I have a personal digital music library at home over 500 GB in size, and, yes, it is all either ripped from CDs I own or purchased from legitimate sources. It’s too large to carry around on an iPod or to have replicated on my office computer for when I want to listen to some obscure piece or other.
Over the past few years I have tried virtually every piece of software that has come out for streaming music from my home Macintosh to a remote location. A few I have used: Simplify Media (the first and most popular; acquired by Google); ootunes (works pretty well, but tries to do too much, you have to mess around with router settings, opening ports to make it work, and it has a very unpolished user interface); lala.com (you had to upload your music to their servers and then were able to stream it to a web page; you could buy “tracks” for $.10 that you didn’t own but could stream as much as you want; you could also buy and download the tracks; didn’t work well for classical music/multi-disk sets; acquired by Apple and put out of business.) There have been others, now lost in the mists of time and technology.
The latest of these services that I have found, and the best so far is audiogalaxy.com. It’s been around for a while, in a previous incarnation, but the current version streams from your own home (or wherever) machine, using a tiny piece of server software that runs in the background. And—best of all—it just works. No need to change router settings; the preference settings are minimal: pointing out your music library. It defaults to iTunes and uses the iTunes playlists, although you can choose other music folders if you wish. There are apps for iPhone/iPod Touch and Android. (I’ve used both, and they work really well). And you can listen from the audiogalaxy web site to stream your own music. It is not trying to stream internet radio, video, or other sources. It does one thing really well, streaming music. (My home ISP is Time-Warner cable, average home speed, so nothing very fast.) The listening experience at a remote site (even on cellular 3G service) is steady, with very few drop-outs. Audiogalaxy uses the cover art embedded into the sound file. It streams a variety of file formats, but no DRM protected files.
There is a limit of 200,000 songs, but even with my large library, I’m nowhere near that. If you want to, you can sign up for audiogalaxy using your Facebook credentials, but to their credit, audiogalaxy doesn’t add anything to your Facebook feed unless you want them to. Audiogalaxy is still in beta. A feature that will eventually become available is the ability to browse other audiogalaxy users’ collection. You can disable this function. You can also have audiogalaxy automatically display correct tagging information, even if your tags are incorrect. It doesn’t, however, make any changes to your music files.
If you’re looking for an easy way to listen to your home music library remotely, I highly recommend audiogalaxy.