I while back (3 years ago now) I wrote about the Spotify app and while it is still a great app to have, the ads are annoying unless you pay for the Premium version. The Google Play Music service isn’t as widely known about as it should be and using it is a great way to have your music wherever you want. Let’s look at how to do this.
Firstly, Google Play Music allows you to upload your own music, ripped from CDs you own or otherwise obtained – up to an amazing 50,000 songs now (it was 20,000 when the service was launched) at no cost for standard Google account users. What is even better is that the service scans your songs as you upload and any that are in Google’s catalog already are matched and placed in your collection in high quality 320k format. This means that if you converted tracks from your CD collection a while ago and used the default and lower 128k quality format that Windows Media Player uses, the song quality you can listen to on the Google Play Music service is better.
Uploading your music collection can take a while certainly and can take fair amount of data if you have thousands of songs, but it can be quite quick if many of the tracks are already in the Google Music catalog. Once your music is stored ‘up in the cloud’ it stays there as long as you have your Google account and it remains your private, personal collection.
Once you have uploaded your music – how do you listen to it? Easy, you can go to Google Play Music on any PC or Mac in a web browser, log in to your account and listen even if you are away from home. You can use the Play Music app on your phone or tablet (link to this is shown below as always). A big advantage of using the app is that you can turn Bluetooth on and connect to a Bluetooth speaker for better quality or send to your Sonos system via WiFi instead if you own one. The app gives full control of the playback. Pause, skip tracks, choose Albums, Genres, Artists etc plus it will control the music volume on the device or whatever device the music is being sent to as well. It certainly beats changing the CD on the stereo after every album!
So here’s a scenario: you are out at a party (yes I know, at our age it might be more of a quiet get together at a friends place) and the host says ‘wish I had that album in my CD collection’. You whip out your phone and say, ‘well I have it on Google Play Music, I’ll play it now if you like!’. If you plan ahead you could take your Chromecast along to the party, plug it into their TV and play the songs (with album art included) on their telly – or alternatively a Chromecast Audio and plug it into their stereo. Won’t you be popular? Well maybe not but you get the idea – your music is now portable so long as you have internet connectivity and music consumes far less than video to download and stream. Playing around 10 music albums uses less than a 10th of the data than streaming a longish YouTube video or a movie.
I like the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ mode personally as it plays random tracks from my collection but also I’m a fan of the ‘Instant Mix’ mode. You just start playing a song from your library and you get similar songs from different artists if you want to use that mode. How it works out which ones is beyond me, but it does so and very well.
If you were thinking of paying for Spotify Premium (or a Google Play Music A$12 a month plan) and you have a sizeable music collection already, think about setting up your own ‘Spotify’ streaming service using Google Play Music. It’s simple to do and the reward is listening to your music when and where you want.
Price : FREE
Size : Varies with device
Needs : Varies with device