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We’ve been using iTunes Match pretty much since the beginning, but recently my wife has turned it off and refused to re-subscribe. I’m fast getting to the same place. It just seems so unstable, wishing Apple would invest some of their billions into it. I read with dismay how many people find Google Play to be so much better. As I write this I see a “Cannot connect to iTunes store” on my iPhone. Noting wrong with our connection … it’s alive and well.

Bearing in mind that I have two Macs, an iPhone and an iPad and my wife has a Mac, iPhone and iPad what we really want is the following.

I want all our music to go up to one location (iCloud or even better our own server). I want an app or web app that I see on the right hand side a list of artists or albums (or playlists) and columns for each device. I want to be able to tick the “matrix” to specify which devices the artist/album/playlist should be downloaded to. When the device is switched on, it must download (no fuss no bother and no stupid I-can’t-do-anything-about error message). A nice enhancement would be to specify three options for each entity (Download, Stream, Not Available). There must be options to easily bulk select.

So … is there such a thing out there?

In my immediate family plus spouses and kids girlfriends/boyfriends there are 11 Macs, three iPads and 10 iPhones. My brothers are very similar. I have nieces and nephews that use Apple. My parents also use Apple. Collectively, we have a bunch of Apple equipment.

  • Let me guess here...you do not want the iTunes :) But my actual question is: is all music your property or not. – Ruskes Aug 10 '13 at 10:35
  • We have a family policy that we buy everything we listen to. What I'd really like is for the app I'm talking about to be able to allow me to listen to the music my wife has bought and if I like it I'll buy it too. I'm not emotionally attached to iTunes, if there is something that works better on all my devices I'd go for it. – RGI Aug 10 '13 at 10:47
  • @RogerI So, just to clarify. The music is all iTunes purchased music, correct? – njboot May 30 '14 at 16:15
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I had some kind of similar question here.

I decided to go my own route, because basically everything from big companies is specific to their environment. And even though it required some work, I ended up with a solution I am quite happy with.

I have a Mac Server and a DynDNS service.
I have a Madsonic Instance running, which is a fork of Subsonic.

Subsonic has a lot of Apps that can be used for streaming.
Madsonic (and any other fork) is compatible to those clients.

Subsonic wants 1$ per month, if you want to use streaming (via Apps),
Madsonic (and most other forks) do not.

The Web-UI is awesome and there are also other Web-Clients like JamStash ,
that I love to use personally.

Besides the Subsonic Setup, I have a very cleaned up iTunes Library that has Home-Sharing enabled and can sync via Wifi with my iPhone. Also including my purchases.

iTunes requires a lot of attention and maintenance as I discovered recently;
and I would not recommend to let iTunes manage the Library itself.
Instead I wrote some scripts (and found some)
to make maintaining my Library a lot easier

I decided to build up a Folder Structure, that I like
and only let iTunes reference those files, but never touch them directly (except for metadata).

Subsonic does not care about the management, it simply searches for new media every day/week/month (as you wish) in a folder and updates the library.

However, all of that requires a lot of work. If you are lazy or you simply do not care that mouch about Music, You should use another Service besides iTunes Match, as other Users also suggested (Amazon Cloud/Spotify/Ecoute/...)

From where we stand today, I am very sure, that there is no solution to a good music-streaming service that we seek.

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You might consider Amazon's Cloud Player. If you pony up the subscription money, you can store upwards of 200,000 songs in Amazon's Cloud, which means they are available on ANY computer through a web browser, on desktop Macs using Amazon's Cloud Player software, and on iDevices using their Cloud Player App.

Getting a large amount of music onto the cloud is a pain, no question. (It took me weeks to upload my 500GB library.) But now I have access to all my music anytime, anywhere, even if I am using someone else's computer or on a PC.

The cloud player apps allow you to download any of your songs to any computer if you want to duplicate them locally. And, if you buy your new mp3s from Amazon, they'll just show up in your cloud player automatically.

It really does work, once you tough out the upload.

Edit: Amazon Cloud Player is indeed a good alternative. Nonetheless, if you want to stream your entire iTunes Library without paying for a subscription, I recommend using the Plex app. Just set up pled on your computer and your good to go with your iTunes Library at hand!

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  • Plex is a pain for music. I can only recommend it for watching movies/tv-shows – rwenz3l Jun 30 '14 at 14:47
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Stackexchange won't let me post comments, but I think it's worth mentioning that Ampache is something you should look into (on top of YoshiBotX's suggestions of a home server). It's similar to Subsonic. I have a time capsule 1TB from 2009 in bridge mode that stores all my art, music, and videos, and I pointed iTunes on my mac to it so that it looks for the iTunes library on that disk. I also set up fstab so that the timecapsule fileshare automounts into OS X (you can do this in Windows as well). The other thing I did was mounted my time capsule in Ubuntu on my web-accessible homeserver at home and have Ampache running on it and scanning the mounted filesystem. I then can stream music from web browser or to my Android phone.

The one thing I'll say is Ampache seems to struggle with 200 GB of music when it is indexing my library. It could also be possible that I have some weird filenames in there, too. I haven't messed with it much recently so they could have made it more stable.

I use TuneUp (an iTunes addon) for renaming my song files and cleaning up names/albums/artists. TuneUp is able to determine what to name and title a song based on just the sound signature of the file. I use GetLyrical for automatically fetching and applying lyrics to the .m4a and .mp3 files.

The only thing I've mentioned so far that costs money is TuneUp (and the time capsule and home server, but I got those for free). All the hosting I've set up is free as well.

I have also read that there are ways to share your iTunes library through the internet but I think my solution is more robust.

UPDATE- forgot to mention.. you will probably see a 3 second delay on accessing music if it's stored on a time capsule (or maybe a NAS that allows disks to sleep). The time capsule allows disks to spin down when they're not in use or when the music is cached to your PC so it has to spin up on first open. The advantage to this though is that I don't have to buy a 3 tb 2.5 hdd drive to fit in my laptop, so the tradeoff is worth it IMO. YMMV.

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I would say your best choice is the Ecoute for Mac!

And for your iPhone ect (IOS) there is a version for that.

A stand alone music player that will interact with existing iTunes libraries.

You can read some ratings here.

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  • Thanks, I did have a look at Ecoute but discovered it relies on Match anyway (from what I understand), and Match is my weak link. – RGI Aug 10 '13 at 12:18
  • So you want to get rid of the "Match" specifically? – Ruskes Aug 10 '13 at 14:46
  • Match seems to be the weak link, so I'm looking for something that actually works and can replace Match - so yes. – RGI Aug 13 '13 at 10:31
  • Working without some kind of Match is a problem, to be able to know what songs you already have when trying to add new ones and across the devices. I would say that the Match on iTunes is not the same Match on the Ecoute. – Ruskes Aug 13 '13 at 10:35

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