Google Music

Make no mistake -- Android is multimedia-centric, and it does a darn fine job of it.  Whether you want to copy media to your device's storage, or want to stream from the cloud, Android, especially since the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, can turn your phone or tablet into a great media player.  We're going to have a look at using Google Music, Google's storage-locker style streaming music application.

Read on for a walkthrough of how to use Google Music on the web and adding media, as well as playing it back on your Android device.

The Google Music web client

Google Music

Google Music requires you to use a computer to add your own songs to your storage cloud.  While it would be awesome to be able to upload songs from our phones, adding an entire music collection that way just isn't feasible, at least to Google.  On the plus side, the software component you install on your computer is small, and is only the upload interface.  All management, and even playback can be done right on the web -- where Google is king.  Any modern computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) can easily upload songs using the Google Music uploader, and the web interface, while a bit clunky, is super-functional.  Having it web-based, means you can carry your music anywhere and listen from a laptop, desktop, or even a Chromebook.  Combine this with the Android Market website, and you don't even need an Android phone to enjoy 20,000 free songs in your cloud.  It needs a bit of polish, but it's a great start.  Be sure to watch the video to see it in operation, and learn a bit how it works.

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Google Music on your Android Device

Youtube link for mobile viewing

While using Google Music from the web on a computer is great, the real beauty is the Android client.  You can grab it right from the Market (a handy link is below) if it's not already installed on your phone, and it ties in directly to your Google Music cloud with little setup.  You have a ton of options for playback and playlists, but as mentioned all management and uploading needs to be done from a computer.  The interface is clean, and it's full of options that help you manage your bandwidth if you need to.  Most important, it sounds great and unless you're stuck with horrible download speeds somewhere in the middle of nowhere it streams well with little or no buffering during playback.

In theory, one could buy all their music from the Android Market right from their phone and never touch a computer, but that's probably not the ideal method to enjoy your music collection.  Combining the web interface, the upload client, and your Android device makes for one great way to listen to your favorites at home or on the go.  I always have Google Music running, either on a computer, phone, tablet, or Google TV and I'd be lost without it.  Hopefully, these videos help you reach the same level of dependency on your tunes through Google as I have!



Reader comments

How to use Google Music


I dunno. Im pretty stuck on subscription music. Rdio is fantastic even though not for everyone. Google Music does have a lot of good deals though, even though im not sure they rival the mad sales from Amazon.

As far as the software, best for folks who want music they already own, in the Cloud.

I have been fairly happy with Google Music. I use iTunes on the PC and any new tracks I add are automatically uploaded to Google Music. I have around 8,100 tracks in the cloud. Been pretty content with their Android app, and when I am at the office I can just use the web interface to play my music.

I haven't purchased any music through Google or the Android Market yet. I usually prefer physical copies, but in recent months have been buying a lot more from the Amazon MP3 store.

I purchase on both Google music and Amazon (sworn off iTunes), and download directly to my Google Music folder for automatic uploads to my Google Music account.

The bitrate you get pretty astounding (better than most of my old rips from CD).

I can no longer be bothered to find and play a CD, and I simply store all of my music on a raid drive backed up to yet another drive in another room.

Retrieving your uploaded music from Google Music is still a problem. It comes to your device with odd numerical names and no entensions, but they are mp3s. Somewhere there is an app for putting it back under the right name in case you lose your hard drive.

I only use iTunes to organize my music. I have tried other applications but have never found another piece of software with all the organizational tools I need. iTunes organizes and tags my music before it is uploaded to Google, it manages all my podcasts, keeps all my media organized in folders, syncs music to my non-internet connected mp3 players, etc...
I have never purchased music from iTunes, all my music is either ripped from CD or as I said purchased through Amazon. My rip settings in iTunes are set 320kbps AAC, so the quality is there. With an Amazon Prime account I get free shipping on all my CD's. I prefer physical media, but don't use it other than to rip to digital.
If the worst happens and Google Music disappears, my hard drives crash and my backups are inaccessible... I still have my physical media to fall back on.

Nothing you have mentioned is unique to Itunes.

There are 30 programs that do that and are much better behaved than iTunes, written by programmers who actually know how to write code, programs that start fast, know what a busy cursor is, and don't require an odd-ball tcp stack plugin in order to work.

