How can I stream my music to all my devices?

Kyle Santos
Kyle Santos used Ask the Experts™
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I recently found a bunch of my cds of music I've gathered over a couple decades.  I have imported them all into my Macbook's iTunes.  I looked for a short time to see if iTunes can do what I want, but it seems like the files have to be physically on the devices to do this.  Or I have to turn on Home Sharing.  Meh.  Not really a solution I'm looking for.  I didn't see an option to put them in the cloud and then stream to my devices?  Did I miss that?

Ideally, I would like to put the files in the cloud and then access those songs from my devices.  Essentially, I'm asking for a way to stream my music, right?  I'm new to Plex and imagine that can do what I want it to if I install the Plex client on all my devices and buy Plex Pass, but wanted to know if there is another option I should look into?  
What have you used and recommend?

(If you've experience with Plex Pass please share your experience!)

I have a Macbook, iPhone, Apple TV, Roku and iPad.

Thank you for looking.
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Doug WaltonDatabase Administrator
Commented:
I did something similar with google play music years ago, just checked and all my music is still there and seems to work!

https://support.google.com/googleplaymusic/answer/1143668?hl=en

You can add up to 50,000 songs to Google Play Music from your personal music collection using Google Play Music for Chrome or Music Manager (up to 300MB per song). Once you've added your music, you can listen to it through the Google Play Music app and on your computer.

Music purchased from the Google Play Store doesn't count towards your song limit.

Would that work for you or are you determined to get it working with Plex?  I believe you could also run plex for free on your own computer to stream music to other devices, but it would need to be powered on to stream and you would need to do some router configuration to access it from out of the house.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Would that work for you or are you determined to get it working with Plex?
Honestly, I'm willing to line up a few services to test to see which works best for me, then I'll add more and more music and possibly videos later.

I believe you could also run plex for free on your own computer to stream music to other devices, but it would need to be powered on to stream and you would need to do some router configuration to access it from out of the house.
You know, I heard that, but didn't venture there yet to give it a chance.  I wanted to see if there are just other music streaming services options out there before I dove right into Plex and bought a subscription.  I'll be sure to add Google Play to my list of things to try in this endeavor.  

I'm hoping for more suggestions.
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Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Did you try the recommendation from Apple or do I miss a detail in your question?
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT205919
https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204926
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJxi9WfQdSY
I missed this option.  Thanks I will look into that too!
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8136482

You need to pay for Apple Music subscription if you want to use iCloud Music Library.

I am using Google Play Music free subscription. It is good to be free but the streaming may not work for some songs for unknown reasons.

Are you running MS Windows in bootcamp partition or using Parallels Desktop? If yes, sign up for Spotify and install Spotify desktop app in MS Windows and you can sync the songs to your mobile devices.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Thanks, Jackie.  I will check that out.  I have been mulling it over whether to get bootcamp again.  My ssd is only 250GB so space is limited at this time.  I'll definitely consider that though!
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010
Commented:
There are more ways to stream music.

1. Buy a NAS/router which has iTunes media server feature and upload your songs to the NAS or external HDD attached to the router

2. Amazon Music but the free service only allows you to upload 250 songs

3. Get a hosting plan which has media streaming feature and unlimited bandwidth

4. Upload your songs to Dropbox.com and stream the music from your Dropbox account.
Jackie Man IT Manager
Top Expert 2010

Commented:
Actually, there are many cloud based solutions which can do what you want.

Do you have a budget?
Brandon LyonWeb Developer/Designer

Commented:
If you're an audiophile then one thing to remember is that all of the streaming services encode their music differently and stream at different bitrates. A personal server using something like OneCloud, Kodi, or Plex are the only ways to ensure that the music you play back is exactly as you encoded it originally.

Another thing to consider is the app software you'll be integrating with. Services such as Google Music allow you to download for offline sync. That option might not be available with other self-hosted streaming services.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Thanks, Brandon, that's really good to know.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Do you have a budget?
Probably want to keep it under $10 a month.
Lucas BishopMarketing Technologist

Commented:
Not really a solution, but a solution that is going away. Amazon has a similar service to Google Music (the one recommended by Doug), but they are discontinuing it:
https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/12/amazon-music-ends-mp3-upload-support-will-end-music-storage-service-in-2019/

Traditionally I've used Google Music & Dropbox (when they were giving away 50GB accts for free) to store my old mp3s. I've pretty much abandoned all of those as it's rare that I can't find a song on Spotify that I'm looking for.

