Escaping the cloud part 1 – Music

Jan 9, 2023 | Music, Personal, Server administration, Technology | 0 comments

The cost of living is increasing. So I’m tightening my belt. Are you? Let me know what changes you are making.

One of the changes I have made lately is to remove my dependence on cloud services such as Spotify, iCloud, Google drive etc. There’s a handy feature in my online banking interface that highlights discressionary spending habits. It pointed out about six months ago that I was spending quite a bit for the family on cloud services. So I decided right then and there to fix this madness.

So today is about music. Why am I paying spotify every month? Why am I paying for Apple iCloud and music when there’s such major overlap here? It was just an organic waste that I let sit for far too long. So. What do I really need from a music service?

  • Always accessible
  • Must work with native IOS apps
  • Must work with Sonos
  • Must have a great search function
  • Must let me listen to all tracks at random
  • Must have a nice UI that my wife and children can use
  • Nice to have is multi user access and listening history
  • It also needs to have the usual thing of cover art, playlists, staring / ranking and all the other things you expect from a music service.

Down side: There were some artists that I listened to on Spotify and / or Apple music and I hadn’t yet bought their albums. I’m rather ashamed of this actually. I always make a point of purchasing music from artists that I enjoy. But I had gotten out of the habit lately. so I spent about two hundred Euro on music when I was making this change. I know what you’re going to say. This went completely against my aim to save money. But I promise you dear reader, I would have purchased that music anyway. At some point.

I tried a few services. Navidrome probably came the closest to meeting all my needs but it had one huge flaw. It didn’t support randomly shuffling all my tracks. I might be a bit strange, but I like to just sit down at my desk in the morning and let the music go where ever it wants. One moment it’s playing a slow air. Next it’s playing a mad fast tune with lots of energy. I enjoy it this way.

I settled on Airsonic advanced. It supports Sonos with some messing about and it fits the bill in every other way. It’s not often updated which will probably become a problem but there are a few other projects in the works out there that will hopefully meet my requirements in a year or two.

I had a few challenges:

  • I want my music to be stored on the NAS in my home. Not on the server.
  • My music has a lot of accented characters. I had major problems with mounting the Cifs file system and having those accented characters displayed correctly. I ended up writing a little bit of PowerShell that I ran from my main workstation to just clean up the accented characters. I will paste that below for anyone who wants it.
  • When I add new music, I need to run that script again. I also need to restart the docker container. Just because of the way I configured the mount. It’s probably not the most optomal solution. But it works and it’s really fast.
  • The Sonos configuration is a bit fiddly. But it’s not imporssible. Just be really careful when setting it up.

Other than that, it was all easy.


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