The technologies related to our personal enjoyment of music have dramatically changed over the past century! Imagine how huge a change it was that you could RECORD a live performance and play it back whenever you wanted. Persons who would never have heard the original performance could now hear it. From the early days there was a gramophone and soon after came the golden age of radio. The progression to the vinyl record allowed about 20 minutes per each side of the disc in the LP long playing 33 1/3 RPM mode! The 8-track tape allowed a more portable format as you could take these along in your automobile. The more compact cassette tapewas an even better format. Do you remember creating “mix tapes” from recording favorite songs on the radio? Finally, the compact disc wraps up this quick bit of nostalgic history. We are able to still buy CDs in stores, but in many ways having the “physical media” is really not even necessary any more!
If you want to “own” a song, nowadays it is simple as going to amazon.com and paying about a dollar for the song and then you can download the mp3 file and you have it! What has also been recently introduced into our vocabulary is “cloud storage“. What makes this particularly appealing is that we can “attach to the cloud” wherever we have internet access. These days we have multiple devices. We have one or more computers, a phone, and perhaps a tablet. If you have a large library of music, think about how much time and hassle it requires porting your mp3s to all the places that you might want to access them. So what if your music was on the cloud and if you could stream it to whatever device you are presently at – well that would be awesome! The time is now here!
In this post, I want to introduce you to Google Play Music.
Google has had a cloud music service for a while and I have been using it since it came out and am very happy with it. It has already been available both on the web (in the browser) and as an android app. In the past week, the big news was that it was FINALLY also available as an iOS app. Apple users could previously access it through the web browser but it just wasn’t the same good user experience as a music player as an app can offer. So now it is a more comprehensively available service, whether you are in a browser, on your android or on your Apple iPhone or iPad.
The first part about this service is that Google gives you an ENORMOUS amount of FREE cloud storage for your songs. In fact, up to 20,000 songs for free. I have a decent sized music library and all tallied is only about 2,700 songs which means I’m only about 14% of the total free capacity!
The first thing you have to do is to download the music manager app (in truth the first thing you have to do is have a free google account, but that I’m pretty certain that 99% of you already do). Once you launch the app and link it to your google account, then you are ready to begin uploading the music files that you have on your hard drive. Google has a “music match” service to speed up this process. If it recognizes the song file, it uses the high fidelity master copy that it already has stored and does not require that you actually upload it. Since it will match many of the files in your library this can save quite a bit of time. Even so, it can take a while at the first launch to get all your files up to the cloud. Be patient, it is worth the wait.
After you have songs uploaded, the first place I suggest you visit is your library on the cloud via your browser. As you can see, you can browse your library via Artist, Album, and Genre. I enjoy the browser view as I work both on a laptop and desktop computer and have my library at both.
The next stop for your music playback should be via the Google Play Music App on whatever devices you have. You can get the Android app or the iOS app via those links. The interface will be very similar to the web page. Having it on your device gives you portability! Take your music with you wherever you go.
Remember that this is a cloud streaming service, so having a good internet connection when you want your music is important. If you know you will be “offline” for a while (perhaps in a spot with not so good internet access) you can have music you select in offline mode. You do this by going to an album you are interested in and clicking the pin button and it will download the music files to the storage on your device so that you can listen to the selected music even if you are offline.
Finally, you may want to explore music beyond your library. Google has a premium service that costs $9.99 per month that gives you access to nearly any artist and album that you want to hear. This is similar to the Spotify music service. Spotify on a desktop computer app is entirely free (except for the ads) and is hard to beat for price if the desktop app is the only place that you listen to music. However, as soon as you want this huge amount of music access on your portable devices you can pay the premium either to Spotify or Google, however if it is me choosing the premium route, I will go with Google as it already has my personal library as well and I then only have a singular stop for all my music needs! If you are interested in exploring the Google premium service, you can try it out for free for the first month.
What is also great about the service when you are ready to explore and find previously undiscovered music that fits your taste is to look into the “radio” modes where it mixes a playlist of songs of similar style to an artist that you choose. This will introduce you to other artists and songs that you will enjoy. There are other players in the “radio” arena… notably Pandora and iTunes Radio. These services allow to pick an artist or song to become the seed to a radio playlist. However you are at the mercy of the DJ algorithm and you don’t have full control over the playlist. Nevertheless, these also are great places worth a portion of your music listening time. However, if you want to listen to a specific album, specific song, or specific playlist – it is really hard to beat the Google Play music services. Check it out, you’ll love it!
Originally posted at: Your Music on the Cloud - Google Music