I have a large collection of music. It is diverse with many styles and artists. A few years ago, I converted my CDs to digital format. When I started to consume digital music, I vowed to only purchase music lacking draconian digital rights management after spending days converting the music that I purchased from Apples iTunes into MP3 format. To me, it’s very infuriating to discover that the music I paid for won’t play on my new Android phone. That’s just wrong. Today, I have about 300GB of music. It’s too much music for any phone or small portable player. So, I looked to the cloud for a solution.
My first attempt at storing my music library in the cloud was with Amazon Cloud Player. I assumed that if anyone could do this right, it would be the good folks at Amazon. I started with a 100GB subset of my music. It took days to upload with several unfortunate starts and stops. I ended up with several duplicates, a reorganized music library that I didn’t like and the potential ongoing cost of about $200 per year for the storage space. My costs would go higher if I wanted to put my entire collection online. I became frustrated with the weak functionality and high cost, and asked for a refund.
Next, I tested Google Music beta. The upload process worked smoothly and the android player was very nice with many features lacking in the Amazon player. But I was disappointed when I discovered that Google’s product would not play music in the FLAC (A free, open source codec for lossless audio compression and decompression) format. Further, the cost of the service remains unknown. Free for now, but what will it be in the future. I don’t like unknowns that cost money.
I considered my remaining options:
Dropbox - I already have a 100GB plan for $200 a year with Dropbox. I don’t want to spend more money to store my music. It would be too expensive.
Pogoplug – I could use Pogoplug software and my own storage. I tried it and found it’s music player to be primitive at best. I didn’t love it and found it somewhat odd.
With my options narrowing I started to look at how I could create my own cloud. I searched solutions that would offer mature players and offer multi-platform support. It was then that I discovered Subsonic at www.subsonic.org. I downloaded it’s software to one of my PCs hosting a large storage array for my media. Within 30 minutes, I was up and running with my own private cloud hosting my entire music collection at a total cost of a $10 donation. Subsonic offered browser, iPhone, and Android players. Subsonic offered user accounts for controlled access. Subsonic allowed me to download songs to local devices. Adding new music was as simple as copying songs to my music directory. Can you feel the love?
Subsonic is developed by Sindre Mehus, a Java consultant who lives in Oslo, Norway. According to his website, “Subsonic is a free, web-based media streamer, providing ubiquitous access to your music. Use it to share your music with friends, or to listen to your own music while at work. You can stream to multiple players simultaneously, for instance to one player in your kitchen and another in your living room.
Subsonic is designed to handle very large music collections (hundreds of gigabytes). Although optimized for MP3 streaming, it works for any audio or video format that can stream over HTTP, for instance AAC and OGG. By using transcoder plug-ins, Subsonic supports on-the-fly conversion and streaming of virtually any audio format, including WMA, FLAC, APE, Musepack, WavPack and Shorten.
If you have constrained bandwidth, you may set an upper limit for the bitrate of the music streams. Subsonic will then automatically resample the music to a suitable bitrate.
In addition to being a streaming media server, Subsonic works very well as a local jukebox. The intuitive web interface, as well as search and index facilities, are optimized for efficient browsing through large media libraries. Subsonic also comes with an integrated Podcast receiver, with many of the same features as you find in iTunes.
Based on Java technology, Subsonic runs on most platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux and Unix variants.
Subsonic is open-source software licensed under GLP.”
Subsonic is a home run for me. What about you?
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