A few days ago, a friend of mine (thanks Mark!) brought a fantastic piece of software to my attention. It’s called Subsonic and it basically allows you to stream your music collection over the Internet to a streaming capable device. You’ll need a Windows, Mac or Linux computer to act as the streaming server and a computer with a modern web browser or an Android or iPhone device.
So what does it look like?
From a user interface perspective, this isn’t too bad at all. You have the artist selection list down the left side whilst albums show up in the main part of the window. When you select an album, the song show up in the bottom pane. You can stream right from the browser or stream from your favourite media player software (so Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp, etc). I also love how the album art is presented as well as the ability to pull in the lyrics so you can sing along. (for better or for worse). There is also a facility to handle podcasts too which is an interesting addition.
So, why would you bother with such a solution when you can take a fair whack of your music with you on an iPod, iPhone or another MP3 device?
That’s a good question.
Certainly, I can see uses for this sort of technology if you don’t have an MP3 player and you want to have access to your music from remote locations. Similarly, if you have a compatible device that doesn’t have a huge amount of storage but some sort of wireless connectivity (be it 3G or WiFi) this could prove useful. Otherwise, if your workplace frown upon MP3 players being used at your desk, you could always stream over the Internet to your computer without a music device in sight (which would probably be enough to placate those in the upper echelons of management).
Otherwise, it’d be a great way to turn any Internet connected and audio capable computer into a virtual jukebox without having to carry around devices and/or cables (and it sucks having to carry different kinds of cables on the off chance you might need it).
If you are feeling adventurous, give it a shot. You might need to do some configuration to get it working properly but looks promising once you get things going.