Hell, even Linux comes with three or four that are better. Just point Google at your music directory and everything is synced just fine, from multiple computers.

Podcasts? Really? Podcasts via Itunes? How quaint.
There are 5 dozen podcast apps out there. Google Listen is light weight and free, but virtually any of them is better than having itunes download them and then sync that to your devise.

Just because the only tool you know how to use is a Hammer, doesn't mean every problem is a nail.

I'm actually wondering what your suggestions are for music management programs. This is a question I have not really found a good answer to over the years since so many people commit to iTunes.

My needs specifically/mainly are in ripping music CD's that I've purchased. I like starting out with the uncompressed quality. I used iTunes in the past, and WM player now. iTunes' main advantage was it's higher bit rate (something I'm sure isn't unique) over WMP. The most important feature to me that they shared is that both of them downloaded information like album art. The most annoying thing they both did was splitting up a single album into more than one because of a guest artist being on a song. Being able to sync in some pain free, sensible form would certainly be nice (mainly for playlist management) but is not the biggest factor for me. I don't listen to a lot of music from my computer.

Is there a specific program that you'd recommend that is good at fetching missing track/album info, ripping discs as the single album that they are, and at a high bitrate?

I use this app, but do not like it. It is too hard to have 2 people use their own music from the same computer. For example, I have my own music folder on our desktop at home and set google music up to sync from my folder. When I created a sign on for my wife to sync to her folder using the same desktop, all of my music folders come up in the uploader. Same thing if I go back to my sign in. I see all of her music folders only. I believe that the uploader has some bugs that need to be worked out.

I have a similar set up. I have to sign out of my account and into my girls in order to upload separate music. It's a small hassle, but works just fine.

That is a good idea. Will I have access to all of the music on the hard drive on the desktop, or do I need to move it to an external hard drive and then copy it over to a folder for the other windows user account?

You would need to move the folder on your current account to your new account. I'm on a Mac but I'm sure there's a way to do this on Windows without the need of an external.

You only need to;
A: Share your music folder by right clicking on the folder,
B: You and yours can put all of your music into the "Public" music folder and then you'll both have access to it.

You do NOT need to move it off of your computer onto another hard drive.


And stop creating music folders under the root of the C:\ drive
and instead put them in c:\users\{yourname}\Music where they belong.
That way people sharing your machine can't get at them.

(This shows up as My Music in windows explorer).

You can even have the Music Manager running twice, once for each user to upload your music as you add new songs.

You just have to start remembering to switch accounts.

I don't understand why you would want separate music folders. Why not one collection of music and then you can choose what to sync or upload from that information to your library or online.

I would suggest two windows accounts but a single destination for music. Are you saying you have exactly zero common interests in music? Do you duplicate what you do like.

IDK .. just my thoughts.

I don't understand why you would want separate music folders.

Because its far easier to keep my wife's sappy crap out of my collection than it is to have to restrict uploading song by song.

Clue: Tastes differ.

It's simple and not overly difficult if you and your wife must keep seperate folders and want to keep your music separate.

Both you and your wife keep your separate music folders.
Start the Google Music Manager, log into whomevers account you are wanting to sync/upload to.
Make sure you untick the auto upload new songs option.
Remove the folder that is there if it is not yours then just point add the folder you want to sync.

Not sure how the manager works on Windows or OSX but in Linux, it asks you to log into your account you wish to upload to everytime you start the program so it's not overly difficult.

Google should put check boxs infront of the folders That would help alot for people like you. You could just uncheck the folder you don't want to upload from n keep your checked.

I like Google Music, but there are 2 big issues still to be resolved.

1. Upload from your phone. I want to be able to download a song via amazon or any of the fine music apps out there and have it sync to my storage locker. Otherwise, it's a pain in the ass.

2. The music store should be more prominent on Right now there's just a "shop" link at the top. I should see recommendations at the top of the site with an option to hide them.

I guess #2 isn't that big of a deal, but #1 could really use fixing.

Add a 3rd: allow users to schedule uploads. If you use the fastest setting, it takes a TON of bandwidth, actually causing issues with my airave.

I have a Google Music Webclient question: How can I upload playlists (either from iTunes or my Android) to the webclient? I can't seem to figure it out...any suggestions?

