Tip: Use Google Play Music

Posted on May 31, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, iOS, Android, Music + Videos, Google Play Music with 85 Comments

Spotify Falls Short for Those With Their Own Music Collections

In the wake of Microsoft’s most recent step back from online music, I’m struck by how many people feel burned by this coming change. Guys, relax. You have much better—and much cheaper—ways to stream your own music from the cloud.

The issue: As part of an ongoing scaling back of its online music endeavors, Microsoft announced today that it will kill the Groove app for Android and iOS at the end of 2018.

This should not have been a surprise to anyone: Microsoft killed its Groove Music Pass service and stopped selling digital music back in late 2017. At the time, it provided a way for subscribers to easily move their Groove playlists and content to Spotify, the leading subscription music service.

Spotify is a great choice for many. But it’s not very easy to use with your own personal music collection, which you perhaps ripped from CD years ago. Until recently, users who wished to mix and match their personal music with music from a subscription service (as I do) had three major choices: Google Play Music, Apple iTunes Match, and Amazon Prime Music. But with Amazon exiting this business in Microsoft’s wake, our choices have dwindled to two: Google Play Music and Apple iTunes Match.

I coincidentally wrote about this situation earlier this week in Fewer Options For Those with Their Own Music (Premium). But here’s some advice for everyone, and not just those who wish to use both personal music and subscription music: Just use Google Play Music. It’s a better app and a better service.

Best of all, you don’t need to pay for it. If all you want to do is stream your own music and not pay for a subscription, Google lets you upload an astonishing 50,000 songs from your PC to the cloud for free. It’s a no-brainer.

Let me be even clearer.

No one should be storing music in OneDrive and streaming/downloading it from there to their devices here in 2018. The cost is too high: You only get 5 GB of storage for free and the most common storage upgrade comes via Office 365 at a cost of $70 to $100 per year. And playing music to a mobile device via OneDrive is a ridiculous option.

By comparison, Google Play Music is fully supported, has a great mobile app, and is free for libraries up to 50,000 songs. This is the right way to go.

You can get started here. Once you sign-in, you’ll want to download any music you have in OneDrive and then upload it to Google using their web-based music upload page (for small collections) or the Google Play Music app for Chrome, which has uploading capabilities.


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Comments (85)

85 responses to “Tip: Use Google Play Music”

  1. Brandonlpierce

    Worth a glance for Google Music users.


  2. Ron Diaz

    Tip: Dump Microsoft

  3. Atoqir

    I listen to soundtracks and trailer music and have collected a lot of exclusive stuff like complete recordings over the years that are not streamable.

    A few additional side notes.

    Google Play Music is great but there are a few things to add IMO. GPM has a 10 device limits and you can deauthorize 4 devices each year. If you like to reinstall phones (ROMs), WIndows or Chrome Channels (as a webdev) you burn a fast through these 10 devices. It also doesn't work always and I have one PC that has used up 3 authorisations. If you play through the chrome extension mini player it also uses 1 device activation. So if you have multiple PC's or use multiple browsers good luck. To circumvent this you have to call Google support and they do a 1 time curtesy and remove your 10 devices. Also keep in mind that the future isn't clear for GPM now that they are transitioning to YouTube Music. They say an equivalent is coming, but Google broke word and functionality many times in the past as well. Lastly is the performance of the iOS app. On my iPhoneX it lags a lot while scrolling. Music sometimes stops for no reason or it cannot find next songs. It is good service but these are very important points to consider.

    I find Apple Music so far great for own library management. It has many many functionalities and works seamless with my phones. It automatically uploads all your songs to the cloud as well. Only problem here is device support. There is no webplayer. So if you want to listen to your collection or Apple Music you have to install the iTunes application etc. They do allow you to remove and reset device authorisations at any point.

    I personally think that the coming 5 years the last 2 holdouts for a personal music cloud lock will disappear too from the market and streaming will become like Spotify and Netflix and somewhere in a dark corner is drive or a folder in Dropbox with your own MP3/FLAC collection. Sad...but true

    • offTheRecord

      In reply to Atoqir:

      "Also keep in mind that the future isn't clear for GPM now that they are transitioning to YouTube Music."

