Thursday, June 09, 2005

My Music Solution

Like everyone else in the world (it seems), I've tried a variety of methods for getting my music to the right place at the right time. For the most part I only listen to music at work. I don't have an iPod and I don't stream music around the house. I actually do own an Audiotron, but that has turned out to be more trouble than it is worth. So my problem is pretty simple, how do I keep my music in sync between work and home?

I've pretty much settled on keeping copies of my entire collection in two places. Streaming music from a server at home simply didn't work, so with one long scp session I copied my entire collection over to work. Now a simple rsync will keep the two collections in sync.

Somehow I wasn't satisfied, I had to take things to the next level. Buying CDs seems so dated to me so I started looking into services like iTunes. While iTunes is very cool, it completely fails in my situation. iTunes wants to manage your music collection, not help you synchronize it across multiple machines. There aren't many other solutions out there that would let me buy music and keep everything in sync across multiple systems. I entertained the idea of getting an iPod and letting that be the master of all music, but I figured I could solve this problem for a lot less $$.

So, I bit the bullet and decided to try Yahoo! Music. It's kind of like leasing music for a month fee (about $7 if you pay month to month). You have full access to their entire catalog (which is good enough for now) and can play any song, any time. You can even download music to your machine, so it can be played when you are offline. On top of that you can transfer music to certain mp3 players (no, not iPods). The only time you'll pay more than your monthly fee is if you want to burn the music to a CD. In that case you pay about $.79/song, or some reasonable price for the entire album.

Yahoo! Music seems great, right? Well, almost. The problem is that it is for Windows only and now that I spend more time commuting by bike, I tend to leave my laptop at home and use a Linux desktop at work. I'm trying to figure out ways around this, but I think I'm either going to have to haul my laptop around today or cancel my subscription.


At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I put my music on my linux server at home, and at my linux desktop at work. I play it at both ends on a Windows box with Winamp. My music is all ripped at a high-quality VBR setting.

I use wget to keep them synced, because it handles rate limiting and such very well.

I've only been using MP3s for 6+ years, and I finally sorted out the singles I enjoy listening to. Piping them through lame gives me some smaller copies I can use when on the road.

My constraint for a portable player was for it to be non-harddrive based. This is for two reasons- mainly, too much vibration and shock on a motorcycle. Second, it's impossible to get a HD player with non-proprietary batteries.

I'd switch to wma for my portable player (due to smaller file sizes), but lame doesn't encode to it. Oh well, I can fit 500 songs in just over 1gb of space on my portable. These same songs take 3.1gb in the high-quality format.

-tedder, ex mp3.commer

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Doug W said...

I guess that raises another issue with my setup.. all of my music is in WMA format.

At 8:20 AM, Anonymous drew said...

I've wrestled with the problem as well. How to share music within my house as between my house and work. To complicate the problem (or simplify it), we've recently started swapping out all of our linux boxes for Macs. If iTunes only had a linux client.. life would be so much easier.

Here are two of the solutions that I've played with. If you have iTunes at both locations, you can cheat the sharing bit and fool iTunes into sharing the music with a remote computer. Here is a decent link describing it:

The second option is to to do something like this:

Other possibilities that I havent had time to investigate are:

Or just go to Sourceforge and search for iTunes. I'm betting that a Java clone of iTunes, if done right, should solve my problems.

Hope this helps...

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Jim Carson said...

It's kind of frustrating. I had a Sony Clie, but it was problematic (Sony doesn't like mp3 for some reason). The display was mangled when I accidentally dropped it, thus I'm gun-shy at the idea of getting a hard-disk based iPod.

I've got all of my good stuff digitized into mp3 format. I'll periodically dump large chunks onto DVDs and sync up my machines at each end. However, my car only uses basic CD format. I can fry mixes, but the CDs aren't very durable.

Oh, I also use winamp because it's less obtrusive and less intrusive than Real (no upsells), and doesn't try to force its own concept of organization on my collection.


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