RPi 2 as my music server

19 Aug 2015 Categories: Linux Tags: tools

Introduction

Almost everyone is familiar with what Raspberry Pi is, if you are not aware of it better stop reading! When Pi2 was released with some great upgrades I got one to just tinker with it. Couldn’t do much with it until recently. I joined my first full time role at a company, so I spend approx. 6 hours of a weekday at office.

I have my work laptop and then my personal MBPR, syncing music between these is a pain. Sometimes I just want to lay back and browse through my music collection(AFK time). I have a 2.1 speaker set which I usually connect to my laptop when I wish to listen to some music (All the time!)

Things I have

  • 2.1 Speaker System
  • Raspberry Pi 2
  • Home WiFi Network

Solution

MPD or Music Player Daemon is a best fit solution for my problem. All my music will be on some kind of memory storage accessible to pi2. If I run mpd on the pi2 connect my speakers to it and I can just connect to it using NCMPCPP on my laptops while in my home network. If I am at office, I can still stream my music collection to my office laptop over a vpn. One good side effect is that there are good mpd client android applications like MPDroid. This way, I have only one place to keep my songs and I can enjoy them everywhere.

The following is a reminder for me as getting MPD to run on Pi2 is not so straightforward. I use a Kali Linux 2.0 image on Pi.

  • Make sure you connect your Pi in your home network with a static IP. This will allow you to save settings in your mpd clients.
  • I use Kali as a non-root user, so create an account for it.
  • Sound is disabled by default on Pi2. Install alsa-utils if not present and load snd_bmc2835 module.

      # apt-get install alsa-utils
      # modprobe snd_bcm2835
    
  • To load this module everytime at boot, just add it to /etc/modules.

      # echo "snd_bcm2835" >> /etc/modules
    
  • I want to run MPD under the non-root user, so this user has to be added to the audio group if not already present.

      # grep "audio" /etc/groups
      # usermod -a -G group user
    
  • Now, hack up the configuration of mpd. Default is present at /etc/mpd.conf. I prefer using it from my home directory, so copied it and edited it. All the sections of self explainatory and I am pasting here a minified version. Make sure you create all the files and folder mentioned here and ensure that MPD has access to write to these locations and your music directory

      music_directory		"/home/tunnelshade/Music"
      playlist_directory		"/home/tunnelshade/Music/playlists"
      db_file			"/home/tunnelshade/Music/mpd/tag_cache"
      log_file			"/home/tunnelshade/Music/mpd/mpd.log"
      pid_file			"/home/tunnelshade/Music/mpd/pid"
      state_file			"/home/tunnelshade/Music/mpd/state"
      sticker_file                   "/home/tunnelshade/Music/mpd/sticker.sql"
      user				"tunnelshade"
    
      bind_to_address		"0.0.0.0"
    
      port				"7000"
    
      password                        "[email protected],add,control,admin"
    
      input {
          plugin "curl"
      }
    
      audio_output {
          type		"alsa"
          name		"My ALSA Device"
      }
    
      filesystem_charset		"UTF-8"
      id3v1_encoding			"UTF-8"
    
  • And lastly, have to start MPD at every boot. If we add a service then it will start with system privilege, but there is one alternative. Add it as a user cron after start. So, for me the cron entry will look like (crontab -e)

      @reboot mpd ~/.mpdconf
    
  • Just reboot and connect from your favourite devices.

Screenshots

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