      Yep. This is probably the key thing to keep in mind if one decides to go all-in on GPM, as the article suggests. As we've seen with other Google products (and Amazon products and Microsoft products), useful products and services go away all the time, so always have a Plan B.

    • Chris Payne

      Thanks for the comparison to Apple Music. I'm on this fence here and weighing the drawbacks.

  4. jrickel96

    I've used Spotify, subscribed to GPM, and now use Apple Music. Google Play was the worst of the three services. It will lose items added to your library frequently as Google changes the album configs and doesn't migrate to the new version of the album. Spotify and Apple don't have that problem. It also frequently stops mid-stream, even while data is not interrupted.

    It's interface is not all that great. I'd recommend Spotify or Apple Music over it. I tend to like Apple's selection the best and it tends to have more of the newest releases first. GPM was in fourth place before Groove folded - MS did a good job getting Groove to a good place, but I get why they left the market.

    If you want music on EVERY platform, Spotify is the only choice. If you have an iPhone, Google Play Music is not very good. It's also WAY behind the other three. Apple Music is around 40 million paid subscribers. Spotify is over 70 million paid subscribers (though profit is an issue and I still would not be surprised if MS folded Groove so they could eventually buy Spotify - Google may have trouble if they tried that). Amazon Music Unlimited has around 17 million paid subscribers. Google has maybe 8 million, if it's lucky. Some believe they have been losing subscribers and may be behind Pandora's 6 million. The YouTube move is seen as a desperate attempt to stay alive in that segment. Google continues to struggle to find profit sources outside of its core ad business and could be ravaged if privacy laws become the norm. Many suspect their European profits will take a serious hit before the end of the year.

    Honestly, choose anything BUT Google Play Music. Groove was the one trailing everything in the past, but its folding means that Google is now the one that is way behind all other competitors. Go with Spotify, Apple, or Amazon. Those services will survive. The YouTube move reeks of the rebranding Microsoft tried with Zune - desperate attempts to right a ship that is going down.

  5. AnthonyE1778

    Google Play is a good suggestion, but somewhat limited for certain things.

    I have recently heard of a service called VoX Music. It's only for Mac/iPhone/iPad, but has anybody here ever used it? I would be interested to learn about their cloud storage service and if it's any good. While they don't have a PC player, they do have a Chrome extension which essentially gives it PC support.

  6. glenn8878

    I don't get why anyone would bother with uploading your "own" music to a cloud service. You can store a lot of music directly on your phone, then stream the rest, but streaming your own music back to your phone with spotty cellular service is not a good option for many. You need costly unlimited service if you can find it. It works better when you're home with wifi. Then again, there's already plenty of free music service Pandora or free radio or free Music with Amazon Prime. My iPhone has 128 GB. Good enough for my most popular music preferences. If you're into organizing your full music collection, a PC is the better option with cloud backup (of course).

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to glenn8878:

      Allow me to explain. Less expensive phones simply don't have the storage. And, if your music collection is really large--ours is--you simply can't fit it all. Having our collection on OneDrive means it CAN sync with our phones but not all of it has to, and we can stream the rest. Personally, I don't like any of the streaming services. You get a hodge podge of what THEY think you like--and it's virtually never correct for me--and none of them have my entire collection.

      • glenn8878

        In reply to Rob_Wade:

        Then buy a more expensive phone? No one can fit then entire collection on a phone. It's about selecting the music you're most likely to listen to and enjoy. Because I won't purchase all the music I enjoy, I'd rather listen for free with a free streaming service if I must. It's sometimes fun to listen to music that I never considered before so why not try some new playlists. Anyways, it's hard to believe many people are audiophiles who amass big record collections. I'm at the age where I retired my records and my CDs. Two whole media types went down the drain. I'm not about to recreate my collection in the cloud. We are back to listening to singles again after a good run of LPs. No more B side either.