Today if I were to setup what you're looking to do. I'd get an old computer, throw a cheap multi-TB drive in it and run Plex (free version) on it.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Amazon has a similar service to Google Music (the one recommended by Doug), but they are discontinuing it:
Yeah saw that.

Today if I were to setup what you're looking to do. I'd get an old computer, throw a cheap multi-TB drive in it and run Plex (free version) on it.
That's ultimately what I wanted to try, but I think I would have to have Plex Pass if I go outside of my local network.  If I was going to listen to all my music locally then that would already be solved, but I won't always be local to my network where that computer would running.  Right?
Brandon LyonWeb Developer/Designer
Commented:
I used to run a Subsonic server at home for streaming my music. There are apps for it too. IIRC the premium version is for them hosting it vs you hosting it for free on a computer at your home. http://www.subsonic.org/pages/index.jsp

The downside to hosting your own server is that you are hosting your own server. You have to maintain the hardware. If the power goes out then you have to make sure your router and server get turned on and are working correctly. If a software update breaks something you have to fix it. If a hard drive dies you have to replace it. It'll work fine 99% of the time but every once in a while you have to make sure it works. Electricity isn't free either.

If you're on vacation and your server goes down... you lose access to your music streaming and only you know how to fix it but you can't fix it because you aren't there.

I still think a server is worth running, just be aware that there are downsides.
Marketing Technologist
Commented:
You don't need a paid account for remote network access in Plex:
https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200289506-Remote-Access

It does sound like the mobile apps have a one-time cost associated with them though:
https://www.plex.tv/features/music/
app-cost-plex.png
Could you estimate the total number of songs and/or the total size for all songs together?
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
600-700 songs.
6-7gb.
Forget the last one.
"The service has been discontinued as of 1st of December 2017"
http://www.stylejukebox.com/index.html
Brandon LyonWeb Developer/Designer

Commented:
One more thing I remembered. You might want a music storage service compatible with your voice assistant of choice. For example, if I stored my music in the Google cloud then I could not stream it on my Amazon Echo.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Makes sense.  Thanks for the additional links.  I found more CDs and imported those this weekend.  Unfortunately, there was an emergency at home so I could not start trying these recommendations.  I will try to get to the suggestions and start trying them shortly.  Thanks again!
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
I have not been able to try the suggestions yet.  Sorry for the delay.  I've been dealing with the aftermath of a flooded kitchen.  I will give this a go as soon as I have more time.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
I have a kitchen again.  I will have time to try out these suggestions this weekend.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
I was able to look into this this weekend and ended going up with Lucas' option.  It was a one time purchase on my iPhone for $4.99 to be able to install Plex app and login with my Plex account.  I found my music files on my MacBook ( https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204668 ) and moved them to a shared folder on a PC.  This PC is where I have all my videos as well.  I have a terabyte hard drive in there for my content.  I ran some tests streaming my music from the PC to my iPhone and it went very well and no lag at all.  Since I have unlimited data plan* with Verizon, I won't have any issue with data caps.  My ISP recently upped residential speeds ( https://www.experts-exchange.com/posts/3822/Charter-has-upgraded-their-Internet-speed-from-60MB-s-to.html ) too so I imagine that helps with faster upload speeds.

Thanks everyone for your comments.  I appreciate you working with me to find a resolution to my problem.

*Nothing is really unlimited.  Verizon says speeds may suffer if I go over 23GB a month.  I've never done that before or even come close.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
I am really enjoying Plex.  The interface is definitely my favorite part.  Its so clean and easy to access.


Screenshot_1.png
Lucas BishopMarketing Technologist

Commented:
The Plex app for Playstation/Roku is really slick too.
Kyle SantosSoftware Test Analyst I at Dassault Systemes

Author

Commented:
Oh yeah, that's where I started (Roku).  I've since branched out to my iPhone and PC.  Its great!

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