One of the coolest things about the music4dance website was the ability to use the embedded Spotify player to play the results of a search. For instance, I could go to the site and list all the songs that are listed as Slow Foxtrot and also tagged as genre rock and order them from slow to fast like this. Then I’d be able to play the songs in the embedded Spotify player.
Unfortunately, Spotify turned off the feature that allowed me to do this and I’ve been wracking my brain and searching the web for viable alternatives. You can still go to the play buttons for individual songs and play a 30-second sample, most songs in the catalog have a sample available thanks to either Apple or Spotify. This works pretty well if you’re using the site to find an idea for a song for a routine, which is pretty common. You can also use the Amazon button to click through to the Amazon site and play a sample there.
As an aside, if you buy the song from Amazon through a link from the site a small percentage of the purchase price goes to support the music4dance site. So, by all means, please do this whenever you find music that you want to purchase via the site. Another interesting aspect of Amazon’s program is that if you buy something during that session, even if it wasn’t something that I directly linked to from the site, music4dance still gets a (very small) slice of that purchase.
But I still want to be able to listen to a full playlist of songs from the site. I haven’t found a full replacement, but I have a partial fix in place now. I can generate a static playlist based on part of the music4dance catalog and embed players that point to the playlists. I’ve implemented this for each of the dances pages. So go ahead and browse through to try the embedded Spotify player for your favorite dance.
This solution also has the advantage that these playlists are available directly via Spotify. You can go to the music4dance Spotify Account and browse the public playlists there directly. Go ahead and follow the music4dance account or the individual playlists to make it easy for you to find them in the future.
If there are other song lists on the music4dance site that you are interested in seeing as Spotify Playlists, let me know by responding to this post or sending feedback and I’ll add them to my queue.
Microsoft is “retiring” its Groove Music Service (aka Xbox Music aka Zune). Why am I blogging about this? Partly it is because I just removed support from Groove from music4dance. Partly because that service was part of the reason that music4dance evolved the way that it did. But mostly it is because there is some overlap between music4dance users and Groove subscribers. Approximately 15% of users that expressed a music service preference checked the Groove Music box as one of the options. So for those of you that are Groove Music subscribers, please make sure to check out the Spotify migration option before the January 31st, 2018.
In any case, you’ll no longer see the Groove Music symbol in the play or purchase song options on the site. Spotify, iTunes and Amazon Music are still fully supported though, so most songs can be located in at least one of those catalogs.
The other statistic I noticed while checking on Groove usage is that only about 25% of registered music4dance users have expressed a preference for any music service. So if you’ve got a minute please head to your profile page and let me know which music services you use. This helps me prioritize features. And if you use a service that I’m not currently listing, please send me feedback directly and I’ll add it to the list of choices.
Most of the time that I use music4dance it’s on desktop computer, but I certainly want access to all of what it can do on my phone and tablet. And I have tried to take what user interface designers call a “Mobile First” approach whenever possible.
But I noticed a while back that there are a few things that just weren’t working as well on smaller devices as I would like. Several of them were on the core song list pages, which is particularly important.
So I finally took a couple of days off from other things and reworked these issues.
The Play Menu
The play menu (which is documented here) is now a modal which allows for bigger buttons and the ability to control the sample being played.
Dance and Tag Menus
I’ve also converted the dance and tag menus (documented here) to modals. This let me make the buttons bigger as well as adding some styling that I hope will let you navigate through options more easily. The large chunks of text in the old interface were hard to distinguish even for the person that wrote them.
Let me know what you think. Do you prefer the before or after? Are there other aspects of the site that you find difficult to use on a small device? Let me know by responding to this post or sending feedback.