how to stream your music into Second Life — six software source clients compared

You can stream your music into Second Life using the same technology as internet radio. This requires a Shoutcast source client, which sends your music to a streaming server, which subsequently rebroadcasts your music to all the listeners in Second Life.

This post lists the leading choices in Shoutcast/Icecast source clients. This source client is the piece of software that runs on your computer, connecting the music you play with the streaming server.

The leading tools are contrasted and compared. After reading this post, you should be prepared to choose a streaming source client that meets your needs.

In this previous post, I explained how your music can be streamed into Second Life using the same technology as internet radio. I also explained that it required a Shoutcast source client, which sends your music to a streaming server, which subsequently rebroadcasts your music to all the listeners in Second Life.

This post lists the leading choices in Shoutcast/Icecast source clients. This source client is the piece of software that runs on your computer, connecting the music you play with the streaming server.

What it does

The Shoutcast/Icecast streaming source client takes audio input from a program or hardware device, encodes it into a media stream, and sends the media stream on to a streaming server. Each step of this process requires configuration, and each program differs in the specifics of where you may find these settings. However, the settings themselves are fairly universal.

Music source

The input to the source client may come from a media player such as iTunes, Winamp, or Windows Media Player, or it may also come from a hardware device connected to your computer — such as a mixer connected to a sound card or even an integrated laptop microphone. Your chosen source client will present a list of possible inputs from which you can choose to broadcast.


Some source clients may be able to encode into multiple media formats. However, for compatibility with Second Life, you will need to use mp3. The Second Life viewer on your listeners’ end does not support WMA, AAC, Ogg, or other formats. Further, you will find that if you try to use the most pristine mp3 encoding settings, your listeners will experience skips in the stream. It is best not to use anything higher than 44.1 kHz, 64 kbps, stereo. You should be able to find these settings grouped together.

Specifying the stream server

Lastly, you will need to specify the Shoutcast/Icecast streaming server to which the source client will connect. This will be in the form of a URL or an IP Address, a Port number, and a Password. Some streaming clients allow you to build a ‘library’ of servers, each with their own URL, port, and password. This is handy if you regularly perform at a number of venues. Each venue will have its own server. This allows you to, once configured, merely select a given venue’s server from a list, and have all the values set at once. If your source client does not have this feature, you will need to manually enter this data every time for each venue.


For each listed software streaming client, I list the price, where you can obtain it, what platform it runs upon, and other attributes. After reading this post, you should be ready to choose a streaming source client that meets your needs.

Before I list the choices, I will first define what the various attributes mean.

Operating System (OS) – This tells you what operating system the streaming source client is compatible with. There are choices for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and other UNIX-like OSs.

Plugin vs. Standalone – Some Shoutcast/Icecast source clients are ‘plugins’ , which operate inside of other programs. An example is the Shoutcast DSP Plugin, which installs ‘into’ Winamp as a host. Other source clients run in their own window, providing all needed functionality themselves.

Record functionality – Some source clients will also record (or ‘archive’) your stream. The stream is not only sent on to the streaming server, but it also is written to disk as an mp3 file. This allows you to play back your stream at a later date.

Presenting the candidates

butt (broadcast using this tool)

This relative newcomer provides all the functionality that you would need or want. The fact that it is free, and runs on almost any computer, makes it a great choice.

Winamp with Shoutcast DSP Plugin

This solution has been the mainstay in the Windows arena, mostly due to its price.


For years, this has been the standard in the Mac arena. Full featured.


This selection comes from a company with a full line of professional internet radio tools.

Reaper with Shoutcast plugin

Reaper is a full-functioned DAW, from a company founded by the guy who first invented Shoutcast technology. Extremely powerful, with complexity to match.


Both EdCast and its precursor Oddcast are from the same developer, along with a number of other useful music tools (including a stream recorder).

The envelope, please

If you are just getting started in streaming your music into Second Life, I recommend that you start with butt. Silly name, I know. However, it is free, does everything you want it to do, and runs the same way on any computer you’re likely to have. Plus, it is an open source program, meaning that its future is pretty much assured.

Any of the other choices would be fine as well. They all work pretty much hiccup-free. If your needs are unique, there may be some reason to prefer another over butt.

