I'm planning on using my Raspberry Pi as a media centre, I plan to have all my music on an external hard drive which is plugged into my Pi.

Is it possible to access the music on the external hard drive via Pi? For example I plan to use my Mac at work to access the music and listen to it.

If it can what OS should I use? I currenly have raspBMC installed, but that can only receive media it cannot send it.

2 Answers 2


Streaming in a web browser


You are probably looking for Subsonic. With Subsonic, you can stream your music in a web browser, and even on your mobile. Here is an online demo.

Subsonic needs Java to run, so I hope you have a 512 Mb RPi (maybe a 256 is enough...) Please have a look to this RPi.SE question to know how to install Java on your RPi. Here are the instructions to install Subsonic on a Debian system (such as Raspbian). Maybe you should consider to move to Raspbian.

Please note I have never tried to install Subsonic on my Pi: I don't know if it works on it. If you manage to run it, please let us know by leaving a comment ;)


Ampache is an alternative to Subsonic, and is maybe more suitable for a little device like the RPi since it is written in PHP. Furthermore, it is available in the official repo, so you can install it with the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install ampache


If you plan to stream your music inside your own private network, you can use a DLNA server on your Pi, and a DLNA client.

DLNA servers


MiniDLNA is server software with the aim of being fully compliant with DLNA clients.

To install MiniDLNA:

$ sudo apt-get install minidlna

Then, configure MiniDLNA by editing /etc/minidlna.conf


Mediatomb has some additional such as a web interface for administration, on-the-fly transcoding (for devices that doesn't support the original codec), dynamic video thumbnail creation, ... and more here. But it has more RAM footprint than MiniDLNA.

To install Mediatomb:

$ sudo apt-get install mediatomb

DLNA clients (for Mac)


I don't have a Mac but VLC does support DLNA. Here is a SU.SE answer:

Go to VLC main menu and click ViewPlaylist and scroll down to Local Network. Locate Universal Plug and Play and click on it.

A few moments later your media service should be shown on the main window to the right. If you click on it (or double click) then it will start showing you all the folders/files being served. Give it time as it took mine almost 30 seconds to show everything.

  • Thanks for the answer I'll give Raspbien a try and "try" to install Subsonic, I'll let you know how it works out
    – Harpal
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 21:26
  • Does ampache require java?
    – Harpal
    Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 23:57
  • No. It is written in PHP. Commented Dec 24, 2012 at 9:27
  • @Harpal Have you managed to find a suitable solution to your problem? Please share your experience by answering your own question or by accepting the answer :) If you need more information, just ask us. Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 10:16
  • Got it working with subsonic, I'll post an answer later showing the tutorial I used to get it working with subsonic
    – Harpal
    Commented Feb 18, 2013 at 10:54

Ampache over subsonic - aside from being a long-time fan of ampache: Subsonic charges a tax to let you stream to mobile devices with apps.

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