One of the big things that ties people to their iPhone is their music library. You’ve invested a whole stack of time into getting your CD’s into iTunes and you’ve spent goodness knows how much money you’ve spent on great songs and albums? There’s an easy way to ensure you can keep all that music, and any future purchases all in one place – and available on an Android phone – Google Play Music.
For a long time when people asked me “what phone should I buy” my response has been to question what other devices are owned in the family because if you’re in one ecosystem you should probably stay there. Not any more.
App purchases are still an issue – no doubt, but for many the big worry has been the music library.
You’ve got all your music on your computer, sitting in iTunes, you buy your songs on iTunes, your wife or partner buys songs on their iPhone now and then – you want to get all those songs one your phone too right? Easy.
Google Play Music is Google’s answer to the Apple domination of the music marketplace. Sign up for Google Play Music, install the Google “Music Manager” software and you can literally upload your whole music library to the Google “Cloud”.
The software doesn’t actually upload every single track. Like Apple’s own iTunes Match service it actually uploads a list of songs, and where their own cloud servers already have that track it just puts a tick next to it in your virtual library. For songs that are not in the massive library, it uploads them direct from your computer.
You can upload up to 20,000 tracks to Google Play Music – free. No cost up front, no ongoing cost.
Once you’ve done that, any PC can play the tracks via the web, any mobile phone (Android or iOS) can stream them via the internet.
Songs can be stored locally on your mobile device of course, so you can play them when you’re not in mobile range too.
What makes this such a compelling solution though is the ongoing synchronisation. This works because the Google Music Manager software on your PC is constantly monitoring your music folder. That’s the place where iTunes saves all your purchases and songs. When it sees something new it uploads it to the Google Play Music library too.
This even works for podcasts. I’ve noticed my iTunes podcast downloads which I’ve been doing in iTunes are appearing within a short time in my Google Play Music library.
What this allows is a completely cloud based solution for everyone in your family, and if you don’t want to – or can’t be bothered – changing everyone’s buying habits, you can keep buying music via iTunes on any device – with Automatic downloads enabled in iTunes on your PC that music will be placed into your Google Play Music library also.
Google Play Music also has one other key advantage. Streaming music. For $11 a month you can play any song you want from their millions of available tracks. So in theory, if you love music and do like to hear new tracks now and then – once you have your existing library synchronised, you can listen to any new music you want for $11 a month. Just remember, when you stop paying that $11 – any songs you’ve liked are not available to you – only those from your own library. That’s one reason to keep buying individual tracks and albums – on iTunes or Google.
There’s one catch. You can only stream/play music on one device at a time. So making the switch from Apple to Android might be easy for one person, but in a family environment you can’t share the Google Play library across multiple devices without possibly interrupting each other. However, you can minimise duplication by ensuring your music is purchased from one store, stored in one place, and available across multiple platforms using this simple Google Play Music service.
And besides, at the very least it’s worth signing up to just to upload your music as an additional cloud based backup of your library – you can never have too many backups!