Sharing your music through the local network has always been relatively painless with iTunes. Essentially, it is only a 3-step process. Streaming your music through the Internet is slightly more complicated since you’ll have to find the right programs or web service which suit your needs. Some of the programs which I’ve come across are Simplify Media. Online services like DOT.TUNES, nuTsie and Maestro will also allow you to stream your music, but via a browser, which is sort of a good thing because you can access your library from anywhere since you won’t need iTunes or WinAmp.(which utilizes VPN) and
Simply for the sake of streaming your music from another computer, I would highly recommend Simplify Media. It has already been covered by Aibek in iTunes addons about a week ago, so I won’t go too deeply into it. Briefly, Simplify Media will allow you to listen to your friends’ shared music as though they are on your local network. I don’t have any specifics about how it works, but I suspect that it runs quite similarly to Hamachi, setting up a VPN between you and the people you add to your contact list. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux; and is compatible with iTunes, WinAmp and even the iPhone.
But there is a new kid on the block. It’s called Mojo and it’s got something up its sleeve. Mojo will allow you to browse, select and download shared music from other Mojo users. Pretty nifty and dodgy at the same time, if I may say so myself.
How does it work?
Couldn’t be simpler. After downloading Mojo, you’ll need to register and set up an account, which will then appear on your Mojo roster.
Once that is done, you can start adding other Mojo users, wait for their approval and browse their music. However, unlike Simplify Media, listening to shared music is not done in iTunes but in Mojo’s built-in music browser.
Songs which are greyed out are the ones which you already have. Restricted songs which you may not download are labelled in red.
If you see a song you like, just click on the download icon next to the name of the song and it will be downloaded and automatically added into your iTunes, arranged nicely in a Mojo playlist folder.
It’s that easy. No lengthy registration or troublesome setups. There are some down-sides, though.
I have a lot of music and I store my iTunes library on an external hard disk. I accomplish this by holding <Alt> while clicking on iTunes and choosing my target library i.e. my external hard disk. But Mojo doesn’t offer me the option of choosing the iTunes library I would like to share. Instead, it loads the default library in /User/Music/iTunes – which is empty!
There is a pretty neat option of subscribing to other user’s playlists and automatically synchronizing any new songs which are added. This means that you won’t need to keep browsing all the time to see if there are any new songs, Mojo does it for you. But surprise surprise, this feature is only available in the Pro version.
There is also a maximum number of buddies you can add. I can’t seem to find out how many it is because they won’t tell, but apparently it’s limited to 5 users on your roster at any time. So, if you need to, you may actually delete old buddies and replace them with fresh ones to fulfill your music satisfaction and urges.
All in all, although this application has a few limitations, it accomplishes the goal eventually – sharing music.
Mojo is free and available here for Mac OS X Leopard. There is also an for OS X Tiger. And for all you Windows users: a beta version is available. To find out more about Mojo, watch the video screencasts here.
(By) Jackson Chung is a full-time med student attempting to perform a juggling act with relationship, studies and his future.
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