Microsoft has its own streaming music service, just in case you’d forgotten, and while its feature set is rather par-for-the-course in a lot of areas, there is one interesting trick that’s worth trying out—the ability to stream music tracks stored in your OneDrive folder to any computer connected to the web.
Anyone with a OneDrive account can do this free of charge, and access the tracks through the web player or the app that comes with Windows 8 and Windows 10. It’s effectively built on top of the OneDrive service. If you opt for Microsoft’s Groove Music Pass as well (£8.99 per month), then you can sync and stream these same songs to Android and iOS devices too.
Getting your music into OneDrive
Nothing too complicated here: Find the tracks you want to be able to stream and copy them into your OneDrive folder. If you’re on the latest versions of Windows, then OneDrive is built right into the operating system but there’s also a desktop client for OS X you can use. Alternatively, you can use the OneDrive web interface to get your songs into the cloud.
It’s best to put all of your tunes inside the default Music folder in OneDrive, but through the settings in the Windows Groove app you can choose which folders are monitored. As Groove supports M4A (AAC) formats, you could even put your iTunes library in here and get access to it from anywhere.
At the moment, there’s a 50,000 song limit for tracks stored in OneDrive. As for storage space as a whole, everyone gets 15GB of room for free—after that you need to pay for more, but if you go to the top 1TB £5.99/month level, you also get Office 365 thrown in as well.
Playing your tunes from anywhere
If you’ve moved your tracks over to the Music folder in OneDrive, there shouldn’t really be anything more to do. You don’t have to launch the Groove application for Windows or rescan OneDrive for the new songs to appear in the Groove Web Player (they’ll have a OneDrive tag next to them). You can get at this player in Chrome OS, OS X, anywhere you can get at a browser.
Note that if you log into OneDrive on the web and click on a compatible track, then the Groove Web Player interface launches automatically. The official Groove app for Windows, meanwhile, gives you a bit more of a polished interface and a few more options to play around with—it’s definitely worth loading up if you’re on a Windows machine.
As for the Android and iOS mobile apps, as we’ve already mentioned, you’ll need to be a subscriber to Groove Music Pass to make use of them. If you do pay up, you can cache songs for offline playback from your OneDrive account, and of course you get access to the millions of songs Microsoft has in its streaming catalog.
Header image: Microsoft
This article originally appeared on Field Guide, Gizmodo's blog on how to get the best out of your tech