How to Stream Own Music & Save Storage Space on iPhone
Would you like to have more freedom with where you place your music files but don’t quite want to sign up with Apple Music, Spotify or another paid plan? There are several solutions for keeping everything in sync over the web while keeping your own music library intact, but making it available over the internet for cloud syncing. Here’s a tutorial on how to stream your own music and save storage space on your iPhone.
Stream own music & save money and storage space
If you simply want to stream your own music files including MP3s from the cloud to your iPhone, you can achieve your goal without having to pay for a monthly plan, or do so with minimum cost. The key advantage is that music doesn’t have to be stored locally on your devices, which comes in especially handy when using an iPhone or iPad with very little internal storage or free space.
Google Play Music (Free)
One of the most popular options is Google Play Music. Google allows you to upload up to 50.000 songs from your own library and stream them without any kind of restriction. The only requirement is a free Google account which you can register in a minute or two, or simply use a pre-existing account if available. Google provides apps for several platforms, you’ll need the music manager for your computer if you care for easy syncing. Other than that, you can also use a browser for music uploads.
The Google Play Music Manager is freely available for Mac OS X and Windows.
We think that 50.000 titles are pretty impressive for no fee at all and Google leaves the competition in the dust when it comes to the pricing model. Unfortunately, there are some technical difficulties in getting your music into the cloud when working with the native uploader. Syncing iTunes playlists doesn’t always work as advertised, they even disappear in some cases and reappear after a few days, sporadically. If you care for optimal reliability, better look elsewhere. If budget concerns are your primary focus, then go for it!
iTunes Match ($24.99, annual)
Apple offers its very own solution for users who prefer to not use Apple Music and like to use their own music library for cloud-based syncing. You can upload up to 25.000 titles via your own files, while iTunes purchases do not count towards this limit.
You can subscribe to iTunes Match via your iPhone. Go to your Settings app, tap Music and select iTunes Match, then follow the on-screen instructions for setting it up. Apple will sync your entire iTunes library with all imported tracks and replace them with high quality versions of the songs.
There are disadvantages to using iTunes Match, these primarily affect heavy users with huge databases. As you cannot define exceptions for syncing, everything in your library will be uploaded to the cloud. This can rapidly exhaust your limit if you manage a huge library. Other than that, the audio quality is great and your files will be easily available on all devices connected to your Apple ID. The price point is very competitive when compared with full music streaming services, given that you have the CDs and files to fill up your cloud library to a point where you won’t miss Spotify or Apple Music.
Amazon Music with Prime Music ($24.99, annual)
Another option would be Amazon’s app, Amazon Music with Prime Music. The service allows you to upload up to 250 songs for free, or up to 250.000 songs for $24.99 with annual billing. You will need the accompanying app on your devices, which is available for free on all of the major platforms. On your PC or Mac, you will need the Amazon Music App for syncing your files in Mac OS X and Windows. The workflow entails selecting files and folders and dragging them onto the app.
The advantage of Amazon Music lies in the ability to manage uploads manually and thus exclude certain parts of your collection that don’t need to be synced via the cloud. Playlists have to be created manually. The apps work great, are performant and offer an intuitive user interface with no functional issues.
Our recommendation: Amazon Music
Currently, we would put Amazon Music on the first place, followed by Google Play and iTunes Match. What you pick really depends on how your usage patterns work, what kind of media you are uploading and in what quantities. The big negative of Apple Music might not be a problem at all for you, especially if you were planning to upload your entire library anyway.