Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My company runs shopping centers around the country and from time to time we receive complaints regarding the music selection playing in the shops.

I'd like to build a centralized music streaming server that the shops will be able connect to using VPN so that I can set up a specific selection of music and commercials.

Multiple channels would be important so that we can provide specialized channels for different situations. For instance, some states may have specific important days, mourning days, etc, where the music and commercial selection may need to be different from those played in shops with different important days.

A web interface and multi-user support is important so that various people can administer the playlists.

Also important would be the ability to customize commercials based on location as the shops are obviously not identical in each location.

It would be best if the endpoint devices were cheap and simple to setup and administer. Sound quality has to be decent, though.

Is there a dedicated server OS that can handle all this, maybe a *nix distro?

Any other advice and help would be appreciated as well.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Could try looking at something like a ShoutCast server

Set up your stream and the stores just connect to it like internet radio.

share|improve this answer

This is something that is (relatively speaking) easier to do on the technical side. It's the licensing that will kill you. You have to have not just one but three different public performance licenses for every song you want to play: from the author of the music, writer of the lyrics, and the performer.

If you're not using a service for this now, you'll likely find that this is the way to go.

share|improve this answer
unfortunately I am coming from "banana" country where is licensing yet far away from implementing. They did not start yet asking us to licence our OS-s, software and many other things. While it come to time to I must check licencing for streaming sound Ill probably have better solution – adopilot Sep 1 '11 at 20:09
@adopilot - Whether or not your government requires you to license your software, operating systems, or music is immaterial. As a professional, your duty is to ensure those license holders get the money they deserve. – EEAA Sep 1 '11 at 20:13
@adopilot - whether or not the government chooses to the enforce the law, there are international treaties involved here and the laws almost certainly do exist in your country. Personally, I don't feel it's my job to make sure anyone outside my company gets paid, but I do feel it's my job to keep my company out of technical trouble, and it's very possible that in the near future someone will come calling to your company asking for licensing retroactively, or that your company may find itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Those are things worth worrying about. – Joel Coel Sep 1 '11 at 20:16
@adopilot: You need to see if there's a copyright collective in your country or region that can help you with licensing. – Andrew Sep 1 '11 at 23:15
I appreciate the sentiment with these answers, but ultimately it's up to the user to decide whether they want to comply with their appropriate licensing. If you don't want to contribute to someone on a basis of licensing, then that's totally acceptable, but there are still plenty of legitimate places to use this technology and it would be great to help the OP. – Mark Henderson Sep 1 '11 at 23:25

You might want to look at royalty free music to avoid the licensing costs/issues.

Many companies offer royalty free music that can be purchased for a one time fee with no ongoing royalty payments.

Many music composers also offer their work under the Creative Commons License, so you can look into that as well.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.