Going Subsonic

By | Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 9:10 am

Ok, MOG is out.  After a thorough analysis of the app and the service itself, I have decided to drop it.  I have found several services now that offer the same “on-demand” music streaming, all have millions of songs, and offer their own variation of the same features.  These include Rhapsody, Napster, and a few others.  So there really isn’t a lack of this ability available, and they are all around the same price, about $10/month, so they compete fairly evenly.

One of the hitches with MOG (and probably the others as well) is that you can only be logged into one device at a time. Since all of our family’s devices use the same accounts, I set it up on all of them, but if I start MOG on my phone and Kevin happens to be listening to it, Kevin gets bumped off the service, and vice versa. Very annoying. At least one of the other services offer an upgraded tier of $15/month for use on up to 3 devices at once, so at least there’s an option out there, but still pricey.  Also, the MOG app on the Android seems a bit buggy. I often get bumped off of the service when I know Kevin and Sandy aren’t using it, and other times it just stops streaming mysteriously and hangs.

Since I’m a long-time Slacker subscriber, and still am, I’ll stick with it for awhile and see how their on-demand service works when it finally comes out (if ever).  Meanwhile, I’ve discovered an amazing alternative! SUBSONIC! It’s a music streaming server (yes, I said “server” not “service”) that you install on your own computer, and it streams your entire music collection (and much more!) to any of your devices! Since everything is served from your own PC, you don’t have to rely on any other service for your access.  And the price?  Free for 2 weeks, then you have to make one small donation (of any amount) to get a permanent license.  That’s it, and you never pay another fee.  The Android app is free too, and written by the same developer who wrote the Subsonic server itself.  The iPod apps (there are two or three currently available for the iPhone) are around $4.99, but that’s a one-time fee as well.  These were written by other developers, and I think they may support a few other services and/or servers as well as Subsonic.  The one we’re using on our iPods is “Z-Subsonic”.

So Subsonic gives us all full access to everything we have on every device we use, for a total of a few dollars!  It works great, and I have yet to see the apps crash–on any device.  The apps give you a lot of options too–you can adjust the amount of space to reserve for your cache, you can set how many songs to pre-cache, etc., and even subscribe to Podcasts on the server and it handles downloading those automatically and serving them up on your devices.  You can even setup as many user accounts on the server as you want, each with their own restrictions (or full admin freedom), and use those accounts on any device as you want to.

It is really nice (and comforting) to know we can be anywhere–even right at the desk on our home PC serving up the music–and we can drop an iPod into a sound dock and stream any album or playlist we want, instantly.  No more sync’ing, iTunes, or space issues on any of the devices!