I am a big fan of Google Play Music, you can upload up to 20,000 of your own music collection to the Google servers and you Google have an all you can eat music subscription service (Google Play Music All Access) for just under a tenner per month. If you have an Android device browsing and listen to Google Play Music is really easy as there is a dedicated Google Play Music app, there is an app for the iPhone but Windows and Windows Phone users are not so well supported.
Just because Google don’t support Microsoft’s platforms it doesn’t mean there aren’t options.
Did you know you can use Google Play Music with OneDrive and then access your music on any device? See my how to video.
Using Google Play Music on Windows 8.1
[Updated 09/06/2015 – The Outcoldplayer app has been closed, see my post]
For Windows 8.1 there are two different ways to go, the web or an app. Let’s start with an app called OutColdPlayer (formally known as gMusic). This is an app for Windows 8.1 available from the Windows Store and has most of the features of the official app on Android. With the app you can stream your own tracks from Google Play Music and if you have All Access Radio you can stream any music from the Google service. You can cache music to the Windows device so you can listen to music when your offline, you can stream the music to an Xbox using Play To and you can manage your music collection from the app. It has some nice Windows features as well, there is a live tile for the app which shows what you are playing, album art and metadata. It also integrates with the Windows volume control notification. One nice touch is the home screen shows recently played artists, albums and playlists so you can add an album to your collection from your Android phone and it will show up on the home screen of the Windows app.
The app works in portrait and landscape mode and costs £1.99 from the Windows Store.
The other option is to use the Google Play Music web site this gives you access to all the same content as the app but without the offline access, on my Surface 2 I found the web site unreliable but on a desktop using Chrome it worked ok. The web site doesn’t work as well as the app but its free and lets you get started straight away.
Using Google Play Music on Windows Phone
For Windows Phone you the Google website doesn’t work, it ask for a flash player which isn’t supported on Windows Phone so the only option are 3rd party apps. The app I use is CloudMuzik and with this app you can access all your Google Music collection. One nice feature is the ability to pin artists, albums and genres to the home screen for fast access. Unlike the OutColdPlayer app you can’t browse the All Access content but you can listen to tracks if you add them to your collection (via a browser or Android app). There is also experimental support for caching tracks for offline playback.
While the app isn’t as feature rich as the Windows 8 OutColdPlayer it does have the features you need to use Google Play Music on Windows Phone and costs £0.79 in the Windows Phone Store.
So Google are not supporting Windows or Windows Phone but 3rd party developers have stepped up offering almost all the functionality of the native Android and iOS apps. If you are using Google Play Music and have Windows devices you are not left out in the cold and the apps work very well.