allows you to upload your music to Google's servers and then access it
remotely from your smart phone (or tablet) or any computer with internet
The service is
free (although you can opt into a premium service for $9.99 a month, but
more on this later), and you can upload up to 20,000 of your songs.
your music is uploaded you'll be able to access it from any computer
with web access, and you'll be able to sync it to up to 10 Android
devices through Google's "Play Music" app.
This is where the flexibility comes in. You can use Google Music on iOS
devices as well through your device's browser
by going to:
you'll just have to login using your Google account. So, if you have
both iOS and Android devices Google Music offers a great advantage over
iTunes Match, since it can be accessed from both platforms for free.
upload time will depend on how many files you want to upload, and how
big each file is. However, be prepared for it to take a while. If Google
has a copy of a song or an album in you've selected to upload,
it'll automatically add it to your Google Music library, bypassing the
upload process for that song or album. In my case, to upload 15,000
files (most of which were not in Google's data base since I listen to a
lot of live music) it took over a week.
Music does cap the file size to 300MB limit per file, but I have a hard
time imagining the average user having any files anywhere near that
One of the
largest music files I have is 100.8MB, and that's for a 44-minute
version of the Allman Brothers Band playing Mountain Jam (Live at the Ludlow Garage 1970) encoded at 320kbps. Even the 40-minute 32-second version of Phish's You Enjoy Myself (Live Phish Vol. 14,
Halloween 1995) encoded at 187 kbps only clocks in at 57.3MB, and
Phish's infamous 36-minute 48-second so-called "Tahoe Tweezer"
(2013-07-31 Harveys Lake Tahoe, Stateline, NV) encoded at 248kbps only
takes up 65.9MB.
your music is uploaded you'll be able to stream your music, create and
share playlists, and download copies of your music. Google Music allows
you to download files from the web, or through the Music Manager
software. From the web you'll only be allowed to download each file
twice. However, there are no download limits if you use the Music
Manager. There are also no restrictions on the files once they're
downloaded. They can be played from any computer or device without
needing to login with your Google account.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a premium service called All Access.
This is a paid service which costs $9.99 a month, but comes with
Google's Radio option. This is essentially equivalent to Pandora,
Spotify, or iTunes' Radio, although it may not have as extensive a
repertoire as iTunes Radio. Again, this service is optional and a paid
subscription is not necessary to upload your music. Note that the music
you stream, or purchase from Google Play does not
count towards the 20,000 song limit. All
Access also allows users to delete their entire music library in a
couple of clicks (regular users have to delete each album individually).
you first sign up for Google Music you'll be offered a free month of
All Access. Go ahead and check it out (I believe All Access users also
enjoy faster upload speeds than regular users, although my experience is
anecdotal), but if you're not planning on continuing to use the service
afterwards, keep an eye out for when your free trial expires. There
will be no warnings, no reminders. The day after the trial ends, your
credit card will be charged $9.99.
Here are some of the things I don't like about Google Music.
- A credit card is required to sign up even if you're not planning on ever using All Access.
- AIFF files are not currently supported.
reported this issue to Google and their customer representative said
they are always trying to add more formats. It may be possibility down
the line, but I had to create mp3 versions of my AIFF files from iTunes
before I could upload them to Google Music.
- The organization isn't great.
There are separate tabs for Artists,
Albums, Songs, and Genres, and those are organized alphabetically
(although for some reason 1 is followed by 11 rather than 2, so if
you want to organize a series you'll have to rename them 01, 02,
etc..), but there is no options equivalent to iTunes' “Album by
Artist” or “Album by Year.” There is also no way to
alphabetize the list of albums when navigate through the Artist menu.
Also, Google Music doesn't recognize
compilations, so it'll create a new artist tab even if you only have
one song by an artist that's part of a compilation. While it does a
good job grabbing album cover art from the files' meta data, Google
Music has a hard time processing picture art for bands it's not
familiar with. Those are either left grey, or are filled in with
erroneous images (on mobile they're filled with album cover art
pulled from your music library which I find more appropriate).