  7. Skolvikings

    I don't believe Google Play Music on iOS supports scrobbling to last.fm. That's somewhat of a deal-breaker for me. I appreciate the fact that Spotify and last.fm just did an upgrade where you can tie your Spotify account to your last.fm account and the scrobbling happens automatically across any device. That said, I can handle logging into last.fm on each individual device, it's just too bad Google Play Music on iOS doesn't support any of this.

  8. rameshthanikodi

    I don't understand, why do you need a cloud streaming service if you own your own music?

    Spotify does what I think makes the most sense. You can add your local files to a playlist and it will sync to your phone over Wi-Fi. Even better, if the song is available on Spotify, it will match and download it from the service. Essentially the playlist becomes a perfect hybrid merge of your local files and streaming, managed in the same place, both on your phone and computer.

    • PincasX

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      I mentioned this above but will repeat myself here as well. It’s a matter of

      convience. I have a large digital music library. If I didn’t use a cloud based storage I’d have to copy all of it to my phone, my tablet and my personal and work portables and my watch. It would also be inaccessible on my “smart” speaker unless I went and got a device to stream to my speaker. Adding new music would involve ripping it and then moving it to each device manually. So, I could do that or I could use a cloud service and just have it available everywhere. Additionally, I don’t have to stream it, I can download what I want to listen to.

      Do I *need* this? No, but I also don’t *need* to listen to music. It is nice to have though. Admittedly, people see value in different thing and that is fine. My use case may not be relevant to you but just because the service doesn’t have value to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value to others.

  9. awj

    I've been a user of Google Play Music for a couple of years and thought I'd add some comments here as my experience differs slightly from that of other users. While I don't doubt that other users might have had problems with, for example, the upload-matching leading to incorrect matches, I have nothing but good things to say about GPM and thoroughly recommend it - so long as you're prepared to use a Google service.

    I'm not a fan of Google and have turned off all the tracking options that are available to me (though I have reason to doubt that Google pays attention to the don't-track-my-location option but that's a little off-topic). So I'm not writing this from the perspective of a Google fanboy but actually in spite of that.

    Also, I don't pay for GPM; As a free-tier user I get the advantages I want without paying a penny.

    I stream music from GPM for pretty much the whole of my working day (and am doing so while I type this). I generally listen to ambient music while working and many of the ambient albums I've accrued over the years are not available on Spotify. Several years ago I spent about 8 tedious weekends ripping all my CDs and storing them all on my Synology NAS. About two years ago I was able to synchronise my entire collection from the NAS to GPM. (I also have that Music folder on my NAS backed-up to OneDrive.)

    Someone else commented here that they use the Synology app to stream music from their NAS. This has disadvantages: I don't leave my NAS on 24/7, it boots only from around 8am - 11:30pm, and it's certainly not running while we're on holiday. Also, I found the Synology music app to be an exercise in frustration.

    Someone else asked why streaming music from OneDrive was a bad idea - the reason is that streaming from OneDrive does not transcode. This is fine if you're on wi-fi but on a mobile (cellular) connection this will eat up your data allowance. (Before I realised this I ate up my month's data allowance after 3 days of commuting to the office.)

    I use Google's 'Music Manager' app for uploading because I'm not a Chrome user. The app has a couple of UI problems but it otherwise works well - and fast (about 4 times faster than uploading to OneDrive). Music uploaded through this tool automatically appears in the online player within seconds.

    It's been mentioned elsewhere but it's worth repeating: When you upload music to GPM it recognises each track but when you play your music you get Google's own version. This means if you upload, for example, a track ripped at 128kbps GPM will make its own high-quality version available to you; however, should you choose to download that track you will be given Google's own version down-sampled to 128kbps (it *might* give you your own version back but I'm not sure this version is stored, I think GPM simply stores the quality of your upload). I've never had a problem with the song-matching. I don't doubt that others have had this problem but I have almost 40,000 songs in GPM and although I haven't listened to every one of them I've yet to come across a mismatch.

    If GPM doesn't recognise the track then it keeps your upload and makes that available to you.

    If GPM does recognise the track then you also get the album cover attached. When I ripped all my CDs I didn't save the album covers so this is a way of determining which albums GPM recognises and which it doesn't. From this I can tell that GPM recognises ambient albums (for what that's worth) which I know are not in Spotify (because I've recommended some to a Spotify-subscribing friend who can't find them).

