Getty Music

Overview

Over the years, Getty Images has evolved to be a worldwide leader in the licensing of photographic content. In 2007, they entered the arena of audio content licensing with the purchase of Pump Audio. As Pump's technology partner for their current licensing platform, Soundtrack, Gavant was the natural choice to begin the transition of the standalone site into the main gettyimages.com site. This began with the integration of smaller features like a mini-player and eventually an embedded version of the previous Flash application. The integration culminated in a full redesign of the application for full HTML integration with the gettyimages.com site in 2010. Launched in January 2011, the new Getty Images Music system is written entirely in HTML/Javascript/CSS for the ultimate in cross-browser/cross-platform usability, complete with improved discoverability by search engines.

Architecture

Getty Images Music features the latest in .NET MVC technology combined with the proven technology packages used internally by Getty Images. Technologies like SparkMVC provide the ability to rapidly deploy new views/pages from scratch or mash-up several existing partial views to expose content in new or more accessible ways. An extensive implementation of JavaScript on the client side powers the rich user interface, allowing users to search for, tag, and license music for projects in the easiest way possible.

Given that this was a re-boot of a live customer-facing web system, full backward compatibility had to be achieved with the initial release so that the two sites could run in parallel during the initial release. This backward compatibility has been maintained throughout the entire lifecycle of the product to provide seamless releases. Deployed on a load-balanced farm environment, the Music system enjoys the high availability, 100% uptime afforded by such deployments.

Integration

Transitioning from the searching capabilities provided by SQL Server natively, the music team looked to the Apache Solr/Lucene platform to provide search services for the new system. Providing a balance of keyword searching and parameterized filtering, the Solr implementation provides users with precise, lightning-fast results.

Coming from the existing Flash app, we understood how important the rich multimedia experience was to users, as well as the limitations of search engine discoverability imposed by Flash as a “closed system”. These needs steered us toward the Soundmanager2 Javascript package. This enabled us to keep all of the page content nicely in the markup where it belongs, while still providing users with the ability to preview the music on demand. Utilizing HTML5 player capabilities on supported browsers and falling back to a small, unobtrusive Flash player where necessary, Soundmanager2 has provided the page with all the multimedia support that's been required.

To ensure compatibility with the existing implementation, the BitGravity CDN has continued to power the asset delivery mechanisms involved with the new system. Reliable content delivery has proved to be even more important with the integration of the new system, given that the gettyimages.com domain and its worldwide presence on other TLDs has increased the targeted audience by orders of magnitude.

Highlights

  • Full integration of “Pump Audio Soundtrack” as HTML-based solution under gettyimages.com
  • Powerful search features to precisely refine search results based on keywords and/or attribute filtering
  • Full support for all modes of online content licensing supported by Getty Images
  • Custom playlists to tag favorite tracks
  • Enhanced support for individual asset details
  • Focus on content promotion centered around albums and artists
  • CMS-enabled page regions for dynamic content creation and management

Technologies

  • ASP.NET MVC
  • Spark MVC View Engine
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • HTML, Javascript, CSS
  • .LESS · JavaScript library
  • jQuery · JavaScript library
  • Soundmanager2 · JavaScript library

Integrations

  • Solr · Search platform
  • BitGravity · Content distribution
  • Alfresco · Content management