Suggestions for music server software with smart playlists and unified playcount
April 4, 2011 3:45 AM   Subscribe

I have multiple Ubuntu PCs in multiple rooms, each connected to individual HiFis. I want to be able to listen to my 150GB music collection from any of the PCs. BUT, I want to have a unified record of playcount, so, from each PC, I can access a "Not Recently Played" smart playlist that has been updated from all PCs. I'd also like to sync this Not Recenlty Played playlist with my Android phone. How can I do this?

I currently do this via XBMC, a single MySQL database and a library shared via NFS. But, as XBMC developers keep on insisting, it is only a front end, it isn't a back end, it doesn't seem to share playcounts and it seems an awfully resource hungry way just to listen to music (as well as issues I currently have with one PC and it's ATI card that XBMC doesn't like).

I've tried various UPnP and DLNA servers for Linux, but none that are still active appear to support playcount and smart playlists (i.e. where you can say choose 500MB of songs not played in last 2 months) including Twonky, MediaTomb, miniDLNA.

I am aware of MPD, but am not quite sure of how it works or how to use it.

The ability to sync unplayed items to Android would be great, but it seems there is no way to sync playcount on Android back to any music library, other than via Last.FM and the only script I have found to do this for Linux hasn't worked as yet (plus it is rythmbox specific).

I can't belive I am the only one wanting to do this, so I was wondering what other people do?
posted by prupert to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Thinking about it - the simplest solution is to find some sofware that provides a Web Interface, Android syncing and smart playlist (so Amarok, Exaile or another) and then rsync that app's configurations files and folders between all the PCs, so it is like using the same app on the differect that the best idea?
posted by prupert at 4:08 AM on April 4, 2011

Response by poster: Ooh, I forgot to add, one of the PCs is headless, so I need a web interface or an Android interface to control it....
posted by prupert at 4:09 AM on April 4, 2011

I think you can set this up with mpd: it can route audio to a variety of outputs any of which you can chose from the frontend when you're selecting what to actually play. I assume you're happy to be knee deep in config files?
posted by pharm at 4:18 AM on April 4, 2011

I use mpd as a local player, because it's text-based and simple, but have also used it for network-controlled play. mpd itself runs on one machine, which plays the music, and you can connect to that machine using remote clients (also text-based, or web-based, or whatever you please) and control the current playlist. If you could pipe the sound from that one PC to all of you rooms it might do the centralisation job you're looking for, but I don't know if it has smart playlists or even play counts... it's really aimed at remote control of a single PC's music.

On preview, pharm reminds me I read about using it as an Icecast server, to send audio elsewhere but still running from the central playlist. (Whatever Icecast is!)
posted by manyon at 4:23 AM on April 4, 2011

You can probably do something tricksy with mpd & pulseaudio's networked audio, but I've never tried it myself. Not sure whether that will let you play different streams into different outputs from a single mpd server though.
posted by pharm at 6:45 AM on April 4, 2011

I've heard decent things about Subsonic, and it looks like it covers most of your bases, but it might still have play count limitations similar to the others you're looking at.
posted by p3t3 at 6:48 AM on April 4, 2011

If you're okay playing via DAAP, firefly/mt-daapd will unify your playlists. Also, since it's just really a sqlite db on top of a filesystem, you can roll your own playlists, and grab music files from your server. Not the most maintained of packages, but it's been rock solid for me for years.
posted by scruss at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2011

Slimserver for all your music plus softsqueeze on each pc?
posted by notyou at 9:49 PM on April 4, 2011

Incidentally, there appears to be a whole bunch of utility mpd clients that exist to manipulate playlists etc etc. You can probably do what you want with an appropriate Moped script for instance.
posted by pharm at 9:31 AM on April 5, 2011

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