    Someone also complained about the speed of the Windows 10/Electron GPM app. I use this every day (it offers good integration with Windows 10) and have never had a problem with speed/responsiveness - yes, Electron apps can take a while to start up (<cough>Teams</cough>) but once started I've never noticed a lag; it's perfectly snappy for me.

    So there it is, how I take advantage of Google Play Music to store, stream and transcode my own music collection at a good quality, wherever I am; it comes with a decent third-party app (which offers better Windows integration than the web UI); I can get my music back whenever I like (though in my case I've kept it all somewhere else anyway), and it's completely free (well... it's 'Google free').

    And there are no adverts.

    GPM also allows you to download tracks to a device, has options for easily creating or adding to playlists, pausing once the current track has finished, shuffling between all your songs or just for a specific artist...

    Downsides? I don't think you can share playlists. Not that that would matter to me because everyone I know seems to be a Spotify user.

  10. irfaanwahid

    The only problem... it is not available in my countryKenya. One of the best options available here is Apple Music. Unlike other companies, Apple is the only company who seems to understand that products/services should be released globally.

  11. ErichK

    I use Google Play Music with all my ripped music along with some purchased digital music, and generally I like it, but the fact about the song matching is new to me and concerns me a little. However, it does explain why when I play Pink Floyd: The Wall and Another Brick in The Wall Part 2 starts playing, I hear that alternative intro where the guitar part is played for 8 bars or something like that before the vocals come in.

  12. Informed

    "Google lets you upload an astonishing 50,000 songs from your PC to the cloud for free."

    Are uploaded MP3s held against the free 15GB storage allotment? Also, do uploaded songs appear in Google Drive or are they separate from Drive?

  13. IanYates82

    What pushed me to Google play music after Pandora packed up in Australia (I was originally using it ad free, for free, on Windows phone) was that I could do the family pack AND get YouTube red to get no ads there too.

    It was a win for my wife (music) and a win with the kids (YouTube). I hadn't placed much value on either but now couldn't go back to ads on either service.

    Google play music is a no brainer people! ☺

  14. bassoprofundo

    If you're serious about your own local media collection, solutions like Plex keep getting better and are worth looking into. It still doesn't provide the "holy grail" of seamless integration between your own stuff and that of the streaming services you use, but it's a one-stop shop for every bit of media you own if set up correctly. There are apps for literally every platform out there, integration with cloud services, sync capability (if you want to avoid/minimize bandwidth usage), and a whole lot more.

    I've had a Plex collection ever since the future (or lack thereof) of WinMCE became apparent, and it's one of the few apps I use every single day, multiple times a day. My local pictures and music library are actually up in Onedrive and sync to the local box I use as the Plex server, which is a nice solution for playback that Onedrive storage now that Groove is dead.

  15. Waethorn

    "playing music to a mobile device via OneDrive is a ridiculous option"

    This is one of the reasons Microsoft is failing in the consumer market.

    • dylanhendricks

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Hasn't Microsoft basically conceded that the consumer market isn't for them? I feel like the company makes more sense as a purely enterprise play than it has in years trying to dabble in everything.

  16. Tony Barrett

    GPM is great. I have the family plan, and it's fantastic VFM. Never had a problem with it, and it works across all the devices we have seamlessly. Some people are just too picky, but at least with GPM I can play music via the app, stream to all my Chromecast audio's (and other Chromecast compatible devices) which includes multi-room, use a web player, and thankfully, don't have do go anywhere near that abomination of an app - iTunes.

  17. JustMe

    Why would I stream my own music? Rip my CDs, tapes and records, copy the files to my phone, and I can listen to my collection regardless of whether or not I am in an area with spotty cellular coverage, on an airplane, or in an area with no wifi. Streaming my own collection seems inefficient.

    Granted, you can make the argument that some inexpensive phones dont have a lot of storage. To me, that means getting a phone that at least has memory card support. Need to "sync" devices? Just move the memory card.

