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I would like to use my old MacBook (hooked to a stereo equipment) as a media server to allow everybody in my office to play or upload music, in a Jukebox style.

The best case would be a web interface where I could change the music. Uploading is not mandatory.

An Ubuntu solution would be fine too.


well, or just build your own music server :)

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You just want a server for people to connect and play music FROM? Or this is actually hooked to stereo equipment and people would play music in the office like juke box? – Paperlantern Jan 26 '12 at 13:58
yes, the mac is hooked to stereo equipment. jukebox style. – fluxsaas Jan 26 '12 at 14:04
I guess it would be easy to set up XBMC on the Mac, and you'd just need to find out how to remote control it via another machine. – slhck Jan 26 '12 at 14:42
XBMC looks good, there are a couple of web interfaces in development. – fluxsaas Jan 26 '12 at 15:00
Sounds nice! If you manage to get something working, you can even post your answer here. If you need more help, you can ping me with @slhck by the way :) – slhck Jan 26 '12 at 15:41

The big problem here is licensing. If you're playing music you wrote, produced, and recorded, there won't be an issue. But if you're playing music from ripped CDs, even if you bought it legitimately, any distribution as you describe will be illegal.

Because this is a company and you're playing or making the music available for several people, this counts as broadcasting and you need a special license for any sort of distribution system.

If word gets out that you're hosting a media server and playing music for people inside your office, count on the RIAA to come down on you with a whole boatload of legal badness.

An easier solution would be to allow people to bring their own portable media players and then set reasonable rules regarding sound levels/headphones/internet radio/etc.


Here's a link with info on what constitutes a "public performance" when it comes to music and some of the considerations necessary regarding licensing of such things:

The important bit is perhaps the description of "public performance":

A public performance is one that occurs either in a public place or any place where people gather (other than a small circle of a family or its social acquaintances.) A public performance is also one that is transmitted to the public; for example, radio or television broadcasts, music-on-hold, cable television, and by the internet. Generally, those who publicly perform music obtain permission from the owner of the music or his representative. However, there are a few limited exceptions, (called "exemptions") to this rule. Permission is not required for music played or sung as part of a worship service unless that service is transmitted beyond where it takes place (for example, a radio or television broadcast). Performances as part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institutions are also exempt.

Don't get me wrong: I think the music publishers (RIAA and their member companies) are a bunch of greedy pigs who've cornered the market eradicating any reasonable sense of fair-use and eliminating most of the benefit musicians and artists should derive from their music. The issue here is current legality, not personal preference. To play music or to enable others to play your music in a public place, such as an office, requires a specific sort of license that costs some pretty good money.

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hehe, yeah i thought about providing a CD player and everybody has to bring CD's. :) no seriously, i think XBMC is just for playing music (not uploading or sharing). so it "should" be legal. – fluxsaas Jan 26 '12 at 16:11
The problem isn't the sharing so much as the "playing in a place of business". You can't even legally play Pandora radio, even with a paid subscription to Pandora One, as the "radio" in your place of business. It's still a licensing thing. – music2myear Jan 26 '12 at 16:43
alright, thanks for the info... – fluxsaas Jan 26 '12 at 17:34
I hate the buzzkill answers too. Sorry. Go have a beer and be happy the RIAA won't be swooping in with their black choppers to disappear your XBMC server and everybody connecting to it. – music2myear Jan 26 '12 at 20:26
Actually the "If you're playing music you wrote, produced, and recorded, there won't be an issue." depends on the country. Over here (NL) that is illegal even if you did write, play and record it. You get angry letters from BUMA. (And yes, even if you are the person who wrote the song, played it with your own band and put it on the bands website). – Hennes Sep 28 '13 at 20:19

You can try to upload all your music to sites like Google Music or Amazon music or grooveshark and give the upload access of the account to everyone. They also have a web player to control your music.

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yes, i could :) unfortunately the mentioned sites are not available in germany. AND i would like to do it myself... – fluxsaas Jan 26 '12 at 14:42

Best solution found so far is XBMC. It's super easy to set up and comes with a web interface to play the music.

XBMC Download (for Mac, Windows, Linux and others)

enter image description here

Here are LifeHacker tips for the web interface.

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If all computers in one room or you have central audio broadcasting in the place, The best solution for you is, (according to your ubuntu tag) MPD "Media Player Daemon" to music server for serve one playlist from MAC and install GMPC "Gnome Media Player Client" to each computer to control playlist and sound commonly.

I'm using same setup in my office, with my co-workers.

By the way, anybody can upload music by shared folder ;) or play on MAC by GMPC client his/her local medias

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If you have your music stored within an iTunes account, you may like to take alook at pulpTunes. It acts like a web server for iTunes allowing you to access your iTunes music library from anywhere, through a web browser.

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