Update, 2016: Spotify is easier. But I still use Google Play to keep track of old favorites.
So... confession time. My music has never been well organized. In fact, it's been a real pain to get it all from CD (or DVD) to computer to iPod to mobile phone to other computer... every time I need to replace just one of those devices. Add to that the fact that some music is in my husband's iTunes account, and some is in mine… it's a real tangle.
But Google Play offers the best way out of that tangle that I've seen yet. With all my music stored in one place, on the cloud, I don't have to worry about transferring it all to a new device, or losing it if my computer goes haywire or gets stolen. It's just there - and free - and I can finally get rid of those CDs that have been clogging up my desk drawers for years. It's such a relief!
Here's how it works: Google Play offers free storage for up to 20,000 songs. You'll download an application called "Music Manager" to help upload the music. It could take a couple of days with a good internet connection to upload everything if you have a big collection. But once all your music is stored on Google Play, you can access it in a couple different ways - and your playlists never get lost. (At last!!) On a mobile device, you can create playlists that are available whether or not you have an internet connection.
There are all kind of perks about keeping your favorite media on the cloud - because Google Play isn't just limited to music. Books, movies, magazines, it's all explained here.
Drawbacks: Two big ones.
First: if you want to listen to all your music through Google Play on the computer, you'll need an internet connection to play your music. Could be awkward if you spend a lot of time traveling and listening to music on a laptop.
Second: If you have more than 20,000 songs - well, congrats on an impressive collection! - but currently, there's no option to add additional storage. I'd guess that Google will be rolling that out soon. If not, there are always options like Amazon's Cloud Player or iTunes Match that, while not free, also don't have that 20,000-song cap on storage. All in all, I'm just happy to finally have all my music in one place. It's that same sense of satisfaction - the "ahhh, NOW things are working better" - that's at the heart of why I love organizing.