The Google Play music service is pretty impressive. After all, Google does allow you to upload your entire music library - with a limit of 20,000 songs - completely free. There's just one massive problem with Google Play, or at least when it comes to uploading your music to the cloud.
The only way to upload music to your Google Play account is to transfer all the files manually, using the Google Music Manager. That means you literally have to upload your entire music library before you can stream your content. Some would argue that there is no point to this, especially considering the music already exists on your computer and there are other ways to stream content you already own. I tend to disagree because once your music or content is in the cloud you can access it from anywhere, with any device - with a limit on device authorizations.
Both Apple and Amazon have an option that allows users to scan and match all their existing content. Essentially, the scanning software will recognize the content you have stored on your computer, and you'll automatically be granted access to that same content with your Amazon or iTunes account. This makes the upload process much faster and streamlines access to music you already own.
Google never offered scan and match services, until now. Today, the scan and match feature for Google Play Music is available for consumers in the US. Go ahead and cheer, I'll wait.
It arrived for consumers in Europe some time ago, but until today, those of us in the States could only look on in envy.
The scan and match feature is not the best part of this news though. The best part of the new service is that it's totally free to scan and match all of your songs!
That's right, free. Go ahead and cheer some more, I'll wait again.
The other companies that offer media streaming, charge as much as $25 per year just to scan and match content you already own. I know that many of you are probably thinking the same thing I am, why the hell would I pay an additional charge just to enjoy music I already own?
There's a valid reason the other services charge you money to scan and match music though. Record Labels and associated companies agree to accept the scan and match feature, thus allowing it to happen, as long as they receive a small fee. You see, there's no guarantee that what you're uploading to the cloud is legitimate. So, the music industry collects this tax, and they're successfully compensated in the event that there are some pirates out there using the service.
According to AllThingsD, Google is paying this cost up front so that it can provide the scan and match features to consumers for free. Thank you, Google!
There is a catch though. Apple and Amazon will improve the bitrates for any files during the scan that are of lower audio quality, but this is not the case with Google Music. If you upload a 96kbps file, then that's all you'll get as far as downloads go. Google Music will stream higher quality audio for all music played through the service, however. You just won't be able to download the file in a higher quality.
If you've been holding off on uploading your library to Google Play, then now is the time to do it! It's about damn time because I had to wait approximately two days for my entire music library to upload to the cloud. You won't have to! Just scan the music you already own and you're good to go!
What are you waiting for? Don't you have music to scan?