Get back in touch with your music collection

Welcome, you have arrived at a hobby site containing discussion and free open source software for people with moderately large music collections, or with a strong interest in listening to music.

Common themes found here are:

  • tools and strategies allowing you to engage with your music collection with more intimacy, just as you could when it was smaller, and your choice of listening platforms was more limited
  • tools to allow you to better integrate your own music collection with a music streaming service
  • and tools to assist the dinosaurs amongst us; those of us who still inhabit the album era by listening to whole albums as a general preferance

Much of this is aided by the collection, and use, of your play history, aggregated from across all of the devices and locations where you listen to music.

Large stack of cds
… Musical hide and go seek
… A “Magical Mystery Tour”
My own interest in my play history comes, not so much from any personal need to produce my own Hit Parade, but more from a desire to be able to identify and browse from a filtered view showing my growing list of tracks or albums which have fallen out of recent rotation. This aids engagement with a large music collection, by bringing it back to a more intimate scale. It gives me better browsing, and therefore enjoyment of the whole breadth of a music collection.

For this site to be of much interest you would probably need to be a customer of, or open to, at least one or more of the following companies:

  • www.Last.fm – a great free, Internet based, service which can aggregate all your music play counts from across most listening platforms. It can graphically chart your play history, and analyse your musical taste to suggest new artists, or put you in touch with people with similar likes. But it can’t identify those of your own albums which have fallen out of recent rotation, as it doesn’t know which albums you actually own or have a strong interest in
  • MediaMonkey – a nice PC-based facility for ripping, browsing, cataloguing and tagging your music collection. It knows what you own, but doesn’t know which items you have recently listened to via the multitude of music listening platforms available to you
  • Google Play Music – a generous offer to store & stream, at no charge, up to 50,000 of your own tracks, … which could be added to their subscription streaming library of 30+ million tracks … but hampered by a hall of shame playlist building facility
  • Sonos HiFi system – seriously good kit, with rock-solid multi-room sharing and synchronising facilities, but with disappointing problems … no access to your play history, and lame browsing facilities
  • Microsoft – AlbumPlays runs on a Windows PC, although Sonos owners may run the play detection component on a small cheap Linux device to avoid the need to keep a PC running

The software and discussion here pertains to the above vendors, addressing the following deficits with workarounds and options.

  • obtain your album and track play counts either:
    • import them from www.last.fm, whose free service can aggregate your play history from across a wide range of music platforms, including your PC-based players, many mobile music players and streaming services, as well as any Sonos units you may own
    • or, if you are a Sonos owner, you can harvest your play history directly from any Sonos players, and selectively import any non-Sonos plays from your Last.fm account
  • store your album and track plays either:
    • into your MediaMonkey database
    • or elsewhere on your PC in raw format, creating potential for importation into some database or application other than AlbumPlays or MediaMonkey
    • and for Sonos owners; there is the option to replace the Sonos facility to report plays counts to Last.fm, because the native Sonos behaviour has some unfortunate limitations such as loss of control, loss of information, and a limitation of just one Last.fm account per household
  • use your play history
    • with AlbumPlays you can design, and auto-refresh, multi-targeted playlists, suitable for use in any or all of the following situations:
      • at home using your Sonos, your PC, or your mobile device
      • or while travelling with your music on a WiFi or USB disk drive
      • or while commuting, streaming from Google Play Music (including your own tracks)
    • use MediaMonkey to design and browse your own custom indices to sort or filter your music collection; for example:
      • albums that you haven’t heard for a year
      • or albums you have only heard once, and not for at least six months
      • or your albums by Artist, sub-sorted by date last played, or play frequency
  • integration with your Google Play Music library
    • design playlists using MediaMonkey’s superior facilities, and have AlbumPlays publish them directly into your Google Play library
    • use AlbumPlays to adopt your favourite tracks or albums from Google; these will be automatically added into your MediaMaonkey database, so you may track their plays, and use them in playlists, just as you do with your own tracks

Interested? …. here is a short overview of the benefits available