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Thread: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

  1. #1
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    I usually think of myself as halfway tech-savvy but it's hard to keep up sometimes. So here's a question for the fellow nerds here.

    My S.O. and I have a large music library in high bitrate MP3 format. It sits on a home media server on the network, with a couple of backups on other drives. So far, so good... we can access music anywhere in the house, and I *think* my backup routine is okay, short of a major earthquake or fire.

    So, current situation... my S.O. is on an overseas trip for a week, and in the flurry of packing she didn't put any of our current fav tunes on her iPhone. We don't do iTunes, we don't do Spotify, we're used to just accessing our home music on the house WiFi.

    As a quick 'n dirty solution, I uploaded one test album to a web domain account I still maintain, as FTP access with a password protected login. I tested it on my Android phone and it works for listening to the MP3 files, but it's clumsy. I'm waiting to hear if she can access it on her iPhone while she's away. She has a roaming data plan in the country she's in.

    So that started me searching for various "Cloud" solutions for hosting private uploaded music files as a listening library, and so far I'm not seeing anything I like. There is Google Play, but apparently it's ad-supported? I don't want to hear ads when listening to my private music library. Anything involving that abomination iTunes is definitely out.

    Is there a smartphone app that supports, in an intelligent way (i.e with search and indexing) a privately hosted set of files online? Either FTP or HTTP with password access because I'm not interested in serving the world. There must be a way.

  2. #2
    Registered User Toni Schula's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    I use Dropbox, mainly to share rehearsal recordings with my band mates. But unfortunately browsing and playing the files is not really in an intelligent way or in any way compareable to the usual mp3 player apps.

  3. #3
    Mangler of Tunes OneChordTrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    You need some form of music player app like, dare I say, iTunes* to do the intelligent search. Reason is that your library, I assume, has a fairly "flat" file structure for example folders for each band/artist and sub-folders for each album. But to do an intelligent search you will probably want to search by genre, year etc.. Dedicated apps index and read the meta-data that holds these attributes.

    How do you play your music at home? If it's on your smartphones you'll need to make your home media server accessible from outside your home (with suitable security) and then connect to it via your smartphones. But you'll need someone with more technical skills than me to tell you how I'm afraid. But it should be doable.

    *As an aside I've never understood the irrational dislike that many people have of iTunes, and Apple generally. iTunes is a good app, not without its flaws, but better than others I've tried.

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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    [QUOTE=OneChordTrick;1694143]*As an aside I've never understood the irrational dislike that many people have of iTunes.../QUOTE]

    I'm also wondering how you manage your large music collection at home. But count me IN as someone who would love to abandon iTunes, which is primarily a way to BUY music from Apple, rather than manage your own music collection. (I gather that I am not providing an answer tot he original question - but I figure it may involve 'serving' music to devices at home as well as away)
    BradKlein
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    Registered User Bob Visentin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    [QUOTE=OneChordTrick;1694143]You need some form of music player app like, dare I say, iTunes* to do the intelligent search. Reason is that your library, I assume, has a fairly "flat" file structure for example folders for each band/artist and sub-folders for each album. But to do an intelligent search you will probably want to search by genre, year etc.. Dedicated apps index and read the meta-data that holds these attributes.

    I have a large mp3 music collection on my computer and I use WINAMP for intelligent searches. Works great. It's free!

    I too am interested in a home server setup but know nothing about it. It would be great to be able to access my music from anywhere.

  7. #6
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    At home we use the free/open source Foobar2000 to search and listen to our music library. There is a media server function included, so I leave it running on my desktop PC in the home office. There is both a PC client and an Android/iOS app so we can listen to music downstairs on the kitchen laptop with speakers, and I can take my Android phone to the music room and call up practice tunes. However, Foobar2000 doesn't have built-in FTP function that would let us access the files on our remote web host (I don't think, but I'll look into that).

    About the dislike of iTunes, it's not completely irrational. I have nothing against Mac computers or Apple in general. It's just that one piece of stupid iTunes software. I'll do everything I can to avoid it, and my S.O. who uses an iPhone feels the same way. It's clunky and has a terrible UI, designed more for streaming and selling DRM'd music than just simple indexing, search, and playback of a personal collection of local files (which Foobar2000 excels at).

