Did you know that Microsoft has a free music streaming service? You can play music on your computer, on your phone, anywhere! All your favourite tracks can be streamed to you on the go using your phone for free, but how?
It might sound too good to be true, but it is true, sort of. You do need to own the music and you cannot stream anything you do not own, but providing that you have the files, you can listen to them anywhere, even on mobile phones when you are out.
Move your music to OneDrive
Microsoft OneDrive provides 7GB of online storage space for free, plus a few extra gigabytes that can be earned for various things, like agreeing to back up your photos on your mobile phone. If you have a Microsoft Office subscription this increases to 1TB of online space.
Sometimes extra storage space on OneDrive is bundled with your phone. You could have 100GB or more for free.
If you create a Music folder in the OneDrive folder on your Windows PC and then place music files in there, such as MP3s, you can stream them to any computer or device, such as a tablet or mobile phone.
How do you get music onto OneDrive?
You could use a utility like CDEx and this will read a music CD and save the tracks to disk as MP3 files. Windows Media Player can also rip CDs and save them as MP3s.
iTunes can rip CDs to various formats, including MP3 - go to Edit, Preferences, General, Import Settings, Import Using, and select MP3. I try to stick to well known and widely supported file formats, although .m4a files I transferred from an Apple Mac do appear to play OK too.
There are lots of utilities that can copy your CD collection to MP3 files on the computer’s disk drive. They automatically create folders based on the artist and album names, and name the tracks by looking them up in an online database.
It is easy, but time consuming to rip your CD collection and it can take 5 or 6 minutes for each album.
Now you need to get them onto OneDrive. This is built into Windows 10 and 8, but Windows 7 and Apple Mac users won’t have it, so go and get it from the OneDrive website (PC or Mac).
Find the folders on the disk drive containing the music you ripped and if you are using a PC, just drag them to the OneDrive Music folder on the disk drive using Explorer. OneDrive on the PC will automatically sync with your online storage. It depends on your internet speed, but it could take an hour to sync if you have a lot of music albums.
Install Groove Music
Now that all your music is on OneDrive, go to the app store on your Android phone or iPhone and get Microsoft's Groove Music app (it was originally called Xbox Music). It is free.
Open Groove Music and sign in to your Microsoft account (your username and password for OneDrive, Outlook.com, or any other Microsoft service).
Swipe in from the left to show the menu and select Collection. It may need a minute or two to get all the album and track names the first time you use it. If you go to Settings, there is an option to force a sync, but it will probably do it anyway. Album artwork eventually appeared after a few minutes too.
Compare the folder names in the Windows Explorer screenshot above to the artist and album names in the app - they are the same. It syncs whatever you put in the OneDrive Music folder.
Now you are ready to stream your music collection from OneDrive to your Android phone or iPhone. You can view your music by artists, albums, songs or genres. Tap an artist, album or track and it starts playing. You can create playlists too.
Some features in the app, such as the internet radio service, need a music pass (subscription), but as far as streaming your own music from OneDrive goes, it is free and it works perfectly.
This is brilliant if you have a big CD collection and want to avoid paying monthly fees for subscription services. Go and get the Groove Music app.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 15 July 2015