Moving on from iTunes
July 29, 2018 7:47 PM   Subscribe

I have definitively exceeded the 5-seat iTunes Home Sharing limit. I have umpty jillion rips from CDs and nearly no DLC. It's like 300-400GB, iirc. Ideal scenario: I point an opensource media server at the content directories and my OSX and iOS playblack clients rock out. My LAN iOS devices are the most employed playback devices, followed by the OSX devices. I never even think about using the iOS devices to play back outside the LAN.
posted by mwhybark to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: oh yeah, a question. what is your preferred Mac OS X non-iTunes music server with broad client uptake?
posted by mwhybark at 7:49 PM on July 29, 2018

Plex is something to look into, though iOS devices will have to have the paid version of the app on them.
posted by soelo at 8:35 PM on July 29, 2018

Response by poster: I have messed with Plex, some time ago, and found it both obtuse and lacking. Will re-examine.
posted by mwhybark at 9:30 PM on July 29, 2018

For the first time, I tried to use Home Sharing on iOS—and with my multiple GB library, it attempts to redownload the list EVERY TIME I try to load the Music app. Brilliant design.
posted by interrupt at 10:01 PM on July 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Plex, Emby, upload all music to Google Play Music.

VLC player for iOS can point to local shared folders, too.
posted by eliluong at 10:36 PM on July 29, 2018

VLC player for iOS can point to local shared folders, too.

Yeah, I'd do it that way. I've never been convinced that media servers like Plex really have much to offer over straightforward file servers. I just share the folders where my media files are, or stick them all on a NAS, and use player clients that understand shared folders as well as file managers that let me download exactly those files I explicitly tell them to to local folders on the client devices, for all those times when I want not to need to care whether I can see a network or not.

I've never much enjoyed the iOS paradigm of hiding the entire filesystem from the end user and pretending that content is saved in the apps that know how to process it, as opposed to being saved by those apps in files and folders that the apps and the end users both know how to find.

Yes, that way of working does allow end users to start using their shiny new devices without needing to understand anything about files and folders beforehand, but really, trying to make it work transparently over networks rapidly ends up looking like doing things the hard way.
posted by flabdablet at 12:06 AM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

upload all music to Google Play Music

Just as a point of non-recommendation: Google has recently been pretty up-front that they're killing Google Play Music so they can merge it into some upcoming Youtube music app. It is super not clear whether they will retain any of the "upload" / "claim music" type functionality. I would be very wary of investing any effort in putting music into it at this time.

(I say this as someone who has a huge amount of music in it, and is coming to grips with it likely going away, because Google)
posted by tocts at 5:30 AM on July 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am _very _ suspicious of any and all cloud-based music lockers, largely because they all (unless something has changed) rely on algorithmic matching of your files. If you, like me, are particular about stuff like specific remasters of albums and custom metadata, this is _very_ bad.

Plex might be an option. I've considered setting up an iTunes Server on either an old Mac, or even a Raspberry Pi with a big-ass USB drive plugged into it.
posted by SansPoint at 7:42 AM on July 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

Plex has updated recently and seems different enough. I was not able to get it working on my smart tv last year, but I got it all working a few weeks ago now. There are still some opaque things, like Playlists for example. You don't create a playlist and then add items. Instead, you select one or more items and add them to a new playlist.

There is room for improvement, for sure.
posted by soelo at 8:13 AM on July 30, 2018

google play uploaded the wrong songs when I tried to rip the german/french Heroes cd from A New Career in a New Town. The cd played correctly.
posted by brujita at 8:26 AM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

brujita: I had a similar problem with iCloud Music Library/iTunes Match and my German versions of Kraftwerk's albums. Never again.
posted by SansPoint at 9:00 AM on July 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Do you ever want to grab music on your iOS devices while and home and then play it elsewhere? That seems to be the breaking point for a lot of these solutions.

