Streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have truly taken over the world. But their increase in growth is directly proportional to the emerging dissent regarding the limitations of these streaming services. And I agree that there’s no perfect network media solution for everyone. People who love the old ways of sharing files and maintaining their dedicated media server will find it hard to come to terms with modern streaming services.
These servers are similar to the HTTP servers except that they have a dedicated interface and they come with a host of unique and independent features. People with strong media collection often prefer these software types over streaming services.
Imagine a family with important data – a strong media collection and they want to enjoy it on a curated platform. Not only do they want to secure their data, but they also want to reorganize and streamline all the data into specific folders. Here’s where software such as Ampache comes in – helping you store, organize, and access your local files in a seamless manner.
Before we move towards understanding Ampache, you might be wondering why do you need a music server?
Why build a music server?
Before mumble there was Memphis, before Memphis there was RnB, before RnB there was metal, before metal there was old-school rap, before old-school rap there was Rock. What I’ m trying to say is that our generations today can be diversified based upon their music taste. And regardless of which era we love, we like to hold on to our collection from those days. Do you get my point? Each individual in a family has a specific music taste and it’s hard to maintain your own personal catalog of music.
What is Ampache?
Ampache is a free media server as well as a web-based audio file manager and software. The term Ampache is inspired by the words ‘Amplifier’, and ‘Apache’. Initially, it was designed allowing users to take advantage of Apache’s mod_mp3. However, since then the software has been modified to cater to its individual streaming network.
Ampache began its journey in 2001. Scott Kveton was the person who created the OSUOSL at Oregon State University. He later passed the developmental lead to Karl Vollmer who was in charge of the project between 2003 to 2011. Since then, Ampache has changed hands many times and has received support from over 80 various contributors. Ampache’s Mascot – Fraz was drawn by Kirsten and later Ben Shields re-digitized the logo.
Why should you use Ampache?
There’s no doubt that there is plenty of music server software out there helping you stream your media. However, most of them come with a catch – Premium fee. You can add subscription-based software such as Plex and Kodi to the list. However, with Ampache, you get everything for free. Right from the ability to access apps, mobile syncing, artist bios, album arts, lyrics, and many other features are free.
Powerful API and streaming
A platform such as Plex often reduces you to their proprietary apps. However, that’s not the case with Ampache. It allows you to stream to any client you want thanks to its powerful API. You can use the web interface which has no additional requirement. It doesn’t limit you to any app and you have your own way around it. There are various native Ampache apps such as VLC, Foobar2000, Subsonic, Windows Media Player, and Winamp allowing you to start with the popular ones if needed.
Ampache allows you to access all your music from your local filesystem. It has a flexible catalog that helps you find the content in multiple ways. You can add sources to your database and even connect your existing accounts with the network. For instance, if you have a subsonic library, you can connect it with Ampache and can easily import the entire library. You can do so with Beets catalog as well as SoundCloud. Isn’t that awesome?
A few years ago, advanced students from Chelsea School realized that with a little tweak, Ampache can be used to develop new accommodations and alterations making it capable of learning new challenges and styles. The students teamed up and configured the Ampache server customized for classroom use. Since the venture, classroom learning has really been enhanced.
It’s because of Ampache that an instructor can now record audios, add them to assignments or instructional text to an Ampache catalog. This allows the students to stream text individually or in a group. They can read the print version simultaneously and can even access the text and reading materials whenever they want. In an educational setting, Ampache has been able to bridge the gap between text-to-speech software and audiobooks.
How to access Ampache?
Accessing Ampache is quite easy. You can search for the term ‘Ampache’ in your search engine and you’ll find the results on the first page. Alternatively, you can use the following link: Ampache to visit the website directly. Remember, the software is free to download and thus you can head over to the download section and get started with it.
Fancy is the right word to define the design approach on Ampache. Especially the Comic fonts used on the website. In terms of color combination, the teal blue and yellow color combination do carry a modern vibe. The bright colors accompanied by white text really add depth to this website.
The header section has eight key options – ‘Home’, ‘Demo’, ‘Donate’, ‘Download’, ‘Documentation’, ‘API Info’, ‘Forum’, and ‘Chat’. Apart from these features, you have the profile section along with a twitter icon if you want to connect with the social profile. The dark background with white text is quite eye-catching.
The hero section starts off all bright with a yellow background and white text. Under this section, you can find the ‘Features’ with four different cards – ‘Music Collection’, ‘Music streaming’, ‘Open Source’, and ‘Ampache everywhere’. This section similar to the header looks really clean. Though I still feel that the cards could’ve been more creative had they been dynamic.
What I like about the body section is you get a glimpse of what to expect from the software. There are various images showcasing different elements on the website. For instance, the sign-up panel, the settings page, the library, playback template, skins, album arts, track info, and music player. You get the desktop version as well as the mobile version. This is a cool addition as you can set your expectations based upon what you see on the images.
There’s no footer section on this website. It’s sad to witness such a good website with no footer section or navigation option.
If you know about Ampache, you’re most likely to jump off to the download page straight away. If not, there are plenty of valuable materials out there that you can read and understand the software in detail.
Ampache Development & Customization
Since its release 20 years ago, Ampache has gathered a dedicated following. To date, people rely on this software as they find it reliable, secure, and easy to use. Though the leadership has changed many times in the past decade, Ampache continues to develop further and cater to its audience’s needs. The development and overall user experience have never been jeopardized amidst ownership hassles.
Ampache’s great customization feature really exposes all the lackluster software out there. First, there are various authorization methods such as HTTP, MYSQL, LDAP, OpenID, PAM, and other external methods. You can rewrite the metadata or choose from a pre-existing database. You can list sources as per your preference and you can even enable custom metadata. That’s not all, you can easily enable or disable features such as broadcasting, favorites, podcasts, channels, social, ratings, file downloads, etc. You have complete liberty over each and every element.
Suggestions I have for Ampache
I hate to break it to my fellow Ampache lovers. But it’s true that Ampache is not universal. It doesn’t use codecs which are highly relevant in today’s time. With that said, it still can convert the music in real-time in an effortless way. But if the developers can work something out, that’d be too legendary.
Ampache is truly different than everything that’s out there. It has amazing compatibility and being an open-source software allows it to be extremely versatile. So, even if you’re all in on Ampache I see no reason why you should give up on it.