I reached a personal milestone this past week I'd like to mention here. I now have over TWENTY THOUSAND songs on my Google Play library. I'm sorry, let me say that a bit louder…
Check out the screen shot below of the menu and you'll see the little highlighted section. That's a lot of music.
I'm not sure I've ever owned 20,000 of anything. And for the most part, I legally own all of these files, at least as much as anyone can claim to own music. Sure, back in the day I did my fair share of Napster, WinMX and Kazaa (*cringe*). But that's a few computer migrations ago. I still have those old files packed up in mothballs, perhaps retrievable but not easily. A larger portion of the music in my Google Music library arrived completely free, but still legally.
First, I should start with an introduction to Google Music for those of you who don't know. If you have an Android phone, you should be familiar with the official app store, otherwise known as Google Play. It's where you browse and get new apps for your phone. You can also purchase music, ebooks and digital magazines.
But my introduction to Google Music came before I owned an Android phone. In fact, my first smart phone was an iPhone I got from my work. Through the iTunes store I found there was a music section with a "iTunes Single of the Week" and I checked it regularly to get that free song. Sometimes it was pretty good, sometimes just blah. One standout that I still listen to regularly is a Gregory Porter song called Real Good Hands.
In the iTunes store, when you clicked a song it got downloaded and added to your iTunes library automatically. And it also got added to your phone at your preference. Each song was brand new. Additionally, I was getting exposed to a lot of international / world music due to the one coworker friend from Armenia that had a huge collection. Come to think of it, we had a lot of different music backgrounds in that department at the time, and I was constantly hearing something new. And I was also in a band at the time, getting exposed to all kinds of new music there too.
Somewhere along the way, the company switched cell providers and were offered iPhones OR Android phones. I didn't switch, but some did. And they discovered quickly that whereas Apple's iTunes had a free single each week, Google Play had a new free song almost every day. But you didn't NEED to have an Android phone for it, just a Google account (like Gmail). Not only did they make these songs available for free download, they also had an online library where you could store them as well as any other mp3s you wanted to listen to -- up to 20,000 at the time. There was a plugin you could get that would sync upload your whole iTunes library. Since having my collection in more than one place seemed attractive, I set that up pretty quickly. It was easy and I could continue adding new songs form the iTunes store and they'd be synced up to Google Play in a day or two. I could then listen to the same library from my computer at work AND my computer at home AND my phone.
In addition, there were several free music blogs that I subscribed to. You can subscribe to blogs/podcasts in iTunes and I grabbed a lot of files here. I could review some of them, but I'll just quickly list.
I could list more, but that's a sprinkling. I had all this music coming into my iTunes library from various sources then uploading to the Google Play library and it grew. And grew and grew. And of course, I was also adding music from my physical media CD collection. Keep that up for weeks and weeks and months, and now years and here you go.
Somewhere along the way, I switched from iTunes mostly with a little bit of Google Play to the opposite. Additionally, Google's music library limit was increased to 50,000. And I'm pretty sure that if you've downloaded the music from their free/paid service it does not count towards that limit. Google has stopped promoting and giving away free music in favor of their radio service, which I pretty much eschew in favor of Spotify or Pandora when I'm in the mood for that. I could write a post in response to the folks I love who favor physical media, be it CD or vinyl, but I kind of get it so I won't talk about that here.