    • jgraebner

      In reply to JustMe:

      That probably is the best choice for people with relatively small collections. My music collection is around 770GB, which would be ridiculously difficult to manage via local storage. I could probably reduce that some by reducing the quality (the CD rips are all Flac), but even then I still expect it would be hard to just keep it all local. I also have a lot of music that simply isn't available on streaming services and probably won't be any time soon.

      I mainly use a combination of Google Play Music and a Subsonic server that I maintain on my own network. It works well and through use of sync capabilities, offline hasn't generally been a problem.

    • ZippyNH

      In reply to JustMe:

      Some groups, mostly independent or obscure ones, don't stream...and dome folks don't want the have multi stored copies of that music on all devices...say maybe a Nexus or owner end phone without a SD card? It happens.

    • glenn8878

      In reply to JustMe:

      Doesn't always work to just insert a new memory card. They sometimes get corrupted. People should just buy the best phone they can afford if this is all about listening to music. The hassle is not worth the monetary savings.

    • PincasX

      In reply to JustMe:

      Maybe I’m getting hung up on the word streaming here. I have a fairly large collection of digital music and I’m still only half way through my CDs. I use Apple Music which include Music Match. I like being able to download music from my collection rather than having to transfer it to my phone manually. The difference between my situation and what you described is that I’m downloading vs streaming.

      Oh, having my music in the cloud also means it’s accessible on all my devices (computers, tablet, phone, watch and smart speaker). That can’t be done by storing it locally.

  18. sgtaylor5

    I've got about 8 GB of 192 kbps music, some of it will not be on any streaming service, ever. Most of that is on my 32 GB iPhone. I'm using Amazon Prime Music (not Unlimited) to stream new music to my phone or MBP. There is enough music on Prime to satisfy me, and I'm already paying for Prime anyway.

    Never did like GPM's interface after the most recent redesign; too handholds and I didn't like their mixes.

  19. Rob_Wade

    I'm sorry, but I hate Google. I refuse their stupid music service, period. I'm holding on to my Lumia as long as I possibly can. And even as I test out Android--and try to make it into as much of a Windows experience as I possibly can--I just won't use Google's crap. I wish that company would dry up and blow away, along with any memory it ever existed. Yes, I feel that strongly.

    • Jhambi

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      "And even as I test out Android--and try to make it into as much of a Windows experience as I possibly can--I just won't use Google's crap."

      LOL. Quoted for the museum crew

  20. Illusive_Man

    I personally prefer Amazon Music

  21. offTheRecord

    Some folks think the writing's on the wall for Google Play Music (GPM), given Google's recent actions regarding YouTube Music. Apparently, their goal is to eventually migrate all GPM subscribers (users?) to YouTube Music in 2019. They claim YouTube Music will have all of the features and capabilities that GPM has, including user uploads.

    The Verge wrote about this recently: "YouTube Music will eventually get Google Play Music’s best features, including user uploads."

    EDIT: It won't let me insert a link, so just Google the Verge story title (It's a May 23, 2018 article).

  22. SamERuiz

    Now that we have confirmation that user uploads will continue with YouTube Music, this is definitely the best way to go right now.

  23. ph-sth

    I get this, but there are issues.

    Because Google Play Music matches your content, instead of taking it all into personal cloud storage, a portion of my English language content plays in Spanish, because of the matching. It's the same songs, but the artist recorded it in English, later in Spanish due to their fan base. It's some of my most listened to material, and it's a stupid issue.

    There's another artist, one of whose songs skips on every streaming service I've used, presumably because of a bad rip. If that happened to me on OneDrive, I can go and rip it again. Through Spotify, Play Music etc. I'm stuck with it.

    Some of Google's (presumably earlier) rips are awful on the ears too - really low quality. I'm not massively fussy by any stretch of the imagination (who is who uses mp3s in Groove?), but the ability to stream my rips of my music at my chosen bitrate was valued.

    The Play Music app for Chrome isn't a goer, I don't use, or like, Chrome. The Google desktop sync client is horrendous and drags my PC to a crawl. It's not a new device by any means, but nothing else impacts it like that thing does.

    And the Play Music Android app is just horrible.

    My own opinions and experiences all, but this isn't a goer for me.

