Like most people, music plays an important role in my life. It’s a part of my being, and provides me with juice and does so much more, to list them all would take up the next two hours of reading and still not completely explain how much it impacts me.
The Birth Of A Great Solution
One day, over a cup of my favorite beverage, I was listening to Pandora, and suddenly realized that I was at the mercy of what they played for me. I pondered the thought for a while, and it soon became apparent that I was just another listener, willingly listening to the stream of advertising. Being the kind of person I am, I said “This should be ad-free, and I shouldn’t have to pay to have it ad-free.”
Now, I understand that in order for musicians to make any money, they’ve got to be paid for their work. I also understand there’s an entire conglomerate of folks that rely on charging a fee to allow folks to listen to the music the authors produce. And, there’s another group (quite large) who’s sole job is to enforce this belief that all music listened to should collect a fee of some kind, and if it isn’t then they release their army of lawyers to make sure the money is paid. It’s how the industry works, and I get it — however, that doesn’t address what my real issue was.
Addressing The Solution
One thing’s for sure, I want to hear my music when I want. I want to hear my music. I want to hear it without hearing something else appended to it. I want to hear it without having to click, swipe, load, speak or tell anything specific details like “Alexa.. play my country music”. (She’s another blog in the writing altogether about the dangers of Alexa). I do not like green eggs and ham, Sam I am..
Here’s the keys to the solution I wanted:
- It has be accessible through any device. Phone, Pc or application like iTunes.
- It has to be accessible anywhere there is an internet connection; Wifi, Cellular etc.
- It has to be fast, and reliable.
- It has to provide me with information about what I’m hearing. I like to know the Artist, Song Title and some information about both.
- It has to be available to anyone who I share it with, in the same manner, easily used, and as simple as a link.
For years I’ve listened to streaming radio from folks who host their own radio stations. Some giant corporate monstrosities who simply stream the content they send over the traditional FM airwaves, others from the Shoutcast directory. It is a great way to discover new music, and expand your tastes and find new and exciting music to add to your collections. Even with the wide variety of stations, links, podcasts, and whatever means to get to hear it, I still found myself back at “Addressing The Solution”. It just wasn’t fitting the bill, so to speak.
One dreary Sunday, sitting before my coding machine, I decided to begin the quest for a perfect solution for me. After scouring several blogs, websites, links, articles and assorted PDF’s about streaming audio I was convinced that I now know what I had to do – build it myself or I would never be truly satisfied.
Setting Goals & Priorities
The most important piece of the puzzle was simple, but elusive at first. How to go about setting up the infrastructure to give me what I needed to begin building this dream?
From my research, I came up with the following options:
- Subsonic – a free, web-based media streamer, providing ubiquitous access to your music. Use it to share your music with friends, or to listen to your own music while at work. You can stream to multiple players simultaneously, for instance to one player in your kitchen and another in your living room. I found it cumbersome, and didn’t give me all the love I wanted.
- IceCast – a streaming media server which currently supports Ogg Vorbis and MP3 audio streams. It can be used to create an Internet radio station or a privately running jukebox and many things in between.
IceCast showed excellent promise. I went with it, and followed a shit-ton of HOW-TO’s to learn how I can install it, configure it and use it. I failed miserably. Nothing worked, and sometimes it would work, and without reason it would die. Then I found a simpler, more power solution right under my nose.
ShoutCast server was the ticket.
I followed this simple tutorial and lo-and behold, I was in business! But that was only the spark which sent me down a path which inspired me to grow this into a bigger project. One that would expand my programming skillset by leaps and bounds and find myself so far outside the box I thought I’d never get back in.
The Rest Of The Story
In order to provide the story, I have to break it up into sections which you’ll find in my blog section.