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

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

Xbox Music And OneDrive
Stream music stored on OneDrive using Xbox Music. Image © Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft's OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) is an online storage service that enables you to store photos, documents, and even create / edit certain types of Microsoft Office files. It forms part of a suite of cloud-based services provided by the company. If you've already got a Microsoft account then you probably know that all these services can be accessed via a single username and password.

But, how 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 potential as a music locker.

Can I Upload my Music Library to OneDrive And Stream it?

Yes, but it's not a one-step process. OneDrive can store just about any file you care to upload so music files can be stored there too. However, you can't stream them directly from OneDrive. If you click on one of your uploaded songs all that you'll be able to do is download it again.

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.

But, you can't upload your music to just any old folder on OneDrive. It has to be in the 'Music' folder. If you don't use this designated place then Xbox Music won't see anything!

Files can be uploaded using your browser or the OneDrive app (recommended), 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:

  • MP3
  • AAC (M4A)
  • WMA

As you might expect, you can't play files that have DRM copy protection such as M4P or WMA Protected. Microsoft also say 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. This is similar to the likes of Google Play Music. But, the problem with OneDrive is that your uploads count towards your storage limit -- Google doesn't have this restriction on the number of Gigabytes. So, 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.

That said, if you are already an Xbox Music Pass subscriber you'll get an extra 100Gb of storage to play with.

Tip

  • To increase your OneDrive storage for free, Microsoft currently reward 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.
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