Saturday, August 25, 2007

Enjoying Music on your Land in Second Life

I feel that I am making a fool of myself even by attempting to create a Guide to Second Life, as I could make no claim to the title of 'Expert' in SL. Nonetheless, I hope to be able to share some useful information to other 'players' from time to time.

I had intended to create an organised little 'Guide' on this site, but I have changed my mind. I simply am going to write about random topics as they arise in my own SL experiences. I always can organise a proper Guide later...

When exploring Second Life, one will encounter music. There are live concerts, of course, but often music is 'tied to the land'. Moving from one parcel to another, the music may change radically. It is the owner of the land usually who sets the music.

I was a little unhappy to discover that music usually is 'streaming media' from a radio station, complete with the awful advertisements and announcements that emanate from these stations. What interested me, however, was the potential to choose radio stations from any part of the globe.

I dislike radio intensely, mainly because I would rather choose my own musical selections than have another person do it for me. Whether it is classical instrumental, opera, punk, heavy metal, French pop, Arab classical or Arab pop music, I far rather would listen to my own selections. Finding a radio station that happens to be playing a song or opera that I truly love personally is rather like finding a diamond in a rubbish bin. That having been said, some are better than others.

Paul Ge, an artist who makes musical instruments in SL, was the individual who gave me instructions on how to bring music to my own land. There may be other stations that provide URLs that can be used in SL, but there is one that actually is totally compatible with Second Life. That station is:


This site contains links to thousands of international internet radio stations. If you wish to find a particular genre of music, perform a search on the site and all stations that air that type of music should be listed.

When you have found a station that appeals to you, double-click on the 'Tune In!' button. It will open a download. Choose the 'Save' option and a file containing the URL of the station will be downloaded to your computer.

This is only the first step, however. You now need to perform a little trick that will allow you to see the URL and use it in SL.

First find the file. It will be in a .pls format. Do not open it. Instead, rename it by changing the .pls to .txt. You will see a prompt warning you that the file may become unplayable if you rename it. Disregard that, as you actually will not need to play the file, but simply wish to read it! When the file has been converted to a text file, open it and find the URL.

It may be obvious to many but not to every one that the URL will consist of everything from the http:// beginning to the last number before TITLE. Highlight and copy that URL, then go to your land in Second Life.

Right-click on your land to access the 'About Land' option and choose that. Now choose the 'Media' tab. In the Media window, you will find a box for the URL of any internet radio station that plays MP3 files. Paste the URL of the station you have chosen into that box. (You need to use the pull-down Edit menu found on the top of your SL screen in order to use a 'paste' option. If you right-click on the URL box, you will not be given any options to 'paste' or to do anything else for that matter.)

When you close the 'About Land' menu, you should hear the music from the radio station you have chosen. To change the station, simply perform the same steps again. Once you have downloaded the URLs of stations that you like, you simply can create a little file for yourself that contains the URLs of a number of internet stations that you like.

The description of a station sometimes can be a little misleading, however. I found a number of French pop stations but most of them alternated French music with American or British songs. The two Arab stations I found were far better in that respect.

Last night, however, having discovered nothing of interest on any popular music station, I changed my URL to classical opera. Much to my delight, the station played a couple of arias I actually liked.

I sat on the loveseat in the little alcove in my own castle with a cheerful blaze in the marble fireplace and listened to opera as the sun set outside my window. It was an interesting experience. I actually felt as though I were at home, relaxing at the end of a long, difficult day. (Well, I was at home in RL, attempting to relax at the end of a long, difficult day, but my real surroundings were not quite as conducive to the creation of a sublime state of mind in many respects. I definitely do not have a lady's bower in a beautiful little castle and the only window in my little room is obscured by a rather vital but ancient and unwieldy air conditioner. In any case, the only view I would have from here would be the back of a fence...)

On my land in Second Life, I can change not only the radio station but my surroundings. I could return the castle itself to my pocket (or inventory) and replace it with a magnificent pool or hot tub. The worst problem in Second Life is 'prim' limitations. Each parcel of land is allotted a specific number of objects or 'prims'. A small parcel of land usually is allocated 117 prims. The smallest castle takes about half of that. One or two pieces of furniture, depending on the way in which they were made, can take as many prims as the house itself. On 512 land, I either can have my loveseat and a fireplace or a bed in the bedroom upstairs.

I could not decorate both floors of the castle properly with the furniture I own on a 512 lot. Unfortunately, the furniture I have is very prim-extravagant. There are entire sets of furniture that would not consume as much of a 'prim allotment' as the loveseat I chose for myself. Before one ever owns any land, one wonders why ordinary people with little ambition where real estate is concerned ever would need more than a small lot. The answer is simple: prim limits.

Incidentally, that is where an artist like Wolves Bain is to be admired for his concern for the small landowner. His castles are brilliant because he always uses the fewest number of prims in creating them. They therefore are both beautiful and extremely practical. (His castles include doors that can be locked as well.)

Even if one cannot use all one's furniture at once, one can store it in one's inventory indefinitely. Inventory is unrestricted. I could own a thousand castles with lavish furnishings for all of them, even if I did not own even the smallest parcel of land in Second Life. The difficulty there is in FINDING any of them in my inventory... Where free items are available everywhere, inventory soon can become quite unmanageable.

This problem does have a solution: an inventory manager. Perhaps I will explore this topic another day...

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