    Granted, I wouldn't choose Groove today on the basis of its awful Android app, but the infrastructure that went with it, as a bolt on to the use I had for Office 365 and, at the time, the Groove app on my then Windows 10 phone, worked for me.

    I will be glad to be free of Groove's laughable album art matching, mind.

    • bmatusz

      Some of Google's (presumably earlier) rips are awful on the ears too - really low quality. I'm not massively fussy by any stretch of the imagination (who is who uses mp3s in Groove?), but the ability to stream my rips of my music at my chosen bitrate was valued.

      Agreed. This was a significant deal breaker for me. It's really noticeable when I played several Pink Floyd albums. The high range was gone and the bass was neutered. I did a side-by-side comparison using playback through GPM browser and the iOS application and the quality of the match was unbearable. I wish I could override the Match, but I could not find a way to do this.

      If I want a song, I just buy it in iTunes. I'll still buy a CD and do a high quality rip. Everything plays through iTunes. I don't subscribe to iTunes Music or any such service. I use that recurring charge to buy the music I want.

    • nbates66

      In reply to ph-sth:

      Well, this would likely make GPM unusable for me as well (I have songs various streaming services won't recognise and I bet GPM doesn't either), maybe i'll have to stick with having my music in a folder on the cloud, telling my phone to redownload it anytime a change happens, then re-adding the playlists.

      This is just going back to making it hard for people to enjoy songs that aren't from a companies own streaming service.

    • train_wreck

      In reply to ph-sth:

      Oh, i didn’t know that about Google Play “matching” uploads instead of just taking the file upload as-is. That really stinks. I look at streaming every so often, and a considerable amount of tracks in my library (mostly underground-ish electronica, late 90s to today) either have numerous inaccuracies (mixes labeled wrong, extended versions that aren’t, etc) or more commonly just don’t exist.

      It’s why I still have a Synology NAS and a VPN router at home, and i just stream from there. Been doing a form of this for over 6 years, and it works wonderfully. Synology has some surprisingly good apps for iOS/Android, and i get the benefit of having MY library with my files. Oh, and no ads or subscription fees! ;)

  24. jhoff80

    Personally, I don't feel like I have enough control over my music with Google Play Music. The tool doesn't just upload your music as-is but scans and matches first. That can be good for some people, but I'm not a fan of it.

    Secondly, I use an Android phone (Galaxy Note 8), an Android smartwatch (LG Watch Sport), and an Android TV box (Shield TV)... but I absolutely detest the Google Play Music UI on every single one of those devices. And somehow the UI is even worse for paid subscribers, because it prioritizes other albums in the cloud over albums that you've already added to your 'collection.'

    Finally, I tried using an unofficial / Win32 Google Play Desktop client from the Windows Store (I believe it used Electron with the web client) and it was just too slow and laggy for me on my main PC, a Core M device. Groove on W10 has no such issues.

    As I have an Office 365 account, OneDrive storage space is not a concern in any way. So I will continue to use Groove on PC, and on Android I switched over to CloudPlayer, as I mentioned on the news thread. Plex is another option, but Plex Cloud requires a Plex Pass subscription, and was glitchy with the OneDrive connection when I tested it. CloudPlayer is a one-time fee.

    • Rob_Wade

      In reply to jhoff80:

      Among the MANY reasons I hate Android is the fact that Cortana simply doesn't work as ubiquitously as it does on the various Windows devices. Does CloudPlayer work with Cortana? As I've said before, we have Cortana turned permanently on with all our devices, so we really never have to touch a device to do a lot of things, including play our music.

      • jhoff80

        In reply to Rob_Wade:

        I mean, overall, I personally find Cortana to be relatively useless. It's now the third place assistant after Alexa (by far the leader) and Google Assistant (a very distant second).

        It's been a long slide downhill from the WP8.1 days, to the point where some features are worse now than they used to be 3-4 years ago. I know some people advocate for Microsoft services only, but I personally am of the opinion that you are tying your hands behind your back that way. Some Microsoft Android apps are great, and some are terrible. Personally, I use Cortana on Android only for notification sync, and it doesn't even do a great job of that either. (But I use a ton of other Microsoft apps and services too.)

