I've never been a huge fan of Spotify, Amazon Prime Music, or any of the free/paid music streaming services. I've used them, and like them, but they've never hit me as something I needed to permanently add to my life for some reason. Streaming requires a constant Internet connection to the Cloud, and I'm not ready to trust my life to the Cloud just yet.
For me, I like to own my music and have it on-hand to transfer between devices. As a runner, I'm constantly creating new playlists to keep my runs fresh. I have plenty of space for music on my HTC One M8 Windows Phone, but I still only store just what I need for my playlist, choosing to keep the rest of my music library on my Surface Pro 3.
Recently, though, I began storing my music on OneDrive thanks to Microsoft giving Office 365 users unlimited storage. OneDrive has become an extremely useful part of my computing life and I use it for everything. I tend to store docs and files there first, and then pull them offline if I need to edit. Storing my music files in OneDrive was just another piece to the puzzle of eliminating local storage, and I started to become curious if my music files would stream from OneDrive.
After testing, it works great for a single music file (MP3). The file will open and play in the appropriate app on either Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone, but then will not continue to the next music file. To play another song, you have to select another song.
I thought, why hasn't Microsoft added functionality to OneDrive to allow streaming of music albums, or playlists? It seems to be a relatively easy thing to do. Add OneDrive as a monitored library folder option in the music app for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone, and – voila! – instant streaming on your devices. Or, integrate a web-player component into the web version of OneDrive and stream your music from the web.
As you might know, Microsoft did offer a free music streaming service for Xbox users that the company just ended a couple weeks ago. However, there are hints that Microsoft may have ended the streaming service in lieu of another option coming soon.
Today, as an OneDrive user, if you following this link: https://onedrive.live.com/?id=music, a Music folder will be created in your OneDrive folder library. And, interestingly, if you choose to upload your music files there, OneDrive will supply the album cover and extract all the MP3 encoded song, artist, and album information, making it look like any other music streaming-capable service.
So, the capability is clearly there. There are rumors that Microsoft is working on this feature, which I hope turn out to be true. As someone who prefers to own their music, this makes the perfect solution. I can continue to buy my music from anywhere and then store it, manage it, and even stream it all from my favorite location.
I'm sure, if Microsoft does actually release this type of functionality for OneDrive, there will be some sort of Xbox Music integration where you can purchase your music and have it automatically stored in the applicable album music folder. But, that would be an option. I currently prefer to purchase and download my music from Amazon, primarily because I've always done so and I have a lot of music stored there. Amazon offers an awesome service where they store all your digital files in their "vaults" so you can download them again anytime. Of course, with OneDrive integrated with the Xbox Music store, I may not have to be indebted to Amazon for my music storage and listening habits. But, personally, I could live without the Xbox Music store integration. Just let me store and stream my own, personally owned music. That would be enough.
On Twitter, I suggested how simple it should be for Microsoft to just add OneDrive as a music search folder for the Music app last week. The OneDrive team said they'd pass along my feedback. But, the response seemed almost more of a "wink, wink – nudge, nudge" than a simple "thanks for your feedback."
What do you think? Did I read too much into it?
@rodtrent Thanks for the feedback. We'll be sure to share this with our team. :)— OneDrive (@onedrive) November 3, 2014