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A hypothetical story to set the scene:

Me and a bunch of roommates all share a house. Being at a local technical college, we each have our own personal computers (primarily macOS) and some of us are fairly computer savvy and have set up a home server with a ton of storage where we store our music library with all of our music on it.

Some of us would like to be able to create playlists with music from this central library and download it to our own computers/phones so it is accessible when we leave the house. Is there an app that allows us to do this while also keeping the central library updated in case someone buys a new CD and imports it?

Essentially, we are looking for an app that:

  • is self-hostable and/or able to be installed on everyone's individual machines
  • would allow everyone to browse, make playlists from, and download songs to build their own personal libraries
  • adds new songs to the central library when new music gets added to someones personal library

iTunes seems to do this very well for one person, however when multiple users use the same shared network folder, iTunes wont see content added by another iTunes instance unless you manually rescan everything. iTunes also doesn't seem to support "saving for offline use" in this network based configuration

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  • Hi. Please how did you solve this?
    – Z Z
    Sep 22, 2023 at 14:14
  • I havent yet found/seen anything. Its not really super high on my list. Maybe theres some software thats designed for digital libraries lending out audio that coupd maybe be repurposed, but this is a fairly complicated usecase Sep 23, 2023 at 15:03

2 Answers 2

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If everyone runs their own Plex server, they can host their own music library, build their own playlists, stream it to the Plex (or Plexamp) player on their phone, and share it with their plex-friends (who can each also build their own playlists). Plex users can also download content to their phones for offline use.

I'm not positive the sharing is quite the model you want - you seem to want a 'central library' but the Plex model is everyone has a personal library that can be shared with friends.

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  • is there a model that might work better? the idea is to have music centralized/deduplicated on network attached storage, but still allow people to download their favorite songs so their media player apps still work when they are not connected to the home network (without exposing the music collection to the internet or requiring everyone to use a VPN and always stream their music Jun 4, 2021 at 8:00
  • The Plex mobile app (and the Plex AMP) allow for offline syncing, isn't that what you're looking for?
    – Lockszmith
    Aug 31, 2021 at 15:28
  • @DeveloperACE if you have all the music centralized, you can run Navidrome navidrome.org to serve the music to your housemates and create playlists. The client could be the Navidrome PWA which runs in a Web browser. Alternatively there are many Clients that can run on Android, IoS, Windows, MacOs, etc. The clients enable local downloads.
    – Z Z
    May 30, 2022 at 10:44
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I think that https://ampache.org/ fills most of your requirements. About the playlist, I am guessing here that you would like to own the playlist modifications but allow other listen to them.

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  • The idea was to allow each user to be able to manage the playlists in their own library but all share the same underlying set of music files, ideally id like something local/not web based, but this looks interesting. thanks! Feb 12 at 19:22

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