Right now, it's a great time to be a music lover with a digital collection, but it may not be so great if you haven't committed to a single device.
I'm a great lover of gadgets, so I have a few iOS devices, a few Android devices, and a Kindle Fire, which uses a version of Android restricted to Amazon. If I want to listen to my music collection, I've got three different options, and some of those options won't work on other devices. I also really like a good bargain, and this year both Amazon and Google are eager to win customer loyalty with fantastic sales and even giveaways on music. That means I've got a pastiche of music sources and cloud storage options, and I've yet to commit to one place to listen to it all. Are you in the same boat? If so, this tutorial is for you.
The best solution is to duplicate the collection in iCloud/iTunes, the Amazon Cloud, and Google Music. All three places offer some free storage of purchased music, and if one source fills up or decides to start charging, you can still rely on the other two. One caveat: They don't work in every country. I can only guarantee that these services work in the US.
I started with my iPod many years ago. I'd used iTunes to rip all my CDs, and I had a few songs I purchased. Apple and other companies stopped selling music with DRM restrictions years ago, but I still have some earlier DRM-restricted purchases in my collection. I can't move songs with DRM to other cloud players, but there are ways around that problem. I think that's a common starting point, so let's go from there. If you're using Mac OSX Lion or an iOS 5 device, you can take advantage of iCloud, which is a lot like iTunes only the syncing is stored online, but you can't use it with other devices. You could use an app like DoubleTwist, but I like the idea of just having my music where I need it .
Getting Your iTunes Music to Google Music
- Google Music is on the Web at music.google.com.
- You'll need to sign up for an account.
- Next, you can download the Google Music Manager to run on your Windows or Mac desktop. This handy little app can be set to upload all your non-DRM iTunes music. It may take a few (or several) hours to upload your collection, but once you've done that step, you can also set it to upload all future non-DRM MP3 and AAC files that end up in your iTunes library. That's important for future purchases. It means any songs you buy from Apple or download from Amazon or any other source are going to end up in your Google Music library without you having to think about it.
Getting Your Google Music Back to iTunes
You can use that same Google Music Manager on your desktop to download your music.
- Go to the preferences and pick Download.
- Choose the check mark next to "Only include songs since last download."
- Choose your iTunes music library for the download location.
- That means you'll download any new songs you purchase and make it a two-way street for syncing.
Getting Your Music to Amazon Cloud Player
Amazon can do the same thing with their Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, but it's a slightly more manual process. The good news is that you currently have unlimited space for music.
- You'll need to download two desktop apps. There's a downloader and an uploader.
- Use the uploader to upload your non-DRM iTunes files into Amazon's Cloud Player. Just point it to your iTunes library.
- Set Amazon to automatically download new purchases as well as adding them to Cloud Player.
- Drag the songs into iTunes. This will both add them to iTunes and trigger Google Music to upload them.
- Run the uploader again whenever you add more music to iTunes. It won't duplicate existing songs in your Cloud Drive.
It doesn't take much effort to keep your music stored in all three places, but if you only use two services, you can skip whichever service you don't use. Use a generic folder instead of your iTunes library, for example.