Google has just announced on their Google Play page that you can now upload your music library to Google Play, and they will scan them and keep a copy in the cloud for free and let you stream to your devices as needed. This “digital music locker” is currently limited to 20,000 songs and US users. Microsoft and Apple offer similar services, but charge $25 every year. Tech site AllThingsD suggests that the other companies charge money as this effectively “launders” pirated music into officially paid-for music, and Google probably just paid a big flat fee to make this happen for everyone.
Our new music matching feature gets your songs into your online music library on Google Play much faster. We’ll scan your collection and quickly rebuild it in the cloud – all for free. And we’ll stream your music back to you at up to 320 kbps.
I simply interpret this as a free way to back up all my music files online and not have to worry about a hard drive crash. I was able to upload all my songs overnight – sucked straight from iTUnes – and I can now see and stream them to my phone or computer (or download them). Pretty neat.