Yes, we know, Plex can handle music pretty well. However, to unlock the service’s most powerful music features (such as automatic playlists, lyrics, and audio fingerprinting), you’ll need to subscribe to Plex Pass.
And even then, if you only use Plex for music (and not for TV shows and movies), you’ll have to wade through a lot of superfluous features.
If you’re looking for a similar feature list to Plex but on a service that’s primarily dedicated to music, you should check out these eight Plex alternatives instead…
The open source Ampache is a web-based app. Although you can also use it to stream videos, its primary focus is on music. Ampache will run on any platform that supports PHP.
The web interface can be used as a playback tool and a music manager. It has the ability to pull your music collections from both local and remote locations so you can enjoy a unified library wherever you are.
You listen to your music through both the web app, your local speaker system, or a large number of smart devices.
To control the music remotely, use you can use the app’s Localplay feature.
CherryMusic is a music streaming server. Like Ampache, it is also open source. And again, you can get it running on most on your devices, including a Raspberry Pi. The server is extremely lightweight.
During the installation process, you’ll need to run a tiny bit of Python in the CherryMusic directory. Thankfully, it’s a simple process, even if you’ve never worked with Python. CherryMusic offers a detailed setup guide on its website if you need more information.
Once you have installed the app correctly, you’ll need to navigate to http://localhost:8080 in your browser to configure the app for the first time.
CherryMusic has a simplistic layout that’s easy to navigate. Features wise, it supports multiple accounts, playlist sharing, and artwork fetching.
As you will soon see, Subsonic—which was originally open source—provided the bedrock for many of the best music server apps.
Today, the app is closed source. It can stream videos as well as music, but its core strength remains audio files.
If you’ve ever used Plex, you will be familiar with the basics of how the app works. You need to install it on the same drive as your music files, then use a web portal to access your content.
Subsonic does offer device-specific apps; however, they are part of the premium version. This costs $1/month. The subscription also buys you video streaming functionality, support for Chromecast and Sonos, a podcast player, an ad-free web player, and even your own personalized server address.
When Subsonic’s developers made the decision to move to the closed source format and introduce a premium tier, the community split. Some of the former team created a new app called Libresonic.
After a few years of development, some further difference emerged between the creators, and yet another new app—called Airsonic—was born. Like the original Subsonic, the app is dedicated to remaining open source.
Some of the server’s best features include the ability to stream to multiple speaker systems at the same time, on-the-fly conversion of different audio formats, and customizable bitrate limits (in case you’re on a slow connection).
Furthermore, Airsonic can work with genuinely massive music collections. It can handle hundreds of gigabytes worth of content without breaking a sweat. If you’ve ever amassed a collection that large, you’ll know the difficulties that some of the mainstream music managers have handling similar-sized libraries.
Mopidy offers something unique—in addition to being able to play your locally-saved music collections from anywhere in the world, it also works with Spotify, Google Play Music, and SoundCloud. Not even Plex offers those features natively.
Thanks to its ability to mix your music and tracks from music streaming services, you can make the argument that Modify is the most holistic music-based alternative to Plex.
Because Mopidy is available on GitHub, the community is constantly making more add-ons. Support for other music streaming services is continually becoming available, and there are many add-ons that can enhance the app’s native features.
Mopidy is also available on the Raspberry Pi.
Sonerezh is a self-hosted music server; it’s similar to CherryMusic.
Thankfully, it’s somewhat easier to install than its competitor. The developers include an automatic two-click deployment wizard that’ll the app working in no time.
Adding music to the server is equally straightforward. Just tell Sonerezh where you’ve saved your files, and the backend will take care of the rest.
Sonerezh’s user interface is only accessible via the web. Its design is simple and easy-to-use.
The app supports MP3, MP4, OGG, and Vorbis files.
Funkwhale is another self-hosted server option. The app is worth including for a few reasons.
Firstly, it offers music discovery tools such as automatic radio stations. Of course, the tools will only work with the songs you have added to the app, but if you have an extensive collection, it can help to remind you of some forgotten gems.
Secondly, you can listen to music on other users’ servers as if it was your own.
Finally, the app includes MusicBrainz integration. It’s just about the most accurate app when it comes to tagging your music collection with the correct metadata.
And remember, because the app is free and open source, there are no ads anywhere on the platform.
We will conclude with a mention of Google Play Music. It’s well-known that the app lets you upload 50,000 of your own tracks which you can then stream from anywhere.
Of course, it’s not suitable for people who want more control and functionality from their app, or anyone who has a vast library that they want to access remotely. However, for people who want to make a small collection of music readily available, it’s an easy-to-use (and highly polished) alternative.
Learn More About Streaming Your Media
Plex-style music server apps are just one way you can make your media available wherever you go.