    I'll admit part of it is historical dislike, because iTunes used to be much worse about trapping iPad and iPhone users into using it as the only way to transfer files, and that's a little easier now. For indexing, searching, and playing music files I just prefer something like Foobar2000 that's fast and has a very light footprint.

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  9. #7
    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    I'm not familiar with Foobar2000, but I have to wonder that if it is so great at indexing, searching and serving mp3 file from your home network, might it be able to do the same on a remote network? I'm not talking here about built-in FTP access on the Foobar client, just the ability to read and play files from a remote location. This would have to make use of a streaming protocol, not FTP protocol. FTP of files to the remote server would have to be done by you in advance.

    The more I think about this, the more issues arise, though. One problem is bandwidth as media files tend to be pretty heavy if you plan to stream them a lot from your own web server, another problem you've mentioned already is security; you want to have permission to access the files with your app from anywhere, while denying access to the rest of the world.

    I can understand you despise itunes. I had my own frustrations with other jukebox apps in the early days of it, so I suppose itunes was way better already when I finally went with it a few years ago. I really have no problem with it at this point and use it all the time. You've asked an interesting question here; hope to learn something about this.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
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    Mandolin Friendly Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    A quick search for "personal music server" brought up this link, https://www.smarthomebeginner.com/be...tware-options/

    Haven't read it all yet, but those search terms brought up a host of links to check out.
    Technique, theory and fun, fun, fun. I love playing, studying and sharing MUSIC.
    "Life is short. Play hard." - AlanN
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    HEY! The Cafe has Social Groups, check 'em out. I'm in these groups:
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  11. #9
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    The more I think about this, the more issues arise, though. One problem is bandwidth as media files tend to be pretty heavy if you plan to stream them a lot from your own web server, another problem you've mentioned already is security; you want to have permission to access the files with your app from anywhere, while denying access to the rest of the world.
    Yeah, that last bit is the main issue; not exposing the home library to the world.

    My S.O. reports that she can access files with this basic FTP setup on a remote server from her trip down in Mexico, but it's not as fluid or easy as a dedicated app. Streaming high-bitrate files can take a while and be costly, but on our Verizon plan it's basically covered under the TravelPass daily fee when traveling outside the USA.

    Today I ran across something called BubbleUPnP that looks like it might work for remote access to home desktop computers running as a server, and it works with Foobar2000. But it doesn't look like there's an iOs version (drat!). Still searching for a good cross-platform solution, and I'll report back if I find something good.

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    Registered User seankeegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    I store all (most) of my music in the cloud with Google Play Music. As long as you have a gmail account you can store 50,000 tracks for free. No ads when playing back your own personal music collection. It can be streamed, or downloaded to your device, for offline playback (v handy for the flights). It's also handy because, say I call over to a friend's house and there's a track or album I want to give him/her, I can simply log onto my gmail account on any pc/mac and download the album as a zip file, with all metadata included. You don't need to pay any subscription to use this service.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Screenshot from my phone. I'm very happy with Google Play - I use android phone but mac laptop. This is the most elegant solution I could find for being able to share music easily between all devices, regardless of OS.

  13. #11
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    Sean, thanks for the info. I guess I was mistaken about the ads on Goodle Play, I'll take another look at it.

    I've been researching Foobar2000 remote options, but it all goes very quickly down the IT geek rabbit hole, where it's not easy for a "casual" computer knowledgeable guy like me to follow.

  14. #12
    Registered User seankeegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    No problem. The Google play website is kinda clunky. Nowhere near the functionality of a dedicated application. But it's free and works on any platform, including being able to stream and download on an iPhone. If you store all your music in a specific folder or external hard drive, you can set it so any new music added to that folder/HD can be automatically added to the cloud.

    I've not checked it out yet, but I believe if you have linked accounts you can share music libraries. So my girlfriend could access and download to her phone my private recordings stored in my Google account.

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    Default Re: Anyone using private Cloud music storage and playback?

    I use Plex for video and it works great. The media is local, but it streams pretty well over the internet. The server side is dead simple to setup and there are clients for nearly every device out there. I have not used it for audio....

    https://www.plex.tv/

    We are so into apple that iTunes is kind of manditory for our music. We subscribed and share with the family. So that was the end of needing to deal with our own collection (which you can upload to itunes for online streaming).
    Robert Fear
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