The days of records, cassettes, and CDs are over. Good riddance. The digital revolution now makes access to music infinitely easier. Instead of rows of CDs or records, the music lover now has hard drives with folders full of files. Organizing and playing music should be easier, but it takes the right software.
iTunes certainly dominates but there are many other options. I have taken the time to try out almost every other software platform that runs on the Windows OS, and a clear winner emerges: Madsonic.
I’ll explain why.
Purpose: Madsonic organizes, catalogs, and then serves your music files to you on any computer or smart phone.
Setup: The trickiest part of any software, especially one as powerful as Madsonic, is the setup. The first version I installed did not seem to work although the icon was clearly visible in the Windows tray indicating it was “there.” I uninstalled it and cleared all my browser caches based on advice from the developer via the Madsonic user forum. From there on Madsonic has worked well. Once Madsonic is running, then it needs to pointed to your music files. It will then scan the files and display a thumbnail for you.
Use: From any web browser on the internet, you can then call up your installation of Madsonic and play any of your files. Simply type in your custom Madsonic URL (available with a paid account), username, and password. You can browse or search your collection. There is a Madsonic app and there are numerous “Subsonic” apps that work also. Subsonic is the root of the software and Madsonic is one of the branches. The bottom line is you have access to your music via the internet on almost any computer, tablet, and phone.
Customization: This is the mind boggling part of Madsonic. You can customize the look and many of the functions. Other user accounts can be added so that your friends and family can share and with permission even download music. There are probably hundreds of settings that you can just leave as default or twiddle forever.
Competition: Plex is probably the biggest competition. It’s highly developed and very good. My beef with Plex is that it’s scanning my system virtually all the time. There’s also Subsonic, Airsonic and a host of others. None of the alternatives offer the ability to share files on social media. I don’t do this much, but it’s nice to have that ability when you want to.
Problems: The main problem I have with Madsonic is the poor search feature. However, I believe this is being addressed. The complexity of the options can be overwhelming. Setup for any complex piece of software can be dautnting.
Development: Madsonic is under development currently. Version 7 just debuted.
Cost: 24.3 Euro per year for Professional Home. There’s also a lifetime cost of 148 Euro.