My plan was to create a hook that reported every song that I played in WMP. This would serve two purposes:
1. Data collection.
I'm interested in seeing how I end up liking and disliking music. A graph of the frequency of artists played
over time would be a reflection of how I or others develop and lose interest in music over time.
With a larger body of data from more people, we could also see interesting aggregation statistics.
2. Music interaction.
We could imagine a small group of people (1000 or so), able to share comments on music as they play. Imagine
VH1 popup comments as a starting example. I also saw this in watching a webcast (link)
The technical problems with doing this in Windows Media Player are numerous. Here are the approaches I looked
into before rejecting them for one reason or another:
1. Hooking into Windows Media Player through a plugin.
This is one approach that has been taken by the Now Playing plug-in ($15 shareware). The difficulty with this
is that WMP requires the Windows SDK, the Windows Media SDK, and a working knowledge of COM.
None of this is in itself restrictive. However, combined with an almost total lack of practical documentation
on getting this to work, this approach seemed flawed.
2. Remoting into Windows Media Player.
This is an an approach used by Re_MP3, however, it refers to a client/server app, and does not hook into a
currently running instance.
3. File access monitoring.
While promising, and furthermore applicable across any music player, it simply doesn't work, because Windows Media Player caches files.
In the end, we used the free NowPlaying plug-in.