Rogue programming in embedded Mixcloud players

By | June 11, 2014

Update 1st July 2014: Mixcloud has confirmed that embedded players have reverted to the old behaviour: shows will not now be automatically followed by unrelated cloudcasts or mixes. Thanks, Mixcloud! So you can safely ignore this post…

SrslyAs you may have noticed (and as mentioned in the previous post), it is now the case that when you listen to an edition of Phantom Circuit on this site (or on Tumblr or anywhere else the player is embedded), you will be treated (?) to another show or mix of Mixcloud’s choosing. It might be another edition of Phantom Circuit, or it might well be a completely unrelated show or mix by another “cloudcaster”. It could well be something to your taste, something that will make you grind your teeth or maybe some psycho ranting about the people who live behind his walls for all we can do about it. Phantom Circuit will have no say in the matter. On its own Web site.

It does make sense for an algorithm to play continuous music if you listen directly from, but it’s surely confusing and misleading to have some random show pop-up and start playing, without any announcement, as soon as an edition of Phantom Circuit has stopped playing at…! And what of the text below the player, which is part of Mixcloud’s code for embedded players? Well, that will continue to assert that the show is Phantom Circuit, when in fact you may well be listening to a completely unrelated show!

Mixcloud has been extremely reliable as a streaming platform, and whilst there have been occasions in which this site has had to be tediously adjusted on a large scale to accommodate Mixcloud’s evolving ideas about presentation of the players, that is not unreasonable given the overall progress of the service. But this voluntary work is in service of, which hopefully benefits certain sets of listeners and musicians. It’s not just some satellite of or some launchpad which will give you a feed of algorithmically linked cloudcasts. The automatic embedding of other cloudcasts at this site seems confusing, misleading, and maybe even risky. Will Mixcloud accept liability for content that its algorithms decide this site will host? That seems unlikely.

So what can be done? If you agree that the automatic inclusion of unrelated cloudcasts in embedded players is undesirable, let Mixcloud know. You’ll have to have an account at to access their “support” section, but perhaps they will be responsive to feedback via Twitter and the usual social media channels.

How does this affect Phantom Circuit? We shall see. But at the very least, it seems the embedded players will have to be laboriously removed, in order to protect the programme and its listeners from confusing and potentially undesirable content. That’s further inconvenience and work, and you have to wonder how many more distractions and obstacles to straightforward “cloudcasting” lie ahead, and whether it’s actually worth struggling with.