Microsoft's OneDrive: Can It Store And Stream Digital Music?

OneDrive is a cloud storage service, but can it play your music library?

Microsoft's OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) is an online storage service that allows you to store photos, documents, and other media, as well as create and edit certain types of Microsoft Office files.

What Is OneDrive?

OneDrive forms part of a suite of cloud-based services provided by Microsoft. These services can be accessed via a single Microsoft username and password. But what about digital music? Can OneDrive be used to store and stream your song library?

Here are a few frequently asked questions on the service's capabilities as a music sharing platform.

OneDrive screenshot

Can I Upload My Music Library to OneDrive and Stream It?

Yes, but it's not a one-step process. OneDrive can store pretty much any file you'd like, and music files are no exception. However, you cannot stream music directly from OneDrive. If you click on one of your uploaded songs, you will only be given the option to download it.

In order to stream audio from OneDrive you need to use Microsoft's Xbox Music service. The two services are linked together, and although Xbox Music is essentially a subscription service (Xbox Music Pass), you can use it for free to stream your own music uploads.

Another caveat: You cannot upload your music to just any old folder in OneDrive. It must be located in the Music folder. If you do not use this destination, then Xbox Music will not be able to recognize your files as streamable media.

Files can be uploaded using your browser or the OneDrive app, but songs can only be streamed on Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 Music app, Xbox One / 360, or via an Internet browser.

What Audio Formats Are Supported?

Currently, you can upload songs that are encoded in the following audio formats:

As you might expect, you cannot play files that have DRM copy protection such as M4P or WMA Protected. Microsoft also says that some lossless AAC files might also not play correctly.

How Many Songs Can Be Uploaded to OneDrive?

There's a current upload limit of 50,000 files. The problem with OneDrive is that your uploads count towards your storage limit; Google does not have this restriction on the number of gigabytes offered. That means if you've only got the standard 15GB of space then you'll run out of space well before hitting the 50,000 file limit.

If you are already an Xbox Music Pass subscriber, you will get an extra 100GB of storage to play with.

To increase your OneDrive storage for free, Microsoft currently rewards users if they install the OneDrive app and turn on the camera backup facility. If you've never installed this app, then this is a great way to get more storage for your music files.