I’ve had a love affair with Google Play [Music] since its inception–having the ability to store 20,000 (now 50k) tracks in the cloud for free was a helluva draw that nailed the lid on the coffin of my plans to buy an iPod classic to keep my MP3 files. I’ve not needed to solicit the services of a streaming radio app since I was a beta tester in 2011. My massive music library is always available wherever I have data service and I don’t have to pay a subscription to listen to music that I already own!
I’m always looking for new and interesting add-ons for my Kodi installation–part of my quest to make a truly universal, completely customizable, open-source media center–and I’ve run across a nice solution for (in my opinion) the only worthwhile streaming service. Granted, my music library is already connected to the VCR via NAS, but I like the option to have my playlists available on all my machines for the sake of continuity.
The first part is rather simple: download the repository from this link and install it from zip file as you normally would. Install the add-on from the new repo, but before you get involved in configuring the settings, make sure you set up an app-specific password in Google because the add-on does not support 2-factor authentication (assuming you have it set up; if you don’t, shame on you). Use this password to configure the add-on with your Google account, and away you go!
If iTunes is the centre of the iOS/OSX sphere of influence, then Google Play is undoubtedly the centre of the Android sphere. But at one time, it was simply a music service along the lines of the iTunes store, but it offered so much more than Apple did: it allowed users to upload a copy of their MP3 library to Google’s servers for streaming music to Android devices or through a browser.
Now, I have quite an extensive library full of rather obscure recordings and eclectic variety, so this came as a huge boon to someone like me. Pandora, Spotify, and Slacker could only go so far with their curated playlists full of repetitive tracks and limited playback options. For years, I’ve been looking for a solution to curate my music library for portable playback (“the Cloud” wasn’t quite a thing yet), and the only option available to me was the $300 iPod Classic (which has since been discontinued), a hefty price to pay for a dedicated device.
My biggest timesuck with Google Play’s music service has been cleaning my MP3 library. 30+ years of collected recordings tends to produce a few duplicate tracks now and again (many of which were songs pulled from Napster that I have since legitimately acquired by purchasing the full album). Granted, you are not requiredto take such meticulous care of your library, but I tend to be a little obsessive over cataloging, and I like everything to be just so. After several weeks dedicated to cleaning ID3 tags, eliminating duplicates, and filling in missing artwork, I was finally able to upload a clean version of my library: over 18,000 individual tracks! Google allows a whopping 50k tracks to be stored in your account, and the best part is that they will automagically replace your MP3 with the highest quality version available to them for streaming!
Now, I keep everything on a thumb drive organised locally via iTunes, then I upload a copy to Google Play for streaming to my devices: it sure beats the hell outta syncing and charging a separate iPod, I can guarantee that!
I kinda grimaced when Google announced their rebranding Music and Android Market into “Google Play.” To me, it just seemed like an idea that came from marketing as some hackneyed effort to breathe some perceived new vibrancy into a product that hadn’t even scratched its showroom paint yet. It certainly didn’t come from engineering, as the following screenshot can attest:
As you can see, Google Music has become “Play Music,” and, when put next to the built-in Android music player, might cause some embarrassingly humourous (and vaguely confusing) results. Granted, I’m excited about the potential of Play: if I can upload and stream my video files the same way I can with my music, I’ll enjoy being able to access my entertainment on the go without lugging around an external hard drive or even my lappy.
It’s clearly Google positioning itself to compete directly with Apple’s iCloud service, but, for the Big G’s sake, I hope that they work out the kinks between the different apps quickly or it all may be doomed to suffer the same fate as Google+.
Adventitious Geekery and other distractions created or curated by Matthew "Atari" Eargle