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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Linux Software for Listening to and Exploring Music

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2013 21:09:07 -0300

This is a description of my current setup for listening to music, focussing on
the computer / software side.  I'm writing this down because I'm pretty happy
with what I have, but suspect other people aren't aware how good things can
be.


Metadata

All my music is stored on my computer as (high-quality, mainly) mp3s.  Tracks
are grouped into directories by album, and albums are grouped by artist.

  * Every track has artist, track and album information stored in ID3 tags.  I
    use kid3 to set these values.  http://kid3.sourceforge.net/

  * I use easytag to rename and move files to the correct location
    http://projects.gnome.org/easytag/

  * And I use mp3diags to fix any strange errors in the files
    http://mp3diags.sourceforge.net/


Streaming

To play music I use mpd.  This runs on my computer, cataloges the music, and
streams data to ALSA (the Linux sound system).
http://mpd.wikia.com/wiki/Music_Player_Daemon_Wiki

Mpd doesn't have a GUI, so you need another program to control it.  From my
destop and laptop computers I use a program called ncmpcpp which is very
flexible, but will look terribly old-fashioned to many (it's a text-like
interface).  http://ncmpcpp.rybczak.net/

I also use MPDroid as an interface from a Nexus 7 tablet.  That is a much
prettier interface.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.namelessdev.mpdroid&hl=en

To provide album art to MPDroid I use a program I wrote myself, called id3img.
https://github.com/andrewcooke/id3img


Hardware

The music is sent to a Music Fidelity V-Link, which is a small box that
appears to Linux as a USB sound card.  It buffers the data and then converts
it to an optical signal that is sent to an AudioEngine D2.  That streams the
music over WiFi to various amplifiers around my house.


Exploration

All the above is fine, but if you have access to a lot of music you can easily
become overwhelmed by the choice, forgetting what is available, and listening
to only a small set of songs.

To address this I wrote some programs that, together, are called UYKFG and
which do the following https://github.com/andrewcooke/uykfg 

  * Catalogue the music, using the ID3 tags

  * Cross-reference the ID3 data with EchoNest  http://echonest.com/

  * Use EchoNest's related artists to generate playlists of related music

  * Use EchoNest's tags to display the music available in various ways
    and to generate filtered playlists (eg 50 tracks tags "southern rock",
    but not tagged "rock-pop").

I also record all the music I play to last.fm, so that I have a permanent
record (useful when you wonder "what was that track I listened to this
morning?").  http://www.last.fm


Summary

This gives me good quality music, around the house, with the ability to
program playlists for a particular sound, or just to have a radio-like stream
of similar (but slowly changing) music.  I never get bored of it :o)


Andrew

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