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Why Microsoft’s Groove Music app is the forgotten MP3 player you still need

Windows 10’s Groove Music app may have lost its companion Groove Music Pass service, but it still has a reason to live: so it can take care of your MP3 files. As cloud services turn away from persistent music storage in favor of streaming, you may need it more than ever.

Microsoft officially killed its Groove Music Pass service as the ball dropped on December 31, shifting users over to Spotify. It’s a recognition that streaming services are the future, and that customers just don’t want to buy songs or albums. 

But none of these services have everything. Bands like AC/DC and the Beatles held out for years. Artists negotiate exclusive deals on streaming services like Tidal. And for fan communities who pass around bootlegs of their favorite performances, like the Grateful Dead or Rush, chances are you’ll never, ever, find these performances on a licensed music service.

Why MP3 collectors should worry

That’s why a generation of MP3 collectors is rightly worried about the fate of their precious live tracks and remixes. Spotify will play them, but only from local sources (more on that later). Amazon has quietly announced plans to shutter Amazon Music, its service for uploading private MP3s to the cloud. (This won’t affect Amazon’s Music Unlimited Service, or any MP3s you’ve purchased through Amazon.) 

Even Google Play Music, which allows you to upload a whopping 50,000 MP3s to its music locker, seems to be considering merging the service with YouTube Red. Google also “matches” songs, rather than accepting your actual uploads—if you uploaded a rare track that Google misidentified and replaced, you might be out of luck.

The answer to all these threats is not to store gigabytes of MP3s locally, where they can be lost or accidentally erased. Instead, safeguard your MP3 files in your OneDrive cloud storage account, and use Groove Music’s app as the front end. Here’s how it works. 

spotify music Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft negotiated a deal with Spotify to transfer over your purchased music and playlists, but if you didn’t download them first they simply reside within the Spotify service.

How to back up your MP3 files to the OneDrive cloud

If you subscribe to Office 365 and its terabyte of OneDrive storage, chances are that you don’t have a terabyte’s worth of Word documents stored online. You can fill up your remaining space with your MP3s. 

Groove will collect any MP3s that it finds locally on your PC and on OneDrive, but first you need to tell it where to look. By default, Groove will sniff your Music folder on your local PC, and a Music folder on OneDrive. (If you don’t have a Music folder in your main OneDrive account directory, you’ll need to create one.) 

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