subtitled: home bar jukebox and media computer – part 2
when i last left off, i was going to build a jukebox by building an enclosure for my touchscreen.
well, I haven’t got that started yet, so i thought i’d take a detour into the story of how i got the jukebox running on my newly enclosed pc.
The touch screen interface is awesome and works great with my 15″ ELO touchscreen purchased off eBay.
screenshot of albumplayer user interface in action:
Album player has a nice built in music database that allows you edit all the song/album data including all the basics: genre, artist, year, album cover, etc.
The extensive database collection editor allows you to create custom collections that you can use for grouping, browsing, playback, etc.
You can browse/search albums grouped pretty much however you can think of based upon album artist.The search functionality is complete and works really well, but it isn’t too pretty. This is supposed to be upgraded in the next version, so I figured I could live with that one con to the software.
My biggest selling point was that Album player is the only jukebox software I could find that was playlist based. I wanted to be able to load a pre-built playlist and then allow my guests or myself to add tracks to the ‘queue’ and then go back to the playlist.
I got albumplayer to do this really easy by creating a custom collection, then in the random play options, you can choose what custom collections are in the pool for randomization.
For example, I wanted rat pack music to play randomly and continuously when nobody is picking music. So i created a ‘rat pack’ custom collection and added all my rat pack albums to it. I chose this collection as the random play collection, and now it plays random songs from those albums continuously. Users can still browse through all the albums on the jukebox and choose anything they want, and it will be added to the cue as the next song. once all the user’s chosen music is done playing, it automatically picks a song out of the random pool (rat pack in this case).
The random play adds a song to the queue whenever it starts the last song in the queue.
You can choose multiple collections to be put into the random pool, as well.
Importing music into the jukebox was really simple. Just hit the “scan for new music” and it scans the chosen directory for anything that hasn’t been already added to the albumplayer database. Then you can import anything new. Albumplayer gets album/song information from whatever source you set, filename/directory structure or mp3 tags. The cover is automatically found and added from either amazon or whatever local location you set. You can always go back and edit any of the album info. There’s even a handy google images link to help look for album covers.
Here’s a screenshot of the album info edit interface from my install:
I’m not going to get into all the rest of the features here, read about them on the albumplayer site. Or, better yet, since the demo is free, you can install and play with it yourself. I’ll just say it does everything i can think of that i would want a jukebox to do.
I always choose to import my music based upon the mp3 tags since I spent a good amount of time going through all my mp3’s and making sure they all have the correct tags attached to all the songs/albums. The best tool I have found to do that is called Tag & Rename. It allows mass mp3 tag edits, adding tags automatically from directory names and file names, and mass renaming and reorganizing of files based upon tags.
So now i have monitor one as the touchscreen displaying the jukebox interface. but, i can’t just let monitor 2, which is actually hooked up to the projector, just sit idle, now can I?
luckily, there is a plugin for album player called CD Art Display which gets a feed from album player and displays the album cover along with other player info like song title, artist, album name, time remaining, etc. All the normal mp3 player display info.
There are a lot of pre-made skins that you can use with CD Art Display, but i’m a picky type and wanted to go along with the vegas theme in the k2 lounge.
I ended up with the following screenshot taken from my projector:
The album cover takes up a huge portion of the screen, and has that nifty reflection that is all the web 2.0 rage these days. The song title, artist, and album info all show up in the sands sign marquee to make it look like that is currently performing artist, which it is. pretty slick, eh?
well, it gets better.
CD Art Display has a play time progress bar that fills in as the song progresses, so I made the progress bar look like one of the neon tubes going along the bottom of the sign that gets filled in as the song progresses. the time remaining is displayed just below the marquee.
I can already hear the masses screaming “holy crap! how did you make that look so awesome? and can i have the skin you made?”
I didn’t actually make a skin, all i did was use the built-in skin editor on the default skin that came with the app.
Here’s a quick step-by-step:
- Start with an awesome photo
- work some photoshop magic to make it into a wallpaper size image
- work even more photoshop magic to erase the names in the bottom marquee and move the frank sinatra, dean martin, etc names down to the bottom. then stretch out the top marquee so you can fit the mp3 info in there.
- save that image and use it as your wallpaper
- mess around with the built-in skin editor to move all the elements around till you have them where you want
- change the colors/font in the editor so that the album info matches the sign marquee letters
- change foreground/background colors of the progress bar to match one of the sign marquee’s neon tubes
- bask in your high level of awesome
another fun little feature of albumplayer is that it has last.fm functionality built into it, so it automatically updates your profile as you play music. Fun way to keep track of what is being played on your jukebox. Check out what is hot on my jukebox at my last.fm k2 lounge profile.
Well, that’s how i have my jukebox set up.
Next up, the physical jukebox enclosure for the touchscreen…