5 Must-have Squeezebox Plugins

I hope that when Everett grows up and thinks back to his early childhood, that one of the things he’ll say is “My house was filled with music.”  In other words, I’ve been spending some quality time on paternity leave rocking my Squeezebox.   🙂

One of the coolest things about the Squeezebox is the fact that it’s powered by open-source software with a vibrant ecosystem of third-party plugins that extend its features in all sorts of cool ways.  I’m now closing in on four years of ecstatic Squeezebox ownership, and I just realized I’d never shared the “must have” plugins that really make the Squeezebox really sing.   Here’s a quick rundown on how I’ve achieved open-source digital audio nirvana.

  1. MusicIP.  Even though it’s sort-of-abandonware at this point, MusicIP is still the single most compelling add-on for Squeezebox.  If you’ve used iTunes’ “Genius” feature, it’s sort of like that, except lots smarter.  MusicIP actually generates an acoustic analysis of all of your songs.  Then, given a starting song, artist, album or genre, it can find other songs that actually sound similar, which makes for an amazing way to take a “semi-random walk” through your music collection.  Not only is MusicIP much smarter than iTunes’ misnamed Genius, it’s very configurable, so you can decide how random those mixes are.  (Note: even if you’re not running a Squeezebox, you can still use MusicIP standalone or with iTunes.)   MusicIP has single-handedly revolutionized the way I listen to music, and more than anything else, I think it really unlocks the power of an all-digital music experience.
  2. TrackStat.  Long a favorite of the Squeezebox cognoscenti, I’m a recent adopter of TrackStat, Erland Isaksson’s amazing music statistics plugin.   TrackStat lets you rate your songs–and even better–it auto-rates songs as you play them.  Play something through to completion, and its rating goes up.  Skip it before it gets halfway finished and the rating goes down.  It also keeps track of how often each song gets played.  Over time, it builds up a very rich library of stats about your listening preferences, without you having to lift a finger.   Then, Erland’s companion plugin Dynamic Playlists lets you easily build playlists based on your stats, for example to find your favorite not-recently-played songs.  Good stuff.
  3. NPR Radio.  Makes it one-click easy to get your favorite NPR stations or programs streaming on your Squeezebox.  Now if only KUOW would drop the incredibly repetitive 15-second promo spot they tack onto the beginning of each streaming session, I’d be in internet radio heaven!
  4. Lazy Search Music.  Hey, I’m lazy!  Lazy Search Music makes it way easier to quickly search for music using the Squeezebox’s numeric keypad-based remote control.  Without Lazy Search, Squeezeserver requires multiple button-pushes  to enter each search character.  With Lazy Search, you just press each letter once and it does fuzzy matching, which is much much faster.
  5. FindArt. Lets you find missing cover art for your albums.  It’s not truly a mass search-and-download tool (for that I use a standalone program called Album Art Downloader), but it’s a really handy tool for filling in gaps.

9 thoughts on “5 Must-have Squeezebox Plugins”

  1. Thanks for the pointers, Jon.

    TrackStat sounds like a user-focussed version of the AudioScobbler which updates Last.fm with your listening habits. I’ve really been enjoying listening to Last.fm via my Squeezeboxes: fun to dial in a tag like Brazilian when I’m serving a Brazilian meal. And Scobbling helps reinforce those audio page-views. (“ear views”?)

    I’ll have to give Lazy Search and the Album Art features a try: I ripped most of my collection to FLAC without images 🙁

  2. Jon, I hope you can help me.

    I just got a squeezebox boom and am having the hardest time with it. At this point all I want to do is to add some internet radio stations to my favorites, and it’s proving to be a total drag.

    I am looking for a couple of things at least:

    1. Some online resource where you I can search on my pc through a web browser for the radio stations that are accessible through the search function on the squeezebox itself.

    2. A way to determine the URL for a radio station/audio stream so that I might add to my squeezebox favorites a station that may not be accessible on the squeezebox.

    Any other helpful tips would be appreciated, but that’s really it for now. Congratulations on fatherhood, and thanks in advance.

    Kevin

  3. Hi Kevin-
    I’m sorry, I don’t actually use the internet radio functions of my Squeezebox much (except to listen to my local NPR station), I’d recommend checking the Squeezebox user forums at http://forums.squeezebox.com

  4. I know it’s an older blog post, but this page comes 4th on Google search results for “squeezebox plugin” which brought me here.

    Great list – can’t wait to try some of those out.

    My top plugins (have been using them for years) are:

    • BBC iPlayer (must-have for UK users)
    • Custom Browse / Custom Scan / Multilibrary – three plugins that work together. Great for extensive classical collections and better organising and browsing for non-mainstream music.

    Also – not a plugin, but an internet radio station I discovered 3 months ago when searching for something to relax me… and I can’t stop listening to it. I know music taste is a subjective thing, but it’s a really interesting find whether it’s your bag or not. Sleepbot Environmental Broadcast. http://sleepbot.com/seb/ I have it saved on my favourites and come back to it time and again. It’s a strange beast, not everyone will like it. It’s good to assist sleeping but also plays out some stunning, beautiful music. Often listen to it whilst working during the day. Note: we aren’t talking cheesy pan-pipe rubbish, it’s good quality ambient / sonic art music. And no talking / ads!

  5. Hey, Great article, will have to check the rest of your site… I can feel the power of Music IP being the thing that will enhance my digital music listening as you mention, but on their site there is only Win, Mac and Linux. I’m not familiar with tweaking my SB Touch, do I need the Linux one, I guess as it’s Open Source? Thx

  6. Phillip: you need to install MusicIP on the server that is powering your Touch, not onto the touch itself. Make sense?

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