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Ask Engadget: What's the best way to unify my music collection?

In an era of streaming services, how does one establish -- and back up -- a music collection?
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The support shared between readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we've known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fact, our community's knowledge and insights are a reason why many of you participate in the comments.

We truly value the time and detail you all spend in responding to questions from your fellow tech-obsessed commenters, which is why we've decided to bring back the much-missed "Ask Engadget" column. This week's question revolves around creating a master music collection from a variety of sources. Weigh in with your advice in the comments -- and feel free to send your own questions along to ask@engadget.com!

Regardless of format, I have long been a music collector. In the 80's I had a cassette collection in the hundreds, and in the 2000s my CD collection amounted to thousands of discs. Currently, my listening habits are split between iTunes (where I have roughly 80GB of my CD collection) and Spotify (where I have over 100 playlists); iTunes has all my older music, while the Spotify playlists contain all the newer stuff I've been checking out. Obviously, I don't own those songs on Spotify and therefore, they're not backed up anywhere.

I hate the idea of "losing'" all my music on Spotify. Ideally, I'd like to have everything in one place, but I'm unsure of the best way to do that. So, my question is two-fold: One, is there a way to have my digital collection in the same place I stream from? And two, how does one consolidate and back up their collection in the era of streaming services?


Terrence O'Brien

Terrence O'Brien
Managing Editor

Google Play Music: You can upload your CDs, digital copies purchased elsewhere, etc. so that all your music is there. It integrates seamlessly with your unlimited streaming account. Additionally, if you're afraid of "losing" music should you cancel your subscription, you can buy songs and albums through Google, which, again, is tightly integrated with your online library. And you can download any music you've uploaded or purchased straight from the web app. You can even bulk-download your whole library (well, the parts of it you've purchased or uploaded, at least).

It is available on iOS, though I personally can't speak to the quality of the app. It's $10 a month or $15 for family plan (up to six family members). You also get YouTube Red (no ads). You can upload up to 50,000 songs for free if you just want to test it out, but you can't download them without the paid plan.

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