Roll My Own Streaming Music Service? How To?

I’ve been doing the MP3 thing for 25 years or so, ripping CDs to 128kbps MP3s back in the late 90s! I’ve built up quite the impression collection of legally owned music, if I do say so myself, including many playlists that I adore.

The problem with my music workflow is I can’t “stream” it to different devices easily. I can only get it on one single mac plus iOS devices connected/synced to that one mac. Right now I’m typing on my laptop and I can’t access my music collection unless I pull out my iPod Touch because my main source of music collection truth is my iMac. The second problem is backup. Getting the songs again is less challenging than rebuilding dozens of carefully curated playlists.

I want to avoid paid-streaming services because I don’t want another monthly bill, I don’t care much for new music and add relatively few songs to my ~7,000 track library each year, and if the service shuts down, I don’t want to rebuild my playlists elsewhere.

What I’d love is a way to roll my own streaming solution where I host the music somewhere on a cloud server and can access it from any of my devices, including playlists. As an alternative discussion point, I’d also like to explore backup options if this streaming thing isn’t viable.

Most likely I’ll just stick to always having an iOS device with me nearby and using that to stream music to either my headphones or whatever smart speakers are nearby. That’s okay, I’ll live.

Here’s the backup options I have considered:

Upload everything to Google Music’s free match thing. I haven’t tried it in a while but it used to be all free and work similarly to Apple’s paid match thing.

As a second backup, upload all of the audio files to Amazon Glacier. I don’t use backblaze or any of those services nor do I want to because I have some pretty confidential client work product on my machines and I would accidentally upload that I’m sure! Also, the monthly cost. I think with Amazon Glacier, I pay a very low fee once to upload it and then it sits there possibly forever and I pay a small fee to download it if I need the backup.

Third backup, of course is a thumb drive stored offsite. And fourth/fifth backups are every iOS device I have that syncs my entire collection. I buy the biggest size possible, my iPod Touch has 256GB.

For the playlists, I can export XML files from iTunes of the lists and store those in plain text on various cloud services. I run my playlists with metadata, in the comments I write (Playlist Name) and then use Smart Playlists in iTunes to dynamically build a list where the comments include that string. And if one song is in multiple playlists I just put them in the comments delimited by their own parenthesis (Playlist 1)(Playlist 2)(Playlist 3).

I’ve put a lot of time into this over the years it’s a fun hobby! What tips or suggestions can the group share to help make this better and secure for the long term?

Have you looked into Plex? It might be overkill for just music, but it will work and should you want to set up your own streaming service for your locally stores films and TV shows later it’s perfect for that too.


Seconding Plex. If you want to avoid the recurring fees of a subscription service, the lifetime pass is an investment upfront, but you get access to everything.

“Thirding” plex! I think this will solve your issues.
Get the lifetime pass (there’s frequent discounts) and you’re off to the races


Another vote for Plex. I got a lifetime subscription many years ago and use it all the time. I initially started to use it for the DVDs I had started to convert but quickly began adding my music library after iTunes managed to stop seeing over half of my music library. Now any music I buy (either CD or tracks brought online from Amazon, Apple, etc.) get copied straight to Plex.

I am assuming that you have got all of the metadata and artwork embedded into your music tracks? If so then Plex should just be able to scrape all of the info from the files as it populates your library.

Another vote for Plex… And the new version of the Plexamp app (iOS and MacOS) is pretty cool.

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I used plex a while back and stopped because it was overly complex for my needs at the time and using vlc on iOS and air playing to my Apple TV seemed easier. For video files I download, at least. Also there was a privacy policy debacle that made me dislike them a while back, unsure how that got resolved but they changed terms to make it less consumer friendly.

I’m willing to Give plex another shot! How does the server work? Do I just keep it installed on a Mac mini 24/7 and then wherever in the world I am, will plex find the IP address of my Mac mini and serve files up to me?

What if I have a family member, can I give them the plex crednetials and have them stream my media remotely?

Just install the server app on your Mac and point it to the folders where your media is. The Mac and the Plex software must be running for the Plex apps to see your media.

You need a Plex account to access your media outside of your network. This can be a free or paid account. This will route your media outside of your network to allow access anywhere you are. You will need to open a port on your router (default is 32400) and send TCP data to the local IP address where the Plex server is installed.

You can create multiple accounts on your Plex server so that others can access your media. I have done this for my Dad so that he can watch media from my server in his house.

what privacy policy debacle are you referring to?

Just to suggest something unique, have you heard of Plex :wink: Seriously for the most simple and trouble free experience, along with the great app design of the new Plexamp playback app you might find this is the answer without having to invest more than about 30 minutes.

some really great hidden features in the Plexamp music app (you can also use the normal Plex app), like how many degrees of seperation for recommendations, full control over quality and download state and most of all a really clean uncluttered design that Apple Music could learn a thing or two from.

Here are some screen shots.


Plex removed the ability to opt out of data analytic collection. Honestly they’ve been dead to me since then since I’ve been a victim of cyber stalking.

It looks like they quickly reversed course but like I said when a company changes their privacy policy for the worst, I jump ship immediately. I vote with my heels!

I almost sold all of my sonos speakers recently but they immediately reversed course too before I had a chance to list them on offered!

That looks amazing I will give it a try!

It sounds like you can download all the music locally to the device too?

I’ve been in your shoes you main options re iCloud Match, Plex, or Emby. I use iCloud March. $25/ year. Worth it as no other app will,give your powerful smart playlists.