How do I make a sweet web-enabled office jukebox?
December 14, 2007 8:43 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to create an office jukebox with a web interface?

I think it would be awesome to have an office jukebox that we could fill with everyone's favorite music and control through a web interface.

We have a large, cavernous office and a staff who loves discovering new music. Right now we take turns plugging in our iPods but we would love for there to be a way to create a console that we could administer from our desks.

Has anyone ever attempted to create such a thing for their office?

We have PC and Mac laptops we could devote to the tasks. I don't want to use desktops because I think it would use too much power unnecessarily.

Ideally, the system:
- would be visible over our internal work network so you could deposit songs into its library
- would allow users to log in and put items in a queue to be played.
- identify the user who had chosen the song to be played.
- would be able to power down automatically after close of business.
- would be able to power up by Wake-on-Lan.
- would have a system that created user play scarcity, e.g. someone has a limited amount of "jukebox quarters" weekly.
- would allow users to spend additional quarters to skip ahead in the queue.

Does anyone know how to build this thing?

(We will share our results with the world at large when we figure it out.)
posted by jmprice to Technology (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
how would the songs be played? over some office speakers? or would it be over IP directly to the users' computers?

sounds like you could use winamp and a web interface to get most of this done. some custom work for the uploading / tagging by user / jukebox quarters. if you want to play over IP you'd have to look into a "shoutcast" server.

my technology might be a few years old. anybody know of something newer?

also, if you're in america, this is blatantly illegal and your work could get in trouble for it.
posted by taumeson at 8:50 AM on December 14, 2007


I use one at home, and while not perfect, it works good enough. This is one of thos technologies I haven't figured as to why it is taking so long for a company to develop a more all-in-one solution, but that's neither here nor there. I really don't think you'll find the "jukebox quarters" solution out of the box on any solution.

In any case, I use a Roku Soundbridge m1001 which acts as a wireless "bridge" (I don't use that term in the technical sense), it receives the music and plays outputs it in a variety of connections so you can hook it up to your receiver.

For the software end, I use Slim Server, which works great via the web. In fact it is the only one that acts how I want it to act over the web (the ability to queue songs, search your library, manipulate songs). Seriously, there's not much out here that does it, and Slim Server is your best bet.

Here are the plugins and dev tools if you are so inclined. Seriously, there's a dearth of music players that can be controlled in this way. Also if you dump something in the library, it won't immediately scan it, so you can either turn the rescan rates way up high, or simply remember to move to the correct folder and not go under "new music." Otherwise this is a great product in a thin market.
posted by geoff. at 8:56 AM on December 14, 2007


Slim server is exactly what you want.
posted by mikeand1 at 8:57 AM on December 14, 2007


To address all future legality concerns: we'll play only CC-licensed music.

Ideally this would be able to be played over both office speakers and headphones when there's a client meeting.
posted by jmprice at 8:58 AM on December 14, 2007


Put up PC or Mac running iTunes. Import all your music. Control PC or Mac via RDesktop/VNC or any other desktop control application. iTunes is awesome.

It doesn't meet some of your requirements, but it's free and very easy.
posted by poppo at 9:01 AM on December 14, 2007


I use a Roku SoundBridge to stream music directly to my stereo using server side software like geoff's Slim Server.

The SoundBridge works over Wi-Fi or LAN and it frees your stereo (or speakers or whatever you have) from being tethered to a computer.

I think I got mine for about $120. Slim Devices' (a Logitech company) SqueezeBox is another good option, but a little more pricey.

Each of these devices give you your choice of server side software. You can use everything from iTunes (blech) to Winamp, to nice stuff like Slim Server, etc. All of them have web interfaces which will allow anyone in your office to queue up their play list.
posted by wfrgms at 9:05 AM on December 14, 2007


Put up PC or Mac running iTunes. Import all your music. Control PC or Mac via RDesktop/VNC or any other desktop control application. iTunes is awesome.

It doesn't meet some of your requirements, but it's free and very easy.


This is a lousy option, btw. Not only would you need a dedicated computer (wasteful, expensive) but you'd need to train everyone to use remote desktop. And iTunes is universally hated. Shame on you poppo! Bad answer! Bad!
posted by wfrgms at 9:08 AM on December 14, 2007


I would agree that you should avoid using itunes.
posted by malaprohibita at 9:10 AM on December 14, 2007


This is a lousy option, btw. Not only would you need a dedicated computer (wasteful, expensive) but you'd need to train everyone to use remote desktop. And iTunes is universally hated. Shame on you poppo! Bad answer! Bad!


Ha ha, I wll accept my spanking, but really...Training to use remote desktop? Click a button and you're using a different computer. iTunes is bad? Why? Because of DRM? I can't figure out what the reason is (though I see the agreement from no less than three of you that agree it's bad or blech).
posted by poppo at 9:30 AM on December 14, 2007


Previous thread where I suggested Ampache (which kicks ass). Take a look.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 9:53 AM on December 14, 2007


To answer your question poppo, because it can be really handy to have non-pc clients.

I'm setting up a similar system at home and will be using an old Palm TX as a "remote" using it's wifi.
posted by bonehead at 9:55 AM on December 14, 2007


it's its
posted by bonehead at 9:55 AM on December 14, 2007


iTunes is bad? Why?

Not web enabled. Not well suited to multiple users. Dreadfully inefficient library loading routines. Library and playlist settings that have a habit of changing themselves. Curious notions of what a well-organized music folder looks like. Complete inability to add custom features (like the virtual quarters thing the OP mentioned)... etc. etc. etc.

Have you looked at gjukebox or Ampache? Both were designed to do most of what you ask, and with a little hacking, could be made to do all of it.
posted by toxic at 9:59 AM on December 14, 2007


Oh the other one I've used for LAN parties in the past is streamsicle which is not under active development but still works fine.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 10:07 AM on December 14, 2007


My first thought was Ampache as well. It's pretty close to doing all of what you ask. I have one setup at home. Not sure how well it works on windows though, though there seems to be people doing that. If you check the forums, you will find lots of people doing similar things to what you suggest.
posted by alikins at 10:19 AM on December 14, 2007


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