While I was at the Americana Conference last week, I found myself explaining to a lot of people what I mean when I tell them my computer is my jukebox. Maybe they think I’m talking about iTunes. Or maybe they think I’m listening to all this music on the speakers in my MacBook.
Not hardly. I’ve got access to a virtually infinite (as in, more than I can listen to in a lifetime) library of music, and I’m listening to it all in excellent fidelity on my stereo. Aside from the computer (in my case a MacBook or a MacPro) there are three essential components to this system:
Lala.com: I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record on this one (pun intended?). But this is where it starts for me. Unlike the
subscription services like Rhapsody or Napster, Lala sucks me in by letting me listen to whatever I want to one time for free. After that, I purchase “access” to the tracks I want to hear again for a dime.
With Lala.com, the browser becomes your iPod, with one important difference. Instead of “owning” a few thousand tracks, you get “access” to… a few million. Just about anything you want to hear.
Airfoil is really the secret sauce in this recipe. Airfoil is a program that can take the audio output from any program on your computer — most notably in this case your browser — and send it over WiFi to an
Airport Express — an Apple gizmo which is a WiFi receiver with stereo audio output.
That’s all there is to it, and it works on either PCs or Macs. The signal comes out of your browser, Airfoil sends it to the Airport, and then the sound comes out of your stereo.
And just like that, your stereo is transformed into the “Celestial Jukebox.”
With this configuration, the prophecy is about 3/4s fulfilled. You can hear whatever you want, whenever you want to hear it — but you still have to be connected to some kind of broadband connection through a lap- or desk-top computer.
The only thing that’s missing is the mobile app that puts the capability in your car. The apps exist, but so far they’re not available for the public. But why wait? Unless you’re one of the road warriors that you’re listening to you’re probably tethered to cable or DSL (forget dialup) most of the day anyway.
So be the first on your block to set up your own Celestial Jukebox TODAY!