        That being said, if you find Cortana useful overall, that's great. However, Cortana does not integrate with third-party apps on Android for things like music. Google Assistant on the other hand works perfectly if you say something like "play xxxxxxxxx in CloudPlayer".

    • offTheRecord

      In reply to jhoff80:

      "Personally, I don't feel like I have enough control over my music with Google Play Music. The tool doesn't just upload your music as-is but scans and matches first. That can be good for some people, but I'm not a fan of it."

      You can force Google Play Music to upload the original local file if it doesn't match it to your satisfaction.

  25. Soundtweaker

    Don't forget the Plex app can play music from Onedrive or your device.

  26. woelfel

    Definitely switching.

  27. Daekar

    I don't understand why "playing music to a mobile device via OneDrive is a ridiculous option." If you already have the O365 subscription, why wouldn't you do that? Very few people have enough music to make much of a dent in 1TB, and you can sync the tracks directly to your phone's local storage from there or stream it using a 3rd party app. It enables you to keep 100% direct control of your music files in a way that the GPM upload doesn't permit.

    FWIW, I usually play local files that are cloud-synced, but I have the GPM uploader setup on my PC too, so switching back and forth is effortless. No reason not to - as Paul has pointed out, it's free so you might as well.

    Hopefully the UI on the new version of Youtube Music will be good enough to maintain the recommendation, I really like the GPM interface.

    • NoFlames

      In reply to Daekar: I agree and I prefer OneDrive, but storage and cloud streaming sources are a cost to the company. By doing this, they remove the resource burden. People will use less storage even though they may be paying for 1TB. This will improve their profitability on cloud services.

    • CrownSeven

      In reply to Daekar:

      Because its not Google. Paul loves anything Google lately it seems.

    • rth314

      In reply to Daekar:

      I agree. I also have an O365 subscription, and I have more than 50,000 songs. So OneDrive is the cheaper option. Also, Play Music doesn't even have a Windows app, and I'm not interested in playing music through a browser or a third-party app. I thought Microsoft was going to make iOS and Android work better with Windows. Now they are backtracking on that.

      Paul has a way of belittling his readers who get attached to things that not long ago he recommended to us. Switching services is an annoyance to us, rather than an opportunity to write another article. In many cases, sticking with whatever you have is the best choice since it doesn't require time out of your life to keep the status quo. Microsoft has a way of making its customers regret decisions to user their products and services.

    • bassoprofundo

      In reply to Daekar:

      I gathered from the "playing music to a mobile device via OneDrive is a ridiculous option" comment that he literally meant using the Onedrive app on mobile to play your music. It's not the storage piece (assuming you already pay for O365) or playing back media from a 3rd party player that is actually synced to your device from onedrive that would be ridiculous (although it's far from elegant).

      Without a playback app that integrates that streaming capability natively (a la Groove), you're left with only a kludge of workaround-ish options. In the day and age of solutions that seamlessly integrate that capability (or did until recently), it'd be a big step back to have to resort to "old Windows guy" solutions (ex.- cue nerd voice "I have this script that automatically syncs the music folder on my home server once I'm in wifi range and a task that fires off a metadata refresh on my playback app once the sync completes...")

    • JerryH

      In reply to Daekar:

      There is nothing wrong with your use case. That will certainly fit for some people. I've also got one that is perhaps an outlier. Google Play Music coupled with 7 (yes seven) Google Home devices to cover our house plus 3 audio chromecasts on nice speakers and a stereo, and 2 cast enabled Brookstone Big Blue Party speakers means I can say things like "Hey Google, shuffle Jackie Grad Party from Google Play Music on whole house" and you have a poor man's Sonos. Or even using Google Home shortcuts such that "Hey Google Rock Me Outside" ends up shuffling a different playlist on just the two Big Blue Party speakers or "Hey Google Mop the Kitchen" ends up playing a GPM radio station on just my downstairs inside stuff. If you have no use for any of that, totally understood. But it is what makes GPM work really well for my use case.

