Put That OneDrive Space To Use: Move Music Collection to the Cloud and Stream It

Do you have a ton of space in your OneDrive account and don’t know what you want to do with it? How about taking the bold step of moving your music collection to OneDrive?

Wait a second, you may say. OneDrive does not “support” music files, you may say. Well, maybe not openly and definitely not as a streaming music service could. However, as I coincidentally found out over the weekend, as long as you have the OneDrive app (I tested on Windows Phone, iPhone and Windows 8), you may at least be able to play your music, one song at a time.

Through a variety of promotions and tie-ins, I have almost 240GB of space on my OneDrive, and very soon, it is going to be 1TB because I have an Office 365 Home subscription.

To The Cloud

First though, moving the collection. If you are like me, and have many ways to listen to your collection, and have multiple forms of backup running, you may be wary of moving things around. I took a deep breath and took the plunge, although I knew what I wanted to achieve: move the music to the cloud but not lose the local files, and still continue to back up to my cloud backup service, Crashplan.

So, on my Windows 8 “home server”, I took the music off the data drive and moved it to my OneDrive’s sync location under a convenient location like OneDrive\Music. It took a while to move my 120GB to the cloud, but once I copied it to the location, I let it do its thing uploading the music to OneDrive. This step should be identical if you have Windows 7 (or even a Mac) with the OneDrive sync client installed.

The advantage with this approach as opposed to leaving the music on the home server is that I now have the ability to access my music from virtually any device connected to the internet. At the same time, since the music is still on my home server, I did not lose the ability to play the music from devices on the home network like my Apple TV.

Backup vs Sync

One common confusion is mistaking backup for sync, or vice versa. I think of it this way: I want my important data to be backed up without any manual effort, and I want some of the digital memories synced so that I can access them from anywhere, at anytime. The nuance here being, the backup is a one-way data transfer from my home server to the cloud whereas syncing enables me to add to my music collection from anywhere. So the next time I see a great deal on Amazon Music for a $5 album, I can not only purchase it but also download it and make it available to my other devices.

OneDrive Website Album Listing
OneDrive Website Album Listing
OneDrive Website Download Prompt
OneDrive Website Download Prompt

 

Use the OneDrive apps

Speaking of being able to access from anywhere, what happens when you try to open one of your (DRM-free, of course) audio files? Well, it depends. If you open from a browser, it simply opens the dialog to download the file. This is because the OneDrive web app is not set up for streaming music. It is only meant to interpret documents (Office formats, text and PDF), pictures and video. In the mobile OneDrive apps on the other hand, you can navigate to the folder with the songs, and tap on the actual song and it will start playing the song.

OneDrive iOS App Artists
OneDrive iOS App Artists
OneDrive iOS App Albums
OneDrive iOS App Albums
OneDrive iOS App Songs In Album
OneDrive iOS App Songs In Album
OneDrive iOS App Song Display
OneDrive iOS App Song Display
OneDrive iOS App Streaming Song
OneDrive iOS App Streaming Song
OneDrive iOS App AirPlay Option
OneDrive iOS App AirPlay Option

I hadn’t noticed this earlier, and while this is good, it by no means makes the OneDrive app a music player like Amazon Music app or Google Play Music app. For example, the app does not play an entire folder. It does not understand playlists. When you skip a song, it simply returns you to the folder instead of playing the next song.

OneDrive Windows Phone App Albums
OneDrive Windows Phone App Albums
OneDrive Windows Phone App Album Listing
OneDrive Windows Phone App Album Listing
OneDrive Windows Phone App Streaming Audio
OneDrive Windows Phone App Streaming Audio

 

But the fact that it can now stream (not download and then play) is a good sign that perhaps the OneDrive app may unbundle the photos/videos, documents and music features into their own apps just like Google and Amazon have done. I can see a OneDrive app like it is today, for general storage features, an Office app to only surface the files that Office mobile can open, OneDrive Photo app for pictures and videos, and OneDrive Music or Xbox Music app to surface audio files.

OneDrive Windows 8 App Album Listing
OneDrive Windows 8 App Album Listing
OneDrive Windows 8 App Streaming Music
OneDrive Windows 8 App Streaming Music

 

Owning music vs renting

I say all of the above but I am one of those who has slowly learned to give up trying to deeply control the music collection. I mostly rent music via one or more of the streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, iHeart, etc. I am also a paying subscriber for Xbox Music Pass which lets me play any song from their catalog on-demand. As a result, the real need to listen to music I “own” (because you know, this collection goes way back to the Napster and Kazaa days), has gone down tremendously. There are still some comedians whose performances I have in my collection which are not available on iTunes or Xbox Music catalog. There are also some Bollywood songs which did not match when I tried iTunes Match and also Xbox Music matching, but those are general the exception rather than the rule.

