Getting WMP11 to play mp3 links immediately
January 21, 2008 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Windows Media Player 9 used to begin playing an mp3 as soon as you clicked the link, so you didn't have to download the entire mp3 just to start hearing it. I can't seem to get WMP11 to do this - any ideas?

So I'm usually pretty good with The Google but after searching around I'm at a loss.

While many might scoff at my use of Windows Media Player over the years, I stuck with it because it was the only player that would immediately begin playing an MP3 in the player as soon as I clicked on an mp3 URL on a webpage. (eg, click on link to an mp3, WMP opens, buffers and then begins to play the audio after a second or two, even though the song is still being downloaded). This was great because I tend to like to 'preview' a song without having to wait and download the whole thing only to have to delete it if I didn't like it. This is even more useful on long songs (large filesize), such as DJ mixes, etc.

I recently upgraded to WMP 11, which now seems to take the quicktime route - clicking on an mp3 URL makes the browser go to a new page with an embedded player and doesn't begin playing until the song has fully downloaded.

Is there any way to get WMP11 to act like earlier versions? I'd like to click on a URL to an MP3, have the actual WMP11 application open and begin playing the audio in a 'streaming' fashion - playing as it downloads.

If this is not possible, does anyone know of any players that do function like this? I tend to plow through lots of unknown mp3 links quickly to weed out what I do/don't like. I can usually tell within the first 10-15 seconds of a song if it will be of interest, so this new method seriously slows me down.

Thanks in advance ... btw I'm on Windows XP if it matters.
posted by MarkLark to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a shot in the dark from someone who's no expert:

WMP 11 has an extraordinary amount of DRM stuff. Aside from the change in skin, it seems like that's pretty much the biggest thing they changed in 11. So I'd guess it has to do with DRM, i.e. the need to download an entire file to make sure the DRM is secure.

Just a guess. And I doubt there's any way to uninstall WMP 11 and install an earlier version without this problem, much less make WMP 11 act like earlier versions.
posted by koeselitz at 10:51 AM on January 21, 2008

Are you sure that it's not down to your browser settings? Can the embedded WMP plug-in be disabled somehow? Have you tried dragging the .mp3 link directly to the WMP playlist?

I don't know much about WMP, but if you can't make it work, Winamp and VLC most certainly can stream right away (at least using the "drag-to-playlist" method.)
posted by phax at 12:02 PM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: keoselitz - WMP11 does nothing related to DRM for mp3 files. The only files that can be DRM protected (in terms of WMP) are wma/wmv/asf files, and the DRM is defined in the header of the file, which does not require a complete download to parse. You can also uninstall WMP11 just like any other application, through Add or Remove Programs.

MarkLark - WMP11 did not remove this feature, I can stream mp3 urls with a single click just fine. There is likely a filetype association which is misconfigured and causing your issue. The first step I would do is to verify the File Types are associated with WMP11 properly.

In WMP, click on the arrow under Now Player, and select More Options... from the menu. Go to the File Types tab, and verify the state of MP3 audio file. Check it if it is unchecked, and uncheck it if it is checked (then hit OK, then go back and re-check it).

If that fixes it, great! If not, please email me (in profile) and I will make sure this gets sorted out.
posted by Diddly at 2:05 PM on January 21, 2008

Response by poster: Diddly - fantastic! What a ridiculous fix, though. :-)

The Mp3 filetype had always been checked. From Phax's suggestion I tried installing VLC, played around with it (couldn't get that to do what I wanted, either), and walked away for a bit. After reading your suggestion, I went back into filetype setup. Since VLC made itself the default mp3 player, 'Mp3' was no longer selected in WMP. I re-checked it, tried a link, and it's now playing immediately in the WMP application, just as I was looking to do.

Thanks for your help!
posted by MarkLark at 2:10 PM on January 21, 2008

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