Kids these days might not realize it, but not that long ago, playing music consisted of physically placing a large dark vinyl disc on a spinning platter and then precisely positioning a needle on the disc. You couldn’t make a playlist, shuffle an album, or skip tracks from across the room.
The advent of the 8-track (really the cassette) heralded the era of the Mix Tape. You still couldn’t shuffle, but you could finally put together a custom sequence of songs. This was truly a revolution, because music is deeply personal; different artists speak to us differently, due to some mysterious combination of nature and nurture we don’t fully understand yet. Anna doesn’t care for the Wu-Tang Clan (not even the lost Shkreli album), while I am not much of a Belieber.
Next came the era of Winamp. I still remember ripping stacks of CDs so I could have my entire collection of music at my fingertips. Oh, the freedom! Oh the playlists, one for every occasion! And then came iTunes, which for the most part just made you familiar with the spinning pinwheel, but helped you bring your music with you on your phone and taught you how to upgrade your RAM.
As we talked about in the last post, Plex started with a strong focus on movies and TV shows. Since then, we’ve spent considerable effort and resources in making it a great place for your music. I still remember moving over from iTunes (I know, right?) after our massive music feature launch in 2015, and I’ve honestly never looked back. I wanted to highlight a few of the best features of Plex Music, keeping an eye to the future. We are fortunate to have people here at Plex who are not only music lovers, but also incredibly smart and innovative thinkers (looking at you, Ben!), and we’re going to continue to invest in making Plex awesome for music.
Immaculate Collection: At last count, I have 148 days of music in my library (4,754 albums, if you must know). Plex quickly picks up any new albums I add, nearly always flawlessly matching using the Gracenote-powered fingerprinting available with a Plex Pass upgrade. I usually view my collection by album so I see the new ones appear and can make adjustments to pick the best album art, tweak the occasional track name, or use the newly upgraded collections feature to link certain albums to movies or TV shows. If I’m in the mood I add music videos, which Plex also displays beautifully alongside the tracks. Another premium feature I use a lot is lyrics, which helps you sing along or figure out what a singer is mumbling about (spoiler alert: Hendrix doesn’t actually say “Excuse me while I kiss this guy”)
Here, There, and Everywhere: Now that Plex has my music, I can access it from anywhere on the planet. My upload bandwidth might not be able to handle a 4K HDR movie, but it can certainly stream FLAC without breaking a sweat. I also detailed my sync strategy for music in the last blog, which ensures I always have a great mix of new music and old favorites, even when on a plane, submarine, or spacecraft (Plex Pass required, spacecraft oddly not).
Across the Universe: We’ve been adding support for more and more devices and platforms: you can now use a Chromecast Audio, Amazon Alexa, or a Sonos to play your tunes, and Alexa can play on the device or remote control other Plex players. We also added support for Android Auto to allow for safer Plex music while driving. Plus, we’re pleased to announce that today the latest release of Plex for Sonos is out of beta. It’s all-new—much faster, more reliable, and with more features.
Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out: Not a hermit crab, home-bodied variety of sapiens? Plex has you covered. You can link your account to Last.FM and any music you play in Plex will be scrobbled to Last.FM. Won’t you be my frieneighbor?
Discover A Lovelier You: We’re committed to giving you innovative ways to explore your own collection of music. We’ve premiered some inside Plexamp (our tiny desktop music player with an outsized feature set that serves as our lab for awesome experiments). Artist and library radio stations have been incredibly popular, and we’re bringing them across our ecosystem (Roku and Alexa now support them, and our other apps are in the process of adding them).
Blister in the Sun: The future is bright for music inside Plex! We have a wide variety of work both underway and planned, from improving the quality of information we download for your collection, to making it a better place for audiophiles, to even more innovation around exploration and organization of your collection and discovery of new music.
I found a bunch of videos of dogs allegedly rocking out to music on YouTube, but that seems like fake pet news. I’ve never seen Barkley express any preference or distaste for music, although in my heart of hearts, I know he’s a hip-hop sort of a dog.