I have never really got the mp3 craze – there are so many ways in which they just don’t seem that immediate and easy. I can’t play mp3s in my car, for example, unless I change my car / get a new stereo / get an FM transmitter, and also spend time loading whatever mp3s I want onto whatever media I have. I can’t just grab a couple of CDs off the shelf as I head for the door. MP3s can’t be lent to a friend so easily – even technophobes can generally cope with a CD. I also can’t browse them the same, because browsing a list of folders or titles just isn’t as visually accessible as browsing a shelf, so I don’t happen across albums I’ve not listened to for a while. So I’ve dabbled with digitised music a bit, but never really took to it.
Then I met Ampache.
My husband decided to set it up, so I didn’t have to worry about installing and configuring the software, or uploading the music. I just get to use it – and use it I do! Suddenly mp3s are immediate, accessible, almost tactile. From any web-capable device I can access my entire music collection in a couple of clicks. I can play whatever I like at my desk through my headphones, or on the sofa through the netbook. If I get into a conversation with a friend about a particular song or obscure artist, I don’t have to go trawling YouTube, I can just fire up Ampache and play it to them.
I often get put off media players and the like because they have fussy, fancy interfaces that get in the way of what I want them to do, which is play media and nothing else. Either that, or they’re just clumsy in how they open albums or handle playlists. Ampache seems clean, streamlined and obvious. I’ve seen players claim they can find songs by artist, album, genre, etc, but none that I’ve tried really seemed to be able to do that – or at least, not in such a quick and easy way as Ampache does. I’ve also not seen one integrate album art in such a seamless, useful way as Ampache does in its listings, and the non-intrusive random offerings in its “album of the moment” section.
Above all, I get it now. I know I’m late to the party (I often am), but I finally get mp3s.