Before Cloud Music Was Cool
Before cloud music was even a blip on the radar. I was frustrated with the state of the art: syncing music to my devices. I have a pretty big music catalog and it has never been possible to sync it all to a single device. When I was traveling I’d have to decide just what it was I thought I’d want to listen to. Inevitable, I’d want to hear something I didn’t bring along. That sent me in search of a solution, and that’s when I stumbled across subsonic. It’s a donationware application that allows for streaming music from your home network to the Internet. It has some cool features. It can convert any audio format (assuming you have the right libraries) to mp3 so you don’t have to worry about device compatibly. It can resample to lower bit rates if bandwidth is a concern. It provides a browser based front-end for listening to music from anywhere. There are also a lot of ‘apps’ that can take advantage of it too, there are players for the desktop, android, iphone, there’s even one for Roku.
I primarily use the android and browser interfaces. The android interface caches the music (with a user configurable cache size) so it doesn’t have to stream the music from the server if it’s already in the cache. In addition to being bandwidth friendly, it is also handy for those times when you’re in a dead zone.
When all those cloud services were announced, I sat back and smugly thought, “that’s a problem I solved a long time ago.” I didn’t find cloud music all that appealing. I mean, who wants to manage music in two places, pay for disk space, be tied to a particular service, etc? I know I’m geek, and those cloud services do bring value to some people, but they’re just not for me.
To be fair, I’m heavily invested in the Google ecosystem, and I take advantage of a lot of their cloud services. Music though feels different, and was one that I wanted to maintain strict control over.