Music Lockers: What Are They and How Do You Get One?

Cloud Storage for Music
Charles Englert

There are quite a lot of file storage services on the Internet that can be used to store digital music. But, this doesn't necessarily qualify them as music lockers. Dropbox, for example, is a popular service that caters to all sorts of different types of files. However, it isn't very useful for managing a digital music library.

Most file hosting services like Dropbox are generic in nature and are more suitable for storing a collection of files (documents, photos, video clips, etc.).

A music locker, on the other hand, is tailored specifically for this task. In order to manage songs (and other types of audio), they usually have audio-based features that generic file storage services (like Dropbox) don't. For instance, a music locker typically has a built-in player so that you can listen (stream) your song collection without having to download individual tracks first.

The way that music lockers work can vary too.

Some are solely for storing music files that the user uploads. Others can be built into music services to provide additional virtual storage for purchases. This facility normally allows the user to download previously purchased content without having to pay a second time.

Is it Legal to Store Music Online?

The storage of audio online (and the music locker technology that goes with it) can be a very gray area indeed. There have been a lot of legal cases on this subject. A good example being the now-defunct MP3Tunes. It was judged in this case that there were no controls on what users shared and the service didn't have any music licensing agreements either.

However, storing your music online is perfectly legal is you apply common sense.

The main one being, never use any online storage to share copyrighted material. As long as you use a music locker to store music that you have legally purchased, you will not be breaking the law.

Where Are Music Lockers Found?

  • Digital Music ServicesBuilt-in music lockers are sometimes part of a music service as an added bonus. Users are given their own personal locker space that contains all the music they have purchased (from that particular service). The iTunes Store is a good example of this. iCloud is used as a virtual external storage that can be used to keep your purchases safe. It can also be used to recover music that has been deleted or lost due to a major disaster — like a hard drive crash.
  • Services Specializing in Music Storage — Cloud storage providers that specialize in hosting digital audio files very often provide specific tools for managing and listening to different audio formats. For example, cloud music services like Amazon Cloud Player, Google Play Music, and iTunes Match all offer the ability to upload and stream audio directly from your music locker.
  • File Hosting Sites — Although not classed as pure music lockers, file-hosting sites can be used to archive your music collection. They may not have the facilities to stream audio for example (although some do), they can be useful for mass storage. Many file hosting services can also be used to share content with others, although you have to be careful doing this so you don't infringe on copyright.