Google Music Uploader does not run on the phone. But any play list created on the phone will be synced to the cloud. I create playlists on the web, (which is easier if you ask me) and they are all synced to my tablet and phone.

I really like Google Music. However 2 issues I have is, the song titles don't scroll so you can't see the whole title.

And the hard drive I used to upload my music has gone bad and I can't download my music back from Google Music to my new hard drive.

I love Google Music, not just because I finally have my mp3's in one place that's accessible everywhere, but also because the addition of music in the market makes it the inverse iTunes. With iTunes, you're always dealing with files on a device or a computer. Storage space is always a concern. Music purchased through the market shows up everywhere without the need to move files around constantly or download anything. The only drawbacks are the amount of data you use for streaming and planning ahead by pinning songs if you know you won't have a mobile connection.

You can download everything you purchase via the uploader app on the computer. I have to do that for my iPod because, once again, iTunes is so reliant upon accessing local files.

I dunno where you live, but where I live, I am never without a mobile data connection.

Data usage could be a concern though...however, I have unlimited data, so it's not a concern for me.

Pinning songs for offline use is pretty much Google's way to "sync" your phone without the need of a dedicated software like iTunes. I pretty much make my playlists of songs I definitely want to have offline. The rest of my music library remains available in the cloud.

I wish they would come up with a way to pull album art into the cloud music without having to manually fix each one. Seems like most of my albums got blurry in the upload process...

other than that it's great!

I really, really love Google Music. The recent update made it even greater than it was.

Simple, tiny question: Could I upload my songs from my main computer (home) AND from my work computer?

I was a part of google music Beta and i uploaded all my music to the cloud my one problem is the artwork is all wrong and their is no way to fix it and it is frustrating!!

so far they only way i see to fix it is you have to click on the little triangle to get it and then you can fix the album art. from what i can tell it goes buy the first track that get uploaded from that album and use that as the album are for all the track for that album.

It won't let you DELETE the artwork only change it.. what it did was any "singles" that i had that were not part of an album is it put the same artwork for all these songs

I had to fix a few of mine, but I swear, if you just let it sit for a few days missing artwork shows up. I've had this happen on a bunch of CDs I ripped. Not all of then, but most.

Its spooky.

its nice but when im using it on my phone and lastfm it send say to lastfm that i played the track more than once even if i just pause the song it treats it as i whole play which sucks. i use audiogalaxy more often than i use google music.

I like Google Music but the main issue I have with it is the fact that for most of my music, it uses these cruddy, low res images for my music albums. Is there any way to change this?

Still thinking I like Amazons setup better. I downloaded some purchases from Google Music to my phone but it is not found by any other music player on my phone.

Really would just like Google or Amazon to let you link your account to some of the well known music players like Double Twist or Winamp.

Big fan.

I dont want all of my itunes synced to google, so I had to pick and choose, but that's how I prefer.

Make sure to pin full albums while on wifi/before you leave the house.

with the honeycomb update for the logitech revue, I now have my music

downloaded or available on

my desktop computer
any web connected computer (including my chromebook)
Xoom (wifi) but since evo is rooted, I can pass along the tethered connection at any time
Logitech Revue w/ 3.1 update

pretty impressive for only ripping/buying from my main desktop.

If I buy music from Market, I shouldn't have to mess with their cloud. It should download straight to my device from the time I click "Buy", not how it is now where I have to sync my device after every time I buy something, mark it for offline play and THEN have it download, and even then it only plays in Google's app and only Google's app. If I buy from Amazon, the mp3 downloads to my phone and PowerAMP finds it just fine. No cumbersome extra BS to jump through.

You're making it way more complex than it is.

Buy music, select the option to Go to Google Music, Song will be at the top, select pull down triangle, select download to my computer. Done.

Want to buy on the phone, do that, its instantly in Google Music, play it right away, Pin it if you like it. Done.

So what if it only plays in Google music? One player is just like any other.

When you run Music Updater on your computer, click the download button to download all new purchases for your backup. Just not a problem.

So what if it only plays on Google music? That's not a feature. I've already got 25 years of music buying organized. Google music doesn't seem to work with it, I can't play it along with all my other music?

My wife bought some music on her droid, I bought some music on mine. if I change to her account I have to RE-download the music I pinned on my account! That is stupid.

I prefer Amazon's MP3 service. I buy it. It's mine and I can play it anywhere I want.

