Thanks to this week’s long-awaited addition of OneDrive integration with Xbox Music, it’s now possible to seamlessly use your own music with Microsoft’s music service across devices, and do so without a Music Pass subscription. Here’s how you can put your own music collection in OneDrive and then access it from (almost) any device.
Note: I had previously published an article, Use Your Own Music with Xbox Music, based on content in my free e-book, Xbox Music Field Guide. This new solution is more elegant and as a result I’ll be updating Xbox Music Field Guide soon to address this change. –Paul
When Microsoft first announced Xbox Music almost three years ago, Microsoft promised to provide a cloud-based music locker for your own collection so that you could access it from any device at any time (while online). “You can stream your own collection on the go, or download songs to any compatible device for offline use,” I wrote at the time.
It never happened. Microsoft did implement a “scan and match” feature in Xbox Music—on Windows 8+ only—but that was very limited and would only add music you already owned to your cloud collection; if the music wasn’t available in the Xbox Music Store, it wouldn’t appear. And worse, if you didn’t have an Xbox Music Pass subscription, you could only get 30 second previews of your own songs on other devices.
Today, almost three years later, however, we finally have this functionality. And as you might expect, given how things have evolved since 2012, Microsoft is providing its cloud-based music locker through OneDrive.
To get started, visit OneDrive on the web. If you don’t see a Music folder in the root of your OneDrive storage, just create it.
Now, you can start copying music into the folder. You can do this from the web, of course: Just drag and drop music from your PC into the web browser window. (This works best with Chrome, since it supports uploading folder structures.)
Or, you can use the OneDrive sync client in Windows 7 or newer: Just drag and drop music from your PC into the Music folder in OneDrive from there.
Microsoft lets you upload 50,000 songs, which you may recall is the same limit as Google offers on Google Music. And since you don’t need an Xbox Music Pass subscription, you can now access any music you’ve copied into OneDrive using Xbox Music on all of your devices.
Well, not all of your devices. It works with Xbox Music on Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and it works with Xbox Music on the web. That means Windows 8.0 is out, as is Xbox Music on Android and iOS. Maybe those last two, at least, will be updated soon.
To activate this feature, click here. Then, when you sign in to Xbox Music, your synced OneDrive-based music will appear. Above, I had copied some CDs from The Beatles to OneDrive on my Microsoft account, and when I sign-in to Xbox Music on the web, they just appear. Likewise, when I use the Windows 8.1 Xbox Music app, those albums appear and are available for streaming.
One final tip.
If you were using Xbox Music Pass to build a cloud-based music collection before this functionality arrived, as I have been, you may find that you suddenly have a lot of duplicates. That is, there will be music that you own, and uploaded to OneDrive, and music you’re essentially renting from Xbox Music Pass, and both are comingled in your collection.
To prevent this, navigate to Xbox Music on the web and visit Settings. You will see two new options here.
Automatically remove duplicate songs from your Collection. This will remove the Xbox Music Pass versions of any duplicate songs, not the OneDrive versions (since you own them). Note, however, that if you enable this feature, you will lose some songs from Xbox Music on Android and iOS, since those clients cannot access your OneDrive-based music.
Remove songs and playlists from your online collection. When you click “Choose what to remove,” you’re given this handy set of choices.
I already loved Xbox Music. But now it’s even better. Enjoy!