When Apple announced iTunes Match, all iPhone fans were ecstatic. All Android fans uttered a collective “been there, done that” yawn. That’s because Google Music has not only been able to play music from the cloud since March, it does it at no extra charge. iTunes Match, by contrast, charges $24.99 a year for access to up to 20,000 songs, plus any song you have purchased through iTunes. And now that GMS is out of Beta, anyone can sign up for the service without having an invite.
1. Sign in
Like all other Google services, Google Music Service is anchored according to your Google account. So all you need to do is head over http://music.google.com and sign in.
2. Download Music Manager
Once signed in, you will need to download Google Music Manager and install it. This software will scan your music library and add any songs it doesn’t have to the Google Music Library.
3. Scan and add
After installing the Music Manager, you can access it by clicking the Music Manager Headphones icon in your system tray at the bottom right of your screen (Windows), menu bar in the upper right corner (Mac) or notifications area (Linux). Then, to add songs, click ‘Upload’. Google Music will support various file types including mp3, aac, m4a, wma, .ogg, and others (for a complete list, head over to this link). If you have an extremely large, and eclectic, collection, this may take awhile, so be patient.
4. Roll your own
If you don’t want to scan and add your entire music library, you can choose to add a select playlist:
- From the ‘Upload’ tab, select ‘Choose by playlist.’
- Check the box next to the playlist(s) you’d like to add music from.
- Click ’Upload.’
Because Google Music is based on your login, you can it running on multiple computers. Google Music will simply omit duplicates – if the metadata is identical.
And you can also run up to three accounts from the same Google Music Manager application. So your family can also get in the game. To change accounts, Click the Music Manager Headphones icon, select the ‘Advanced’ tab, and click ‘Sign Out.’ The sign-in screen will reappear.
5. Go mobile
Once all your music is added, you can stream it from the website itself, or you can stream from your mobile device. Download the Google Music app from the Android marketplace, and then log in. Now you can stream your entire music library over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G. There are a few third party Google Music apps like GMusic, and GoMusic, but there is no official App from Google. But being that they have been vetted by Apple, they should be fine, at least until Apple changes their mind and strips them from the AppStore (it wouldn’t be the first time).
6. Buy and Try
Google has also added a music store, allowing users to buy new music and discover new artists through its free program as well. Click on the Shop Android Marketplace button, and search for the artist or songs you want. Once you find a song or album you want to buy, click purchase, enter your credit card information and purchase to complete. Your song or album will then be downloaded to your hard drive and will be available immediately in the cloud.
Google also offers free titles from named artists that you can add to your library. Look in the upper right hand corner of the Google Music interface, and you’ll see a rectangular button that says “Add to my library.” Click on that and you will go to featured songs and artists in the Exclusive Music section. Fromt here, click on “free” next to any song and download.
7. Spread the word
Google also allows the sharing of full songs that you have purchased from Google Music. Simply click on a song, then Share Song and add a personal message. Please note that songs added from your PC or not purchased from Google Music will only share a 30 second clip.
8. Go downtown
Finally, say you bought a song at work and you want to listen to it at home. Simple enough, just open Music Manager and click Download Music Purchases. Songs will be downloaded immediately.