I’ve never really been happy with any of the ‘now playing’-style plugins for So this weekend, I threw something together myself; something easier than a plugin. Now, I’ll show you how to get a simple, auto-refresh album cover in the sidebar, just like the one on this site. All you need is a small .js file (tiny!) and a standard WordPress text widget. Let’s get started.

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Save the following block to a lastfm.js file and put it somewhere on your webserver. This isn’t a plugin, so it doesn’t need to live anywhere special. Open the file with your favorite editor and enter a user name, api key, and a path for a placeholder (in case the API doesn’t return an image).

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Next, log in to your WordPress dashboard, select Widgets, and drag over a new standard text widget. Paste this block into the widget content area, update the server path, and save.

That’s it! Fire up your music player and reload your site. Every few minutes a new cover should load with a nice fade-in. The API doesn’t provide a way to update when a new track starts, but you can adjust the refresh rate in lastfm.js to your liking. Every 3 or 4 minutes works pretty well.