Really liking it so far. My only complaint is that I wish the client software allowed more granularity in the selection of folders. I have some folders that I would like to omit from uploading and would prefer a "check-box" type of selection.

i've been with google music since about a week after release, and the only real issue i'm going to have is this: when i receive my motoactv, i can only play music from my computer, i can't sync it with google how do i load the music from google music onto my computer so i may have it to listen to on my motoactv?

My favorite part of Google Music hasn't even been mentioned. The Automagic play list. It will take a song and generate a playlist from that song.

It's no where near as good as Mufin, but it's still nice.

My request is that Google buy's Mufin and integrates them into Google Music.

Or that Mufin, licenses it's service to Google and Amazon. Either one works for me.

I use G Music every day.
I have 19,762 songs in their locker, and a lot of those are not songs that are on Spotify (live shows, rare electronic music singles, etc)

I have an android phone, tablet, and GTV, so I'm always near my Google Music locker.

There are some things that need polish, like the ID3 tagging, and incorrect album art, but it is damn nice to have 19k songs of my own anywhere I go.

This is a bizarre problem I'm having that I haven't found anywhere else. When I have two albums with the same name, they're grouped together in the Android Music player. This happens constantly for me because I have a lot of classical music. So if I go under Brahms (on my phone) and open the album entitled "Symphony No. 4", I see 4 tracks of Brahms, and four tracks from the Symphony No. 4 album by artist Tchaikovsky. The tagging is correct on the web version (they don't get mixed up there), and this occurs both with streaming and with reading local media on my SD card.

I'm stuck with using Android Music version 2.3.7 unless this ever gets fixed. I've messed around with the tagging endlessly but it just seems like a bug. Any thoughts?

Update: this is android open issue 17848, so we can hope it gets resolved at some point.

You are able to edit the metadata on the web site, which will push to phone. You are not restricted to the official name of a piece of music or an album.

Also, instead of looking for them by title, try artist, or Album name, even if you have to set those fields manually, so that it says Artist in the title: "Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4" etc.

Lots of compilation albums ("best of") have a similar problem. But you can always edit the metadata to your liking.

Then there are playlists, but that might not be exactly what you are looking for

That was my first thought too - but I've tried it to no avail. Even when the albums have different names, they still get mixed up on my phone (and this is after deleting the local files and re-connecting to the cloud). It's pretty disheartening to touch "Brahms/Symphony No 4" and, when it opens, to see the header "Tchaikovsky/Fourth Symphony" with 8 tracks instead of the correct 4.

I've tried using the Google Music player... I like a lot of its UI features, but the bug where it doesn't list all my music (despite the missing songs showing up in every other music player I have installed) is a bit of a dealbreaker. I did post a bug, but they seemed to not read my description, and the discussion derailed and I couldn't get them to listen to me and comprehend what I was describing and that it was a real bug. So we got nowhere.

As far as the whole "store your music in the cloud" concept, it's DOA for anyone who doesn't live in the city and doesn't have unlimited data. Sorry... but when I'm lucky to get 3G and in this age of data caps, I'll keep my music local on my extensive storage like intended.

Use pin. "Make available off line".
And by the way, even EDGE is fast enough for normal music listening. It caches a song (or three) ahead.

As for not seeing your music, I've never had it fail to find all my music.

But, even if you "Make available off line" you have to re-download it if you switch profiles in the music program. It's a silly "feature."

But, even if you "Make available off line" you have to re-download it if you switch profiles in the music program. It's a silly "feature."

How much storage comes with googles music? And anyway to upgrade without spending much? I have everything in 20gb amazon cloud, but I might be tempted to switch.

It's not bad, but I hate that a lot of my album art is messed up on Google Music so I use it more for backup.

My preference is to buy from Amazon. My typical path is "Hear I song I like", click the Soundhound widget on my home page, Soundhound displays song, click "Buy from Amazon". Listen on either Amazon or Google player. Enjoy.

Some time later, I'll get to my laptop and download the song from Amazon, this automagically kicks in the Google Music Manager which sucks it into the Google Cloud so that I have it in two places should one cloud go down or one of those two companies go bankrupt.

