Where to house my online music library?
August 15, 2020 12:51 PM   Subscribe

So, Google Play is going away and I need a new place to deposit my library of digital music.

I saw this question but it isn't quite on point with my problem. I have a lot of music that I have painstakingly over the years digitized into my music library from my CDs and/or songs that I have purchased through various platforms. Where can I store them now? I'm not interested in just switching to a streaming service. I really like having my own library that I can access when I want.

I have some in Amazon music but I'm annoyed by how many times they ask me to join the service when I already have Prime and I don't want to spend more with them. iTunes had been my player/storage before and I don't speak Apple.

I have access to Apple Music through my Verizon plan but who knows when Verizon will pull that perk. I have also used Pandora for streaming but again I'm not interested in paying for commercial free listening for music that I already own.

What is my solution?
posted by tafetta, darling! to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
You already have a house for it you just need to stream it.

I have a multi-decade archive of music and I stream it from my own computer with Plex. They recently revamped their music app, Plexamp, and IMO it's very good. Currently only available to Plex Pass subscribers ($5/mo or $100/life). One feature I really like is you can combine your own music library with content from an optional Tidal subscription. So it's kind of the best of both worlds, having your own library alongside streaming content and curated playlists.

I believe the other common alternative for self hosting is Subsonic, which is free/open source and has a lot of client apps.

Not sure if there are cloud services that do this but streaming music doesn't require much bandwidth these days.
posted by bradbane at 1:00 PM on August 15, 2020 [12 favorites]

If your existing library lives on a machine that runs pretty much all the time, I agree with bradbane that your best bet is to just start streaming that existing library. I have not used Plex myself but it seems a good, turnkey option if you don't mind spending some money here.

If you'd rather not spend any money and you're willing to do some geeky setup work, there are options. Subsonic has not been free or open source for several years; it now requires the purchase of a license key if you wanna stream your music. There is a free and open source fork called Airsonic that I cannot vouch for.

I've been using the venerable Ampache for well over a decade. (The software debuted in 2001.) It is free and open source, and has a Subsonic compatibility mode so that you can use Subsonic-compatible mobile apps to stream your music (I use DSub on Android). This has been a rock-solid solution for me.

A newcomer in this space is Navidrome, which is also free and open source, with Subsonic compatibility.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 2:47 PM on August 15, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was in this jam a few months ago. The best option that I could find was a Synology NAS for storage and a copy of Plex to serve the music. Most of the other solutions I found needed a lot of babysitting to do the basics. It works amazingly well. My non-technical partner even has their music on Plex now, and they stream it every day.
posted by thebigdeadwaltz at 3:16 PM on August 15, 2020

/\/\/ was right, I was actually using Airsonic previously (also with Dsub on Android) before switching to the new improved Plexamp.

The other option I was considering was Roon Labs which is "HiFi" focused and therefore more expensive, but it gets rave reviews. The thing that attracted me is the same feature Plexamp has - they both integrate your library with Tidal content. So that's another option if you want a commercial solution to this.
posted by bradbane at 4:47 PM on August 15, 2020

Another vote for hosting your own with one of the free software options from /\/\/\/'s answer.

Unlike them, I do suggest you spend the the money you'll save on the cloud service subscription and/or proprietary program licenses by donating to your chosen solution, and purchasing a HDD and external USB enclosure for backing up your music library. As evidenced by Google here, you'll do a more reliable job than any cloud provider will.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:49 PM on August 15, 2020

Mine lives on my computer and is backed up to dropbox (paid plan)
posted by kbuxton at 5:30 PM on August 15, 2020

Plex is awwwwesome when you are at home, but I think if you want to access your music from outside the house (I.e., across the Internet) you may need Plex Pass and also to open up your firewall a bit. I might be wrong but it's worth checking.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:52 PM on August 15, 2020

I'm in a similar situation, and since my Google Play Music account is being switched to YouTube Music Premium I will at least try to migrate my own collection, since they allegedly offer the same service.

I did pay for a lifetime subscription to Subsonic many years ago, so hopefully that will still work, as a backup plan at least.
posted by Umami Dearest at 9:55 PM on August 15, 2020

Are you really set on streaming music over the Internet or are you just looking to ensure that you have access to it from multiple locations? I've got my music backed up on a microSD card in my phone and on a few small external hard drives, including one that I keep at work and occasionally bring home to update. That gives me access to my music from multiple locations without any ongoing costs aside from the time I need to occasionally sync the drives. It also gives some peace of mind with multiple, distributed back ups of these valuable data.
posted by ElKevbo at 11:16 AM on August 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

I saw the Google Play end coming last year and I put Plex on a Raspberry Pi with a 500 GB thumb drive to hold my music. It works great and it's kind of cool to be out somewhere and literally stream music from my living room.
posted by COD at 1:35 PM on August 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Late to the party here - but am going through the same issues you are in terms of having to move away from Google Play and (in my case) fully embrace Plex. To that end I found this video very helpful regarding some of the steps. One of the services mentioned in terms of getting playlists moved over from one platform to another here is Soundiiz - very good if you want to move or consolidate a whole lot from one or several sources to another.
posted by rongorongo at 7:17 AM on August 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

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