And then there’s services like Apple’s iTunes Match. It allows one to “match” their local collection with iTunes’ catalog and whenever there is a match, iTunes allows you to listen to the songs from any authorized device. The service is not free, but at $25/year it is a small price to pay for hassle-free management of your music collection. It also allows customers to upload the songs which do not match, although the uploaded songs would count against the iCloud storage quota. Once Apple’s newly announced storage plans go in effect, it would be a good idea to let iTunes completely manage the collection, which is taking one more step towards freeing up your collection. Xbox Music advertised long ago that this feature was coming to the service but so far it only does matching but does not allow you to upload unmatched music to the cloud.

Use the cloud, any cloud

To conclude, I recommend that you start thinking about simplifying your data management. Why leave stuff on your hard drive when you can use the cloud? For digital stuff like music and photos, it is better to make the cloud your primary “drive” and sync it to the devices you use. I used OneDrive as an example in this article but feel free to explore the cloud of your choice. It won’t harm going instead with Google, Amazon, or coming soon, Apple because all of the big ecosystem providers understand that providing a reliable storage solution is key to keeping customers “sticky”. Start planning the move to the cloud, as long as your bandwidth permits.

What’s your personal cloud situation? What about owning vs renting music, do you use any of the streaming services? Which ones? Why? Let us know!

Upcoming iTunes 11 Update to Restore Duplicate Search, Fix Album Art and Movie Streaming Bugs

AllThingsD‘s Walt Mossberg notes in his review of iTunes 11 that Apple is preparing a minor update to fix several issues with the initial release of the software. Among the changes in the update, it will bring the return of a feature that allows users to find duplicate songs in their libraries.

Mossberg also reports that Apple has no intention of bringing back the Cover Flow view of album art. Apple learned that few users were interested in it and the new Expanded View integrates large album art into library browsing.

iTunes Music Store Launched in India

Today, Apple has launched the iTunes store in India. By doing so, the users can purchase local and international music and movies from the store. The store now offers Bollywood, Tamil film songs, and other international music from all major labels.

Songs are priced between Rs 7 and Rs 15 and albums start from Rs 70. In addition, the company has also made iTunes Match available in India. iTunes Match allows users to upload music bought from other than iTunes into the cloud. It costs Rs 1,200 per year. Before today, the iTunes Store only offered some free books and podcasts.

Apple also introduced the iTunes Store in the following countries today:

– Europe: Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine

– Africa, the Middle East and India: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, India, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Swaziland, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Zimbabwe

– Asia Pacific: Fiji, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

– Latin America and the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago

The company published a press release confirming that it has launched the iTunes Store in 56 new countries.

iTunes Digital Gift Cards Now Available Through Facebook

Today, Facebook announced that users can now purchase iTunes Store digital gift cards via Facebook’s Gifts platform. This makes it easier for users to send iTunes credit to their networks of Facebook friends. The digital gift cards are available for $10, $15, $25, or $50. In addition, upon purchase, Facebook users can suggest what music, video, or apps their friends should spend their iTunes credit on.

AllThingsD notes that this partnership increases visibility for the iTunes Store and gives Facebook a part of what is currently estimated to be a $260 million business in iTunes Store gift cards for third-party retailers.

Apple and Facebook have had a bit of a bumpy history, with the two companies failing to have reached an agreement to offer Facebook integration in Apple’s failed Ping social networking service for iTunes. However, the companies have been working more closely recently, with Facebook integration in iOS 6 and OS X Mountain Lion.


iTunes 11 Delayed

Today, an Apple spokeperson told AllThingsD said that the launch of iTunes 11 will be pushed back until November. This news comes after Apple in September revealed that the new version would be ready for launch by October.

“The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right,” said spokesman Tom Neumayr. “We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.”

iTunes 11 is expected to be a complete redesign to the user interface of the iTunes app itself and the iTunes Store.

Apple Targeting First Quarter 2013 Launch for Online Music Service

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple may be looking to create a radio streaming service to rival current services like Pandora in an attempt to protect its position as the world’s largest music dealer. Today, Bloomberg reports that Apple is hoping to close deals for an online music service in the next few weeks, targeting a launch for the first quarter of next year.

Apple Inc. and major music labels have intensified negotiations to start an advertising-supported Internet radio service by early next year, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

Talks are centered in part around how to share ad revenue and a deal could be reached by mid-November, with Apple starting a service within the first three months of 2013, said the people, who asked not to be named because discussions are still in progress.