Haha I came to post this! I'm such a fan boy but I can't help it. Just get excited whenever I see Muse mentioned :)

I have been testing Google Music since the very beginning, and I can tell you that they have dramatically improved the way this whole process works. I have over 16,000 songs uploaded to mine and it works flawlessly. I would still like to see more improvements with uploading and the web interface, but it is a very good start. The web version is extremely easy to use and edit, and changing artwork or any other basic information is a breeze. I would like the ability to edit multiple files instead of either an individual or an album as a whole, and I think that they need better music store integration in the app, but I believe Google will do all these things and a whole lot more, because they have always been very responsive and helpful whenever I presented problems or feedback during testing.

What is the storage limit for Google Music's cloud storage?

Also, can you share/combine your cloud library with others? Say if you, your wife, and your kids all store your music to the same music directory on your home server. If you upload that entire directory to Google Music, will you be the only one who has access to it or can you authorize your wife and kids to have full access to upload, download, stream, rename, etc?

20,000 songs for free! I do not think that you can share or combine it unless you give them all access to your google account as that is what it is connected to.

Is it just me? On my new Rezound when playing an album, only the first song plays then stops. That's a tap on the "play" option from the album's grey arrow menu.

This is happening to me also. I can't get an album to play from start to finish. I click the "Play" option from the grey arrow, it plays the first song, then stops. How do I get the entire album to play?

I think anyone that uses Google Music is foolish. The RIAA just throws their magic yellow flag on the ground, scream "FOUL!", and they will get records of all the music loaded up on their servers. The largest digital witch hunt in history begins.

It won't matter if you purchased your music legally or ripped from your own CD collection. If they see more then one device simultaneously connected to your account (even if only a single bit gets downloaded) they will harass you for unlawfull sharing. And what everyone seems to forget is being innocent doesn't matter if it costs you legal fees you could never afford. And they bet on that fact when they come to the table with plea bargins.

I love Google Music with a few exceptions. The most important one is the amount of internal storage space it eats up on my LG Optimus S. Between 7 MB for the application and 11 MB of data associated with it, 18 MB is a very large app for a phone with limited storage space.

I know I'm late to this thread, but I'd love to know how much space does it consume on your device? Is my experience typical?

(My only other minor gripe is that the artwork only displays correctly on the larger images. The small thumbnails always display as those two-tone boxes.)

I don't have the need for it. I prefer to sync my own CD's to my Thunderbolt along with sometimes listening to Pandora. I am set to go with the music I like at anytime. I love my CD's and having them with me all the time is great.

Is anyone aware of an Android app that will use Google's Music's metadata of downloaded songs, so you can play them from another Android music player? Downloaded songs get crazy filenames on the SD card, and whilst there is a Windows application that resolves the metadata (and allows download) mentioned here: , I wondered if there was anything that would do the same metadata resolution on the phone, so I can play the downloaded songs with another player?

Subsonic streamer is still the best.... It gives you access to your own library as long as your system is up and running. I have a Dell server with 41,000 songs and Subsonic runs perfectly. It would take way too much time to upload my library to Google, not to mention it is 210 gig worth. Best solution,

Ok help please! When i synch albums on to my computer it makes a bunch of diff named albums with that one album.. For example i tried syncing the O.F. tape, after i do, i go to my library and there's a bunch of diff albums all with the same album in it. It separates it like this, tyler the creator- of tape has all the songs, jasper dolphin-of tape with all the songs, taco-of tape with all the songs, lionel-oftape with all the aongs, etc..... why doesnt it just make one album called, odd future- O.F. tape vol.2? It also did it to my mfdoom album.

a lot of hip hop albums get broken up this way in my itunes too. i believe it is due to the 'artist' credits meaning every time thre is a guest artist like 'featuring earl sweatshirt' or whatever, then the music gets filed under that artists' name. so one album to you becomes many albums (with a single track) to your computer. i try to change it in itunes by selecting the album, hitting command-I on a mac and changing the artist to odd future or whatever.

I was a huge fan of microsofts Zune music player, i used it for everything and i still do enjoy it, however its becoming a bit dated. So i made the switch to google play music and while its absolutely fantastic, its a cloud engineered super app, it seems much harder to edit the metadata(year,composer,genre, etc.) for your artists and albums. With Zune i just right clicked and selected "find album info" and i love that function. Google play music seems to be lacking this, if that add this feature it would be the apex of music management! i do hope they add a feature that works as well or better than the Zune application!