For far too long, users looking to listen to the huge amount of music they already own have been forced to get a smartphone with storage options big enough to support them. Now Google Play Music, the online streaming service for iPhone and Android users is moving even further ahead of rivals like Spotify and Xbox Music. This morning Google revealed it plans to let Google Play Music All Access subscribers store more music on its servers – a lot more.
Engadget is reporting that Google has upped the amount of music users can store on its servers to 50,000. Previously, the company only allowed Google Play Music users to stuff 20,000 songs on their site before it cut them off. Because of the change, Google Play Music just became a better competitor to music streaming service Spotify overnight. A lack of storage for music and other media is one of the core issues still plaguing smartphones and tablets today. Apple, for example, sells the iPhone 6 with 16GB of storage, despite most agreeing that’s not enough for all of the things a modern smartphone does. Even the base Moto X, which some consider the best Android smartphone available, has only 16GB of storage.
Really, Google Play Music is a two part system. The part getting updated today is what most simply refer to as a “digital music locker.” Users who have tons of songs they’ve already purchased digitally or picked up from other sources load that music on to Google’s servers so that they can stream it at their leisure. Uploading these songs to Google Play Music allows users to get the conveniences of streaming – like not running out of space on their device – while still enjoying their complete library. Spotify doesn’t offer anything like this today.
Amazon offers a similar digital music locker service, and Microsoft revealed back in January that it had plans to introduce a similar feature. That being said, most music services have tried to chip away at this advantage buy rolling out music scanning. They examine the songs that are available in the user’s collection and then make identical versions of those songs available on other devices. This trick works, provided it’s a song available on the service already.
Like Spotify, Google Play Music is also a subscription music service in the traditional sense. $9.99 gets Google Play Music all Access subscribers access 30 million songs directly for their device. Additionally, they can stream subscribers can stream as much music as they want trough YouTube. Google offers a month-long free trial to Google Play Music All Access for new subscribers here.
Taking advantage of the upgraded music storage in Google Play Music is pretty easy. Absolutely anyone can sign up for Google Play Music online with their Google Account. Storing 20,000 songs in Google Play Music’s digital locker service is still free, according to Google. Once users are signed in, they’ll need to click the Add My Music button in the web app and begin uploading their songs. Over time, those songs show up in Google Play Music for Android, iPhone and iPad. The service will mix the uploading songs into the library that lets users access songs they’ve already purchased directly from Google Play Music. How long the upload takes completely depends on how many songs are being uploaded and how speedy a user’s internet connection is.
There isn’t a Google Play Music app available for Microsoft’s Windows or Windows Phone operating systems. Microsoft hasn’t yet said specifically when its users will be able to upload their songs to Xbox Music for a similar experience.