My own private Rdio
January 18, 2013 2:56 PM   Subscribe

I would like to create a private music streaming service for a small circle of friends, using Amazon S3, Cloudfront, an HTML5 player and a password-protected website. Is this possible? How to do it best? (Full walkthrough of the idea within.)

In my vision, this is how it works:

There is a website. It's password-protected (this would be for a handful of people; it can be .htpasswd rather than something with registration etc). Logging in gets you to a page with a player (ideally HTML5; some of the people involved are Flash-averse). With the player, you can see the whole of the library, which lives in an S3 bucket. Click to stream songs, enjoy!

I'm having trouble sorting out the various players and widgets available (I don't know much about streaming media) and have a few other technical questions. The Streaming setting on Cloudfront is limited to RTMP, which presumably means Flash players only, right? Are there ways around this? If anyone has prior experience with creating something like this, what are the best choices? Any issues I should know about before I get started?

(And just to answer these questions in advance ... this is for a scattered group of friends into very rare music, almost entirely rips of out-of-print vinyl, plus some private field recordings; we're not going to be doing anything piratic. And I'm interested in building this because I like the idea of us quietly, daily in each other's lives, the way other people in this group have built little glancing bits of social software -- that's why I'd like to do it this way rather than just set up a big-ass zip of all the files. It's a digital version of the way we used to hang out in each other's apartments, listening to music and working. Plus I can keep adding to it as it goes!)
posted by the brave tetra-pak to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Perhaps this isn't precisely what you're after, but I used to use Andromeda to stream, collect, and organize music with a huge amount of success.

It will likely be much cheaper, as well.
posted by tenseone at 3:04 PM on January 18, 2013

Easy version:

(Step 0: Throw your .htaccess file on the server)
1. JW Player (does Flash and HTML5) pointed at a directory of files.
2. There is no step 2.

You can set that up on any web host, no need for Amazon/Cloudfront/Whatever. If you had specific reasons for wanting, say, an S3 bucket, let us know and that might help you get the answers you're looking for.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:15 PM on January 18, 2013


Everyone shares a folder on Dropbox. Anyone can add (and delete, for better or worse) a file at any time, and everyone else will see a little popup on their computer that a new file was added. This would be for local playback (or playback through mobile apps), though Dropbox does provide online access.

I have a group a friends that use that, and it's kind of fun to see the new files pop in and out. That might give more of the hang out feeling than a simple webpage, but it does have obvious points against it.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:19 PM on January 18, 2013

Subsonic is a great personal media server that even lets you make your friends user accounts. Looks like someone was able to stick it inside of an S3 instance with some success. I've never done that, but Subsonic itself is pretty awesome.
posted by dobi at 4:13 PM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]

I used to do this with open tape. You can easily spin up a micro S3 backed AWS instance and run open tape (see demo for how this works). Just html5 and js, no flash. Throw in a .htaccess password if necessary.
posted by special-k at 4:15 PM on January 18, 2013

2nding dobi, subsonic will do pretty much what you are looking for out of the box.
posted by fings at 4:21 PM on January 18, 2013

3rding dobi, subsonic is the way to go for this. Easy, will handle your requirements, just works.
posted by griffey at 8:30 PM on January 18, 2013

Have you considered Icecast? It's actual streaming rather than file-sharing, ie, one person plays audio through an Icecast broadcasting app, everyone else listens in realtime.
posted by Alterscape at 11:07 PM on January 18, 2013

Yes! Subsonic looks perfect. You guys are brilliant as usual. Thanks.
posted by the brave tetra-pak at 10:03 AM on January 19, 2013

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