[icecast] IceCast Questions.... ("id3 tags, mp3, Ogg, etc)

Michael Smith msmith at xiph.org
Fri Jul 18 03:06:11 UTC 2003

On Friday 18 July 2003 11:16, Ethan wrote:
> Hello, I'm a long time user of Icecast. We currently run 12 streams on
> Icecast 1.x (Mp3). I plan to expand this to 20 streems soon. They are all
> low bitrate community service.
> Recently some friends and myself came across the thought of actually
> generating our own content. Music, talk, etc.
> I've been running the ideas of the automation setup that would be required
> to do such a thing. I used to have a low power FM station (until the FCC
> said stop) so I have some knowldge of doing real audio. Plus someone
> involved on the project has commercial station experience.
> Here are some of the issues I am trying to contemplate, and how to solve
> them with Icecast:
> First:
> Ogg/Vorbis. I've always avoided it because it is still non standard. I
> know the mp3 capable Icecast is depreciated. Is Ogg/Vorbis supported in
> Windows Media Player 7-8 or newer? By this, I mean either it immediately
> works or automatically downloads the codec. Most internet users won't ever
> bother to manually download and install codecs. I realize the later Winamp
> would support it. RealPlayer? The Apple QuickTime player?

Icecast2 is fully mp3 capable as well, calling 1.x "the mp3 capable icecast" 
indicates you didn't realise that. It also supports other (better) formats as 
well, of course... By the way, you were looking for the word "deprecated", 
not "depreciated" (which is a real word, but means something entirely 
different). So anyway, you can use mp3 AND vorbis simultaneously with 

vorbis is supported in WMP by external plugins - they're not built in, and not 
There is a real plugin, it will soon (but not yet, afaik) be available from 
the auto-download servers.
iTunes doesn't support it. 

Most of the more commonly used players have support (though how good the 
support is varies). The main lack is iTunes - many mac users use it, and 
there's no support.

> Second:
> Trying to cut back and forth between local playlists of MP3s, local live
> content and remote fed content seems like a challenge. My current thought
> is to have one system that plays audio that is linked to one or more
> computers that encode the audio. This way when switching between local
> content and remote content, the stream isn't interrupted and the listeners
> aren't dumped?

That's one approach that requires little support from the software, and should 
work fine. More infrastructure neccesary, obviously.

> But then comes the issue of the id3 tags. Is there any ways to trigger the
> darkice encoder to "update" the text on the player on the fly?

This is supported by icecast (it doesn't use id3 tags for this, but most of 
the source encoders get the metadata from id3 tags originally), I'm not sure 
about darkice. It's pretty easy to add this sort of thing, all the hard bits 
here are done in icecast. 

> If I had 1 icecast server acting as a relay, connecting to a 2nd one,
> could I switch between "2nd ones" and not interrupt the listener?

Not precisely. What you can do (with icecast2) is:
    server1: /relay-mount1 <---- server2
           : /relay-mount2 <----- server3

In this setup, you might dynamically add server3/relay-mount2, as your "new 
2nd one". Then, you can dynamically switch users from /relay-mount1 to 
/relay-mount2, without interrupting the listeners. Then you can drop 

The above is not well tested, however, and it may interact badly with metadata 
support. If so, this should be fixed.

> Wait. Maybe if we could trick it into hitting a "file" in the playlist
> that is being written real time, that could work.....

That may also work, depending on your source program (I haven't used darkice, 
I'm not sure of its exact capabilities).

> Anyone have experience trying to push Icecast to do all of this?

Not on live systems, but I've done similar things on internal tests.


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