According to the report, executives from Vivendi, Universal, Warner, and Sony have all visited Apple’s headquarters in recent weeks to learn more about Apple’s plans. An issue in the negotiations seems to be with the advertising, with Apple seeing the service as a way to strengthen its iAd offerings music labels want a share of that ad revenue and the ability to insert their own advertising into listeners’ streams.

Pandora’s shares took a 14% nose dive today over reports that Apple may launch an internet radio service and trading was halted.

How To Update to iOS 6 From iTunes/Manually

Apple has finally released the iOS 6 update for its line-up of iDevices. The new version of iOS brings with it a new Maps app, and more than 200 new features and changes.

If you are new to the Apple world or are unsure on how to update your latest Apple iDevice to the latest version of iOS 6, here is a step-by-step guide to automatically install the update -:

How To Update to iOS 6 Through iTunes

Step 1: Connect your device to iTunes using the USB cable.

Step 2: Once iTunes has detected your device, click on the device name in the left hand menu and click on the “Check for Update” in the device description box.

Step 3: Apple will show you a popup message as seen above if an update for your device is available. Click on the “Download and Update” button.

Step 4: Apple will download the iOS 6 update and install it on your device. It is important that you DO NOT disconnect the device from the computer during the process. It is also recommended to keep your laptop plugged in to the power outlet during the process.

That’s it. The process might take around 10-30 minutes depending on how long it takes to download the update to your computer and install it. Once iOS 6 is installed, iTunes will sync your device and you can use it again.

How To Update to iOS 6 Manually

In some cases, the iTunes update process might not work for you for several reasons. In those cases, you can also update your device to iOS 6 manually. Here are the steps to manually update your device to iOS 6.

Step 1: Download the iOS 6 IPSW file for your device from here.

Step 2: Connect your device to the computer using the USB cable and wait for iTunes to detect it.

Step 3: Once your device has been detected – follow the steps given below for different OS.

  • For Windows – Hold the Shift key and then click on the “Check for Update/Update” button.
  • For Mac OS X – Hold the Option key and then click on the “Check for Update/Update” button.

Step 4: In the next dialog browse to the file that you downloaded from Step 1 and select the IPSW file.

Step 5: iTunes will now use the IPSW file and update your device to iOS 6. The process should take around 10-20 minutes.

That’s it. Your device will be updated to iOS 6 with ease. Please feel free to post your questions in the comments box below.

Bruce Willis Not Considering Lawsuit Against Apple Over iTunes Store Music Transferability

Over the weekend, reports from  The Sun and the Daily Mail claimed that actor Bruce Willis was considering taking legal action against Apple. The legal action was supposedly was regarding a transferability of iTunes Store music purchases. According to the report, Willis wanted his daughters to be able to inherit his iTunes music upon his death, but Apple’s terms prohibit any transfer of ownership.

Willis was apparently upset when he learned that he doesn’t own the tracks he buys online, but instead is borrowing them under a license, which was said to have led him to consider a lawsuit against Apple. Willis was originally said to be considered supporting ongoing legal action in five U.S. states, in which users are hoping to expand their rights with respect to digital music.

However, after the story began gaining attention, the actor’s wife, Emma Hemming-Willis, denied the rumor via Twitter. “It’s not a true story,” she said.

Apple Planning Major Overhaul of iTunes for Late 2012

Bloomberg reports that Apple is planning a major overhaul of its iTunes software. This rumored overhaul would help integrate its iCloud services and add new features for music. According to the report, Apple will embed iCloud into the iTunes Store so that users can “more seamlessly access” their digital content. It is reported that Apple has been in talks with the record labels to allow users to send songs to friends for listening.

Also, the new iTunes will include changes to how users find new content and how they access what they already own on different Apple devices. Apple is looking to improve organization of users’ content and splitting out some functions of iTunes as it did yesterday on iOS with its new Podcasts app. Hopefully, this happens so that iTunes becomes less bloated. The company is also considering including more multimedia content in the iTunes Store, requesting more photos and music videos from artists to help broaden its offerings.

The revamped iTunes is rumored to launch before the end of the year and is said to be one of the largest sets of changes since the iTunes Store’s debut in 2003.

Tim Cook Confirms Updated Mac Pro Coming in 2013

Yesterday, it was reported that Apple had quietly updated its Mac Pro line, but it turns out that is no longer the case. The Mac Pros have been updated, but Apple has removed the “new” label on its online store website. Today, an email from Tim Cook confirms that Apple is working on a new professional-level Mac, which is set to be released sometime in 2013.

An email Apple confirmed to be from Cook was posted to a Facebook group page dedicated to the Mac Pro and said that Apple is “working on something really great” for 2013, reports MacWorld.

The company has no comment about the iMace, which may suggest that an update may be announced later this year. In the past, Apple has revealed new iMacs after their Back to School promotion is over.