Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Move from iTunes for Mac to Google Music

I’ve already covered how to move from iPhoto to Google+ Photos. Now I want to cover how to move from iTunes to Google Music.

Note: Just as a reminder, I'm a Mac user moving to a Chromebook. That means I'm writing from the perspective of someone coming from iTunes for Mac.

There are two aspects to this transition you need to be aware of:

  1. You are freeing yourself from locally stored software, so you can live freely within Chrome OS.
  2. You need to rethink how you’ll access the music you want.

Moving away from iTunes is actually really easy.

  1. Upload your music.
    1. If you plan to continue to use your Mac, you can set Google’s Music Player to automatically add anything you add to iTunes to your Google Music Library. It only works one direction, though. Google Music doesn’t update iTunes.
    2. Also, any DRM (digital rights management) protected files will not transfer. When Apple introduced the option several years ago (circa 2009) to upgrade, you could pay the difference between your original purchase price and the new one which gives you the ability to access your music library in DRM-free formatting. Those will transfer. (Yeah!)
    3. Any CD’s you imported to iTunes will transfer without any problem.
  2. Add Google Play Music to your Chromebook from the Chrome Web store.
  3. Add Google Play Music to your Android Smartphone or Tablet via the Google Play Store to get the full experience on any device.
  4. You can download your entire library if you’d like to listen to it locally on your Chromebook (or likely an external drive given the limited capacity of the local storage on your Chromebook). The Google Music app works just like iTunes does on your iPhone and iPad. Music you have played is cached for offline listening. You can always force a download, too.

That’s great for your music library, but what about Podcasts?

Podcasts are no longer managed within iTunes. So that really wasn’t a big issue. I was already managing those through a separate app anyway.

Since moving to the Nexus 4, I prefer Pocket Casts and Stitcher Radio to satisfy all my podcasting needs. (Pocket Casts just added some good updates such as cross-device sync which made their service even more valuable.)

I also access +Pandora and +SiriusXM on my Chromebook for internet radio. I use Pandora because I’ve used it forever. I use SiriusXM because I’m already paying for it in both cars I own; I might as well use it on my Chromebook, too. (There are—of course—a ton of options for streaming music online.)

My personal theory is we are moving toward access to vast music libraries rather than owning music in a personal library. This is why companies such as +Rdio and +Spotify are growing so rapidly. So, I suspect iTunes (and local storage of music libraries) will disappear soon enough—at least as we know and use it today.

But that is the future. Today is what we have. And I just showed you a viable alternative to iTunes for Mac to manage your music library and satisfy your listening needs on your Chromebook.

(Perhaps this will bring you inner peace...OK...maybe not.)

What other tips or tricks have you discovered related to assessing music on your Chromebook?