  28. harmjr

    They should just go ahead and Kill the Groove W10 app all together now. Its worthless now.

    • Patrick3D

      In reply to harmjr:

      The alternative to Groove is going back to Windows Media Player for native media playback, yuck!

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to harmjr:

      Maybe they'll re-skin it and just call it "Music" or something; no point in having a brand name for it.

    • Ekim

      In reply to harmjr:

      Down vote not for the comment but because this is likely to be next. It's not worthless BTW. They finally fixed all the issues I had with it but yes, I expect it will be next.

      I'm developing a distinct dislike for software that can be revoked at anytime. Starting to miss the shrink-wrapped days :-(

  29. jgraebner

    I somehow got upgraded to a 100,000 song limit on Google Play Music last year, although I'm not sure how. I do subscribe to the full service (with the family plan) and I also have a Pixel XL 2, so I suspect it was a perk of one or the other of those. I have always found it a bit strange that they don't simply offer a paid upgrade to accommodate larger libraries. Until this mysterious upgrade, the service was of somewhat limited use since my music library exceeds the 50,000 track limit.

    • Ogugg

      In reply to jgraebner:

      There was a promo with Samsung Galaxy S8 device:

      As part of a special partnership between Google and Samsung, S8 Google Play Music users will be able to store up 100,000, up from 50,000 compared to regular Play Music users, on Google’s servers

      Maybe it 's that...

      • jgraebner

        In reply to Ogugg:

        Yeah, I knew about that one, but I haven't owned a Samsung Phone since the Nexus S. I do have a Galaxy Tab S2, so maybe simply logging on to Play Music on any Samsung device triggered that offer.

        Either way, I don't know why they don't at least offer that as a paid upgrade. It certainly made a big difference in the usability of the service for me.

  30. GetEdumated

    Maybe when there is an Xbox app...

  31. dcdevito

    Google Play Music is the blacksheep of Google's apps to many Android fans and I can't understand why. I think it's great, especially for uploading all your music.

  32. Cdorf

    I already have Office so my collection fits nicely into OneDrive and Google only matches music... and my gosh there are a lot of inaccuracies in my collection. I never wanted to manually sort that out so I used Groove when away.

    There's just no perfect system right now and that's a shame- its 2018 and sometimes I miss good ol' WinAmp

  33. hometoy

    What about those that store their music locally (SD card) so as to not use data when listening to music in the car?

    • David Kepple

      In reply to hometoy:

      Once all your music is uploaded to Google you can select what music you want to download & store locally on your device.

      • Rob_Wade

        Our entire collection is loaded on our server at home, which has it's own Microsoft account and syncs everything to OneDrive. This is shared to my wife's Microsoft account and mine. We can access that music virtually anywhere, hands free, because we also rely heavily on Cortana. So, with Microsoft failing to do anything with Cortana on Android, and now planning to kill their Groove app---which easily accesses our music library--on Android, too, there's even less incentive for us to move to Android (or iPhone, for that matter).

      • CrownSeven

        In reply to David_Kepple:

        LOL. So are you suggesting uploading ALL your music to Google, so that you can just turn around and download it again locally on your device - where it was - in the first place?

    • jgraebner

      In reply to hometoy:

      At least on Android, Google Play Music also plays locally stored music. I'm pretty sure the iOS music app does too.

  34. Brockman

    I'm not interested in further contributing to Google's computing hegemony; their growing dominance is worse than Microsoft's in the 90's. Between Chrome, Android and YouTube Google has managed to create a "platform" that actually funnels the vast majority of the benefits back to themselves.

  35. Riopato

    Seriously, if I wanted to use Google music, I would've used it a long time ago. I've been using Microsoft's last iteration of their streaming music player since Zune music pass and Zune desktop before that. I have an eclectic personal music library that I have collected over a decade which Groove allowed me access via Onedrive. This collection was painstakingly organized and ripped to my personal taste which is unfortunately archived in wma format. Zune, XboxMusic and Groove are the only players that seamlessly played these files and because of Microsoft's decision to abandon their users once again, I am totally fucked if I use any media player that is not windows based. Did they really needed to kill the Groove web player along with their music service?!?!?