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Summary:

Google launched a free music match service for MP3 files in Europe in October and now brings the same service to the U.S. Apple and Amazon also provide the same, but charge for the convenience of not having to upload a music library.

google play music

Google announced a music matching service in the U.S. through its Google Play store on Tuesday, following the launch of a similar service in Europe in October. With it, consumers will no longer need to upload their digital music collection to Google’s(a goog) servers for storage or streaming playback. Apple and Amazon already have similar services, making Google the last big consumer platform to offer music matching. But Google’s service is free and supports high quality files.

The service will likely appeal to Android smartphone and tablet owners as Google’s music app is native to the devices. Although I use Android, I recently upgraded to a paid Amazon MP3 account for these functions, partially because Google didn’t offer a music matching service and I didn’t want to upload thousands of digital audio files. Perhaps my decision was too hasty, because Google’s service supports higher quality files for streaming:

“Our new music matching feature gets your songs into your online music library on Google Play much faster. We’ll scan your collection and quickly rebuild it in the cloud – all for free. And we’ll stream your music back to you at up to 320 kbps.”

A quick check of Amazon’s bitrate for MP3 files streamed from the cloud shows these are “high quality 256 kbps” files. It’s not likely I’ll notice a vast difference, but I’m paying $25 a year to Amazon for lesser sound quality. That fee allows me to store up to 25,000 250,000 music files; Google allows 20,000 files on its servers at no charge. Apple too, charges $25 for its iTunes Match service, making Google’s music match the only free game in town for now.

  1. Amazon offers 250,000 songs on premium.

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    1. Missed a zero, Rob…. thanks for catching! Just updated the post.

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  2. 250,000? Wow, ok I can’t imagine needing more than that.
    Do your matched songs, for both google and amazon, count against your number of stored files?

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    1. With scan and match the music you store should not count against any other form of paid storage, since now Google and Amazon don’t have to actually store what you send them – they just keep a single copy (well, before backups anyway) somewhere and give all owners access to it.

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  3. Amazon does it for free, too – Just caps it at 250 tracks.

    Does this perform much better? Amazon seems to only recognize about 25% of my music, even including previous Amazon purchases.

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  4. Using Amazon now, but maybe this is a compelling enough reason to switch. It would be nice to see a review before jumping over though…

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  5. Why is everyone reporting this same fake story? Google has no such thing! I tried it and all it does is upload your MP3 files to the cloud, which takes forever! Then, since it doesn’t know what any of them are it makes a different album for each song called Unknown so you end up with a big mess of hundreds of Unknown albums with just one song in each one! It never did finish so erased the whole mess!

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