address that is sending the audio stream, otherwise Icecast will reject it with this error message:
<iceresponse>
  <message>Mountpoint will not accept this URL update</message>
  <return>1</return>
</iceresponse>

RCS Zetta

We provide native support to receive "Now Playing" metadata from the RCS Zetta radio automation software. When current song information changes, it sends XML data via an HTTP POST to a remote server. See this article for details on setting up Zetta.

Jazler Radiostar

We provide native support to receive "Now Playing" metadata from the Jazler Radiostar 2 radio automation software. When current song information changes, it uploads an XML file to a remote FTP server. Our support department can assist customers with configuring their Jazler instance to perform this FTP upload.

Simian Pro

Simian Pro can be configured to send "Now Playing" metadata to our platform.

RadioBOSS

RadioBoss can be configured to send "Now Playing" metadata to our platform.

Under the "Broadcast" section of the RadioBOSS configuration used to send the Icecast stream, use the "Metadata" panel to configure sending the song metadata.

See the RadioBOSS manual

HTTP POST with query parameters

Every stream has a password protected HTTP endpoint where this information can be pushed to manually or by external automation tools. Data can be passed as URL query parameters:

  • event : Required. The type of event that was triggered which indicates roughly the type of content being played. Accepts any of these values: song, ad, news, interview.
  • artist : Name of the artist playing the current song, or name of interviewer, news reader or related vocals. Example: AC/DC
  • title : Title of the current song, or topic of interview or any other information. Free form text limited to 50 characters. Example: Back in Black
  • duration : Duration of this event if known in advance, for example length of song. Specified in seconds, for example: 185 (3:05 playing time)

Only the event field is required. The endpoint must be called using an HTTP POST method on port 80. Query parameters may need to be escaped to ensure a valid URL, see this page.

cURL Example:

curl --user USER:PASSWORD \
     --write-out '%{http_code}' \
     --request POST \
     "http://--hostname--/metadata/capture?event=song&artist=AC%2FDC&title=Back%20In%20Black&duration=255"

The USER, PASSWORD and --hostname-- values need to requested from our support team.

HTTP POST with JSON content

The same endpoint can also accept input as JSON data in the HTTP BODY with the same fields. Escaping is not required in this case:

cURL Example:

curl --user USER:PASSWORD \
     --write-out '%{http_code}' \
     --request POST \
     --header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
     --data '{ "event":"song", "artist":"AC/DC", "title":"Back In Black", "duration":255 }' \
     "http://--hostname--/metadata/capture"

Displaying & retrieving Now Playing data

Web player

As long as valid metadata is being received from any input method, our embedded player will display this to users while they are listening to the live-stream.

HTTP endpoint with JSON content

To integrate "Now Playing" elsewhere, the metadata can be retrieved using an HTTP GET to our edge network:

cURL Example:

curl --request GET \
     https://edge.iono.fm/xmetadata/<stream_name>

This will return the latest available metadata for the specified stream as a JSON object with all the data fields as documented in the previous section.

Example contents:

{
  event: "song",
  dt: "2016-08-12T14:51:16-0200",
  artist: "AC/DC",
  title: "Black in Black",
  duration: 185
}

This endpoint is useful when integrating live streams delivered on our platform into custom mobile applications or other platforms or players.

Automated album artwork lookup

Our web player can display automated artwork based on song data.

When updated metadata is received it will look for album art using the current now playing data.

If it cannot find any valid album art, it displays the default image associated with the stream.

Prevent album loopkup for non-music segments

During non-music segments there won't be any valid album artwork to lookup. If the station passes default information (like the station name or segment name) during these broadcast segments our player will still lookup artwork and cause irrelevant images to be displayed.

To prevent this, the playout system can send blank strings during these segments or as it's "default" values when no song information is available. It may be necessary to send one space character instead of any empty string to trigger this behaviour.

The image will revert to your standard stream logo and the "Now Playing" string on the player will read "Live stream" during these segments.

Prevent ad names from being displayed or loading artwork

When the playout system is broadcasting an ad, some playout systems will send this data as Now Playing data also.
To prevent our player from displaying the ad name to end users or using it to load artwork, add the word "ad" anywhere standalone in the titles of your ad creatives.

For example, all these titles will be effective to ignore the ad:

"Ad name", "ad name", "name ad", "name - ad", "name - ad - more details", "AD NAME"

​The matching is not case-sensitive, you can use "ad", "Ad", "AD", "aD".

If the word "ad" is not a standalone word in the title if will not be detected and ignored. ex:

"Ad: name", "Advertisement", "AdName"

Implementation notes

Please take note of these items when using this endpoint in your own players and client applications:

  • All fields except “event" may be empty based on input from the station.
  • We reserve the right to change the contents or location of this response in the future to allow extending it with more data. Clients will be notified of any changes to allow time to update any dependencies.
  • Client polling intervals must never be less than 15 seconds, 30 seconds recommended. We retain the right to rate-limit and/or disable access to any applications that have higher polling rates to prevent unnecessary overheads on our servers. Rate limited requests will respond with the "429 Too Many Requests” HTTP status code.
    -While metadata input is offline and not being received from the station, requests will respond with the “404 Not Found” status code.
  • The endpoint can return HTTP "304 Not Modified" responses if the "If-Last-Modified” header is used in requests. ETag headers are also available. Clients are urged to make use of this information to ensure low overheads.
  • Responses will include the CORS header "Access-Control-Allow-Origin: *" to enable direct consumption from Javascript clients.
  • Clients are recommended to only poll for this information while a listener is actively listening to the stream.