I have a Synology brand NAS at home, and their iOS music app (called DS Audio) works well for my son on his iPhone -- but only while he's at home, on our wifi. I have the Plex client, but again it's only good while at home. I would like to be able to grab some music and take it with me on my iPhone, but the Plex & DS Audio clients are just pretty slow. (I think this is mostly due to my poky old Synology, but it's not really usable with my big music library.)

Would love to hear otherwise! :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:45 AM on July 30, 2018

Response by poster: me personally? shit no, portability was always only ever bullshit as a feetch for me.

still no resolution to hand. iOS Music ("," I guess the cool kids say) does not apparently offer Home Sharing to iOS devices, at least insofar as the seven or so I have to hand. which, honestly: I have spent enough time on this. Fuck you Steve, Jon.
posted by mwhybark at 11:26 PM on July 30, 2018

Response by poster: hm, I have a long-outated Synology NAS, could NOT ever get the iTunes music sharing to work and OMG the damn fan racket was like an icepick in the ear. I swapped fans but it did not resolve either issue.
posted by mwhybark at 4:11 PM on August 1, 2018

Ideal scenario: I point an opensource media server at the content directories and my OSX and iOS playblack clients rock out.

That's exactly the effect you can get with VLC, recommended above, except that instead of layering any kind of media server - open source or otherwise - between your playback clients and your content directories, you're pointing an open source playback client directly at content directories you've exposed on your LAN via SMB (Windows-compatible file sharing) or SFTP (included in OSX remote login).

Music you want to take with you can be copied directly to your devices with any app that understands SMB or SFTP file sharing. I've used File Explorer successfully for this.
posted by flabdablet at 8:14 PM on August 1, 2018

If you like to tinker, you can build a fast, quiet, very low electricity consumption NAS around a 2.5" hard drive (which generally cost about US$45 per TB and currently top out at 5TB) and an ODROID-HC1 chassis (US$45) running Armbian or a more specialized NAS distro like OpenMediaVault.
posted by flabdablet at 8:42 PM on August 1, 2018

Looks like OpenMediaVault supports DAAP as well, for what it's worth. Haven't used it personally because ideologically opposed to media servers, so I can't speak to its limitations.
posted by flabdablet at 8:55 PM on August 1, 2018

JRiver Media Center seems the most popular on audiophile forms, followed by Roon. I use MediaMonkey, but that is PC only. All of these are better than iTunes.
posted by rfs at 8:55 PM on August 2, 2018

No mention of Kodi?

Personally, I keep all of my music on a Synology NAS, then I use Raspberry Pi's with DAC hats to connect to my stereos. Then, on those Pi's, I use Kodi to point to the music library (SMB fileshare - even though I do have the Synology's media servers turned on - including Plex, which I do use for video).

Personally, I like Kodi - because there are remote control apps for every OS... Windows, iOS, Android, etc.

As well - with Kodi, you can stream from your phone...

...Am tinkering with an "always-on" jukebox script for Kodi - when Kodi loads, the script starts and then automatically randomizes and plays a specific playlist... (I wanted background music for a retail space)

My next efforts are to enhance that script, so that if someone interrupts that playlist with a song played over Bluetooth or Airplay, Kodi will detect when that stream is finished/silent and then return to it's automatic playlist...

Longer-term, I would like to make something (web-based or an app), that would allow people to view the playlist and vote up/down upcoming entries...
posted by jkaczor at 10:12 AM on August 8, 2018

As well - when I want to put songs onto my iPhone - I hate iTunes so much, that I paid for (and highly recommend) "CopyTrans Manager".

To make sure all of my music has artwork, I use: "Album Art Downloader".

Next - I apply the album art and fix-up any metadata using: Mp3Tag
posted by jkaczor at 10:17 AM on August 8, 2018

Response by poster: I do use Kodi. It's even already in place on the media unit. However I have found its' cataloging and playlist management features obtuse and unreliable. I'll still poke at it.

What iOS remote Kodi clients do you suggest? I just gave up tyring to access it remotely and play the raw (non-music) files via Infuse, roughly using the direct SMB access methods described above. For music, I really do think I need a metadata system due to the enormity of the collection.
posted by mwhybark at 5:24 PM on August 11, 2018

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