It can be difficult to store your entire music collection on a mobile device with limited storage. Luckily, there is a solution. Google offers a service called Google Play Music which allows each user to upload 50,000 songs for free. All of the songs uploaded to the service can be played back through a web browser or the app on Android and iOS. You can also download the songs for offline listening, but you have to manually select each playlist and/or song as there is no option to download everything at once in the app.
Each file can be up to 320 kbps and up to 300 MB. Play Music supports common formats such as MP3, FLAC, AAC, WMA, and OGG. If is a file is less than 320 kbps and Google already has the song in their system, they will upgrade the file to a higher quality version.
There are some downsides to using Google Play Music. For example, the radio part of the app is heavily promoted. Google also offers a service similar to Spotify, which is also heavily promoted. Another less likely issue is if you have over 50,000 songs. You cannot purchase space for more songs if you have too many songs you simply cannot store everything.
(Songs purchased on Google Play Music do not count against the 50,000 song limit.)
Alternatives to Google Play Music
Apple and Amazon both have comparable services with slightly different features.
Apple’s service, iTunes Match, does not work on Android and does not have a free version. The advantage of using iTunes Match is that you can store 100,000 songs in the cloud, however, it costs $24.99/year. Apple’s service only allows files that are 200 MB or less, and music stored on iTunes Match must be 256 kbps or less and files cannot exceed 2 hours in length. Lastly, iTunes Match does not have a web player, so it is not as easy to play your music when away from your devices.
Amazon Cloud Player offers some advantages over iTunes Match. While the free version is very limited at a maximum of 250 songs, the paid version lets users stores 250,000 songs. This is the largest of all three services by far, but considering most users do not have anywhere near this much music, it is not advantageous to most. Each file must be 100 MB or less and files will be converted to 256 kbps if they are a higher bit-rate. Amazon Cloud Player is available through a web browser, and via an app for Android and iOS. Lastly, Prime members can stream about 2,000,000 songs ad-free, plus their personal collection.
In conclusion, Google Play Music is simply the best free service currently out there. There are no other large companies that offer a free service with even remotely enough storage to keep 50,000 songs in the cloud. Amazon Cloud Player is the best service for anyone with an extremely large music library and is particularly useful if you have Prime. iTunes Match is a great paid service that integrates well into the Apple ecosystem. In the end, it really depends on what ecosystem you are most invested in and what interface you like the best.