Free and geeky alternative to Spotify. Unlimited devices, offline, portable, video included

TL;DR;

To have videos and music offline on your devices:
Spotify -> Playlistbuddy-> Youtube
and from here use TubeMate to download on your phone directly or
youtube-dl ->  Google Drive -> android FolderSync -> android MX player
for a multi-device (laptop, phone) sync

youtube spotifySpotify

Spotify is great, but even if you pay for the premium license, you have no complete control on your music even with a premium paid subscription (no download on portable devices, limits on the number of offline devices, and obliged to use Spotify itself to listen). Also, I cannot find all the music I want in it.

Create Youtube playlist from Spotify

If you are looking for a geeky (and free) alternative, you can use this tool to create Youtube playlists for each Spotify playlist.

If you already have youtube premium, you can already listen to those playlists offline an with the screen off. But if you are still reading, you probably want to continue on the geeky route. There are plenty of tools to download youtube playlist into a video or audio format. TubeMate does it seamlessly directly on Android devices. As you can imagine, Google doesn’t allow it to be listed on the play store, but you can easily download the APK and install it on your phone allowing installation from unknown devices.

Download music and videos from youtube 

If you want to download them on your laptop, I found youtube-dl being the best tool. Command line,  so you can make scripts to download all your playlists into your directory, in video or audio format. To download a playlist in MP3 format and name files with the video title, you can use

youtube-dl -i –extract-audio –audio-format mp3 -o “%(title)s.%(ext)s” <PLAYLIST URL>

Youtube has a tremendous amount of good quality content: experts on any subject recently all moved there, and I found it to be  the best podcast source I listen to, in addition to music of course.

Keep downloaded files synced

If you have enough space online (Dropbox or Google Drive), you can download those files there, and keep them download and synced on your phone with free tools. On Android devices, I recommend:

  • FolderSync to sync all the directories  (one per playlist a good idea). Works great even with the free license);
  •  MxPlayer to play them. great directory player that allows listing directories, play video and audios inside (check the “mp3” option in the settings to display music in the browser), changing the speed of videos and also allow background play (to just listen to videos with the display turned off).
FolderSync
FolderSync
MX Player
MX Player

If you are very, very geeky, you can have cronjobs running the download and uploading  new videos in your playlist into dropbox/google drive, so that your phone will automatically download newly- added videos.

Conclusions

I follow lots of channel on YouTube, and this solution seems to work well for me to bring media content offline with me on multiple devices without knowing in which device I’ll watch it first. Once the content is watched, I can move/remove/rename from the Google drive, and the change will be propagated to all the synced devices. You can still discover content on Spotify.

 

 

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