Posts: 43
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:24 am
Location: West Sussex, England

Accessing iTunes via Raspberry Pi Alexa?

Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:14 am

Total newbie here, I don't even yet own a Raspberry Pi. I do however have a couple of ideas for projects but despite reading loads of guides and watching dozens of video tutorials I'm still a little unclear on what is actually achievable and so am holding off buying kit until I know more.

I have an idea for a project to help a family member with a debilitating condition. Part of that would use technology that already exists but present it in a more simplified and suitable way, the other part requires programming and more use of GPIO funcitons. As a way of working out how to do this I first want to try building a different project that uses some of this existing technology.

So I want to use a 'digital assistant' like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant but ideally I need it to be able stream music not only from iTunes but from iTunes Match. I might consider using Apple Music instead if iTunes Match simply isn't possible but it's an extra expense I could do without.

The vast majority of my iTunes library consists of around 300 CD's I've ripped and so is DRM free. I've probably bought less than 50 albums from iTunes and if I could only access these via Alexa then there's pretty much no point

From what I can gather, Siri won't run on a Pi but Alexa and Google will. However it looks like Google can't access iTunes whereas Alexa can but there seems to be a difference of opinion on exactly what Alexa can access.

Has anyone managed to access music in their iTunes Match through Alexa running on a Pi in the UK?

Failing that one other thing I would be prepared to do is to copy my music library onto a an external drive that is then connected to the Pi.

Can you configure the Pi/Alexa to look for music files locally first? Obviously updating the library on the external drive is more problematic so is it possible to share a USB drive on the Pi across a LAN so that I could remotely access the drive from my Mac? Also does the Raspberry Pi power supply produce enough current to run the Pi and run a bus powered USB drive (250GB SSD drive)?

Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:03 am

Re: Accessing iTunes via Raspberry Pi Alexa?

Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:31 am

I don't have answers for you. I'm very new to this stuff myself. But what I've been investigating and setting up for myself is similar enough that I'll mention what I've found so far for my local music files. (Mostly mp3 ripped from CD, some old favorites not available on any streaming service)

My first attempt (that worked) was to Install Daphile on an old and slow formerly windows XP laptop. It works rather nicely, it can playback locally or to my Chromecast audio receivers or to various software players (VLC) running on other devices. But the laptop uses more power that I want to leave running 24/7.

Next, I installed PiCore player on a Rasp pi 3b+. Similar concept to Daphile, but I found it a little less clear how to get working (could just be me). Once I did get it working, I moved it to a Pi Zero W, all my mp3s stored on the SD Card. This works perfectly, controlled by Squeezer or Hi Fi Cast on an Android phone. There's player software for other platforms too, but I've hardly looked at options so far.

But I also have Alexa Echo speakers and they don't talk to PiCorePlayer.

So next up on my agenda is to try My Media for Alexa.
It's $5 a year to use their skill and server as the intermediary to Alexa but music files stay local to your myMedia server. The only drawback is it can't do multi-room yet.

I know it's not really addressing your questions, but there's a lot of flexibility in local music storage and playback that may suit your end goal as well as a cloud service would. Maybe an Alexa voice controlled speaker playing from a combination of iTunes and myMedia would provide a solution?

Return to “Media centres”