Myself, I use Reaper with the Shoutcast plugin. Reaper is a full-featured music production DAW like Pro Tools, Logic, Sonar, etc. In fact, it was my DAW before I started streaming into Second Life. The fact that Reaper is from the guy the guy that invented internet radio (as well as Winamp, Gnutella, and other modern necessities) holds strong sway with me.

Get going!

You really can’t go wrong with any of the above. Just grab one, grab the free Second Life viewer, create a free Second Life account, log on, and start performing for the eager Second Life audiences!

Questions? Comments? Let me know if there is any specific aspect of being a Second Life musician that you’d like me to cover!

This is but one article in a series on opportunities for musicians in Second Life. Further articles will cover resources, technical issues, groups and organizations, revenue streams, publicity outlets, and more. Next up, however, will be a step-by-step guide to installing and configuring butt, and testing your stream inworld. I hope you join us in this journey to a strange and wonderful new world. In the meantime, you may wish to do some early exploring on your own — it is free to get started! Just click the link below:

flawless digital copy? maybe!

In a previous post, I bemoaned a problem i was encountering with some supposedly identical CDs. I had a pile of CDs from a project, which should have had identical tracks on each — but ripping and comparing the resultant files yielded miscompares.

After collecting further data, it appears that perhaps the miscompares are explainable. As it so happens, one of the people doing the duplication did not understand the differences between .wav, .mp3, .wma, etc. file formats. While all the CDs were audio CDs, they were burned at different times, some having been ripped as mp3, or as wma, or as…

Perhaps the best news is that I was able to locate proper mastered versions of each track that had not been through this rough treatment. I procured copies of each track as they came from the mastering house.

Even better — the process seems very durable. After sequencing the tracks, I uploaded them to our store on BandCamp. This upload was in the form of .wav files. I then downloaded these files in .flac format. Then I used MediaMonkey to convert the .flac files to .wav files. Finally, I used ExactAudioCopy‘s built in .wav file comparison tool to compare the original files to the ones procured from BandCamp. Again, these were uplloaded as .wav, converted to .flac by BandCamp, downloaded as .flac, then converted back to .wav. In each case, the files’ audio portion matched exactly.

So I again believe in the integrity of digital audio. Woo-hoo!

embed an mp3 player in your wordpress blog post with WPaudio

One can put an mp3 file into a blog post, creating a clickable link. However, clicking this link will navigate to a new page with the viewer’s system’s default application for listening to mp3 files. It would be preferable to embed a working audio player right into the blog post.
Fortunately, this is readily achievable. There are a number of media players that extend the functionality of blogging platforms to this end. This post describes how to install my favorite such player into a WordPress blog.

I just installed an audio player plugin – WPaudio WordPress MP3 Player Plugin. This is what it looks like:
[wpaudio url=”″]

Here’s how to enhance your WordPress blog to support this player:

  1. Log in to the WordPress Site Administration panel
  2. From the Dashboard, select Plugins > Add New
  3. In the search box, enter ‘wpaudio’ and click the ‘Search Plugins’ button
  4. The search should return ‘WP Audio Player’ select ‘Install’ for this list entry
  5. When the plugin description page opens, click the red ‘Install Now’ button
  6. Once the install completes, click ‘Activate Plugin’

That’s all there is to it! Your blog now provides embedded mp3 players.

flawless digital copy? nonsense!

In preparing to relrelease a past album, I discover that CD is an imperfect means of copying music from one point to another. Why? I don’t yet know

Well, I’m preparing to rerelease an album by the Lee Thomas Band. We first released this about a decade ago, on our own little indie label Nome Zone.

In the process, I am trying to find the best copy I can of the original tracks. I have located seven CDs, encompassing two different sequences of the same twelve songs. While a couple of these may be examples of work-in-progress during the mastering stage, most of them should have bit-for-bit copies of the exact same .wav files. Unfortunately, such is not the case.

I guess there is quite a bit about .wav files upon CD that I do not understand.

In order to eliminate the issues caused be flaws on the CDs themselves, I employed Exact Audio Copy to extract the .wav files. This program supposedly reads and rereads the tracks until each sector is extracted without CRC errors. Yet there are still differences between almost every extracted track. ouch.

So I will need in the end to audition them all to determine which are the best copies of each song. Then I’ll submit them for release. Watch these pages for future info.

In the meantime, you can listen to a low-bitrate MP3 version of an example at our ReverbNation site. Enjoy!