Astiga's new owner



  • Hi,

    I have been (fruitlessly) searching for a solution to my family's music needs for some time. I realize that I may be more "advanced" in terms of requirements than most folks, due to the fact that I am a software engineer. Here's what I would love to see from the Bliss+Astiga marriage.

    • I don't mind paying, I pay for AWS S3, Bliss and Astiga. I have a large investment in music over many years, I don't want to let it degrade. Paying for storage independent of Bliss/Astiga is nice, because I know exactly what I can do when I want to do it. Its mine :)
    • Keep control of my source of truth. I have my wife and my music on individual AWS S3 buckets
    • I peer/rsync those buckets locally to my Linux PC, I use Bliss to keep them neat (Bliss was also essential to clean up after a painful escape from Apple)
    • We buy music wherever, mostly Amazon, either CD or digital download, put the files in locally, run Bliss, upload to S3, sync Astiga.
    • We use Android Auto via Astiga app in the car, I love Astiga app because it does not assume I have some amazing 4G everywhere, I live where cell phone service is bad. Astiga App lets me setup my phone to only eat bandwidth when on WiFi, it lets me set unlimited cache size and preload when on Wifi. This is beyond essential. I want music in the car and my phone/car are parked at my house on Wifi enough hours of the day that I should never have to stream or think about fiddling with streaming.
    • I use a Brennan B2 as a music player in the house. I rsync the music to it (looks like a NAS).
    • I would love to see Astiga and the Brennan talk the same language, both have their own web interfaces, a simple bridge from Astiga to Brennan (it has an API) would let me use one app to control everywhere. I have contemplated writing this bridge, I can, but getting time with job and kids is tough.
    • I would love to do less rsync work, keeping S3 and my local PC in sync is one part, keeping the Brennan and my PC in sync is another, thankfully Astiga Android keeps my phone/car in sync for me. I would love for this to be handled by one thing. Again, I do not want to stream, the Internet is great, but it is often missing or slow, use it when its there, otherwise rely on local storage. Nothing drives me more crazy than trying to pick a song and not being able to play it because of some network slowness.

    Thank you! Please keep doing what you are doing, independent music management needs to stay alive.

    Zak Taylor

  • gravelldgravelld Administrator

    Zak, that setup sounds really interesting. Would you like to write it up for the bliss blog? I just think it's interesting how you've managed to create something to fix so many different "problems" while maintaining control of your library.

    Broadly speaking I think "sync" is one of the big features that might make the dream of self-managed music libraries happen.


    Have you tried Bluetooth playback? Although I note this requires purchase of a Bluetooth dongle.

    The API isn't documented so not sure how much I trust it as a forward-supported API!

    Looks like it's possible to install DLNA on it - the Astiga Android app can cast over DLNA so that also might work?

  • Are there any plans regarding the public API? Is it going to stay as it is, improved, or limited?

  • gravelldgravelld Administrator

    What suggestions do you have?

    Currently the API is the Subsonic API - that's so a variety of clients can connect to it. We definitely wouldn't want to lose that I don't think.

    However, "embrace and extend" is a possible strategy :-D (but not the extinguish!)

  • I also have turned to Astiga after I was hooked on Google Play Music. I have paid for ownership of my vinyl and cassettes. I have paid for ownership of my CD and mp3 collections, and I have many rare and impossible to find recordings by original unsigned artists in my collection. I was seriously miffed when Google said I must also pay to play my own tracks, especially since I was already paying them rental for storage space.

    Yes, I paid for turntables, tape decks, mp3 players and my phones - not with rentals or subscriptions but with purchases of devices that were replaced when they broke.

    With its premium features luxurious enough to live without and free limitations totally acceptable, Astiga now fits into my cheap retirement spending plan. It also fits psychologically with my feeling like I own these things in which I have invested. If your intention is to require me to continuously pay to listen to my own music, my first reaction is to want to jump ship in search of another free player.

    An argument my old-school mind can hear, however, would be that a one-time purchase of a moderately priced, premium, hassle-free app that upgrades (for re-purchase) every 3 to 5 years could approximate the investment I used to make in hardware.

    Dropbox,, OneDrive, Google Drive and others could, of course, awaken to realize they could be offering a "free" player when they rent premium storage. Your plans to profit could fizzle if that happens.

    Then again, perhaps Astiga/Bliss, has considered becoming a re-seller and offering online storage in a premium app package(?).

    What difference would either of those scenarios make on my end? It's all psychological while financially, perhaps not really amounting to much. The cost of my "free" player would just be hidden in the price of cloud rental.

  • gravelldgravelld Administrator

    Well, I guess all pricing is psychological ultimately.

    The problem with a one-time charge is that it doesn't align with the cost of running the service. That's not the same as hardware; once the hardware is purchased you install it and run it in your home. The only cost to the supplier is customer support... there are sometimes firmware updates etc, but these are generally developed in a less intensive cycle than a Web based service.

    In between the two: self hosted software (for example: bliss). You typically install bliss on your own computer/NAS/whatever and so the cost is borne by yourself. For that reason, bliss's ability to do stuff can be purchased on a one-off basis (note there's also the concept of an "update subscription" which allows you to update the software for future new features etc). Even in bliss case though there is an ongoing cost I have to bear - that of metadata providing.

    So, if I offer a one-time cost it becomes a debt - one that sometimes I might profit from, but to know that I need to know what price to place on the one-time cost so that the average cost to me per customer is below the average cost to service the customer.

    Regarding the large storage firms - this could be a risk, although the current direction of travel seems away from what you describe (e.g. Google's dropping of GPM and attempts to steer people toward streaming).

    The rare recordings use case seems to be a common one.

    One pattern I've noticed across most customers is that of control - this comes out in multiple ways:

    • Control of curation - what music is available
    • Control of location - playing music anywhere
    • Control of privacy
    • Control of browsing and playback UX (we're lacking here ATM)
    • Control of music "infrastructure" - using the tools you want to use

    These are the broad areas I'm thinking of constraining and targeting Astiga at. The features developed would be aligned with the customer achieving those broad ideals.

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