The great audio file migration is complete! I am pleased to announce that the 30 Dorothy Parker audio files have been transferred to SoundCloud, “the world’s leading social sound platform.” The backstory is that most of the files were digitized in 1999 using RealMedia, a format that’s fallen by the wayside in the past 14 years. Some of the others were MP3 files.
But the problem was playing them, as well as streaming to smart phones and tablets. All of these issues have been resolved.
In 1999, I took cassette tapes of Dorothy Parker LPs and digitized them, using freeware, and made RealAudio files of them. This sufficed for the first few years, until better players and browsers were developed. Soon, these files couldn’t be accessed unless you had an updated Real player, and few did.
A second issue arose over time. This was the cross-browser compatibility of using embedded players. I used a Flash player on some of the other Dorothy Parker Society interviews, but these would not be accessed if the user’s Flash player was not up to date, or was on a mobile device. iPhones and iPads don’t play Flash.
Another benefit of making the switch to SoundCloud is that the files are now part of their community. This way more new users can discover Dorothy Parker. Among the thousands on SoundCloud are Penguin Books UK, Random House Audiobooks, Comedy Central, MTV Hive, KROQ, and hundreds more.
Using the SoundCloud tools, users can share the clips across all of their social media. With one click, the poem can be added to a Facebook page, and the clip plays on the page itself. Users can also embed the clips on their pages and blogs. It’s a snap to push a SoundCloud file to Twitter. The social nature of SoundCloud, combined with how easy it is to use, is what won me over.
SoundCloud also has free apps, for iOS and Android, that let’s you play the clips on your mobile devices. Try it! This is amazing technology to me, when you think about it, to listen to audio files originally recorded when LBJ was in office on my iPhone.
It took a bit of time (two cans of Coke, one long night) to reformat all of the old files, create new ones, and put them all out again on the Audio page. But now it’s all there.
No other site has the wealth of recordings, available for free, of a poet of Dorothy Parker’s stature, like the Dorothy Parker Society has. (If you know of another, drop us a line). This archive is incredibly useful for fans of Dorothy Parker to hear her read her own material.
Spread the word!