I made a conscious choice a few years ago to upload all my music albums to Google Music and clear up my hard drive space by deleting the local copies. Huge mistake.
After realizing the benefits and ease of "self-hosting all the things" I decided it was time for the dreaded music server. Why all the fuzz you might ask? Well, I've always been a huge music collector and organizing my collection has always been a subject I wrestled with. This time around though things turned really ugly, really fast.
Setting up the actual airsonic server was a breeze since the fine gentlemen at linuxserver.io have a docker image available. Creating a few directories and running a docker-compose file needs no explanation, so my next move was to import my music.
I visited Google Takeout and downloaded my files, that somehow had ballooned in size since my initial upload some years ago and then proceeded to unzip them. All 40 2Gb files that Google served me.
First surprise was that the files had only the song title as a name. "That's odd" I thought, but "hey I will use the ID3 tags to fix the filenames and file each album in a separate folder". Or so I thought. Turns out Google replaces the songs in your collection, if it hosts the same ones, with 320Kbps mp3 files THAT HAVE NO ID3 TAGS.
So here I am with a bloated mp3 file collection with no tags and only a song title to go by. The whole collection is about 9500 songs. I'm looking at a few months of fixing this mess I thought.
I downloaded an excellent Android client called substreamer in order to enjoy my music on the go, since this is mostly how I consume it these days. It worked like a charm and has a great looking GUI.
Airsonic is a fork of Subsonic so most Android applications refer to the latter in their description.
The benefits of using this server over Google Music, or YouTube Music as it called nowadays are the following :
Speed, 'cause nothing plays faster than your local network and when it comes to your personal files YouTube Music has a peculiarly slow way of presenting them.
Future proofing the ability to actually play your collection since Google might decide that free is no more or even worse kill the whole thing.
Customized and flexible tagging system, you do as you see fit.
The joy of knowing that you run your very own music server.
I'm really pleased with my choice, so now I have to finish sorting out my messed up collection.