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Getting Started with Google Play Music on Ubuntu

Google Play Music, the search giants cloud-music player/storage service, recently slipped off its beta tag and made publicly available to American users.

The service lets you playback music you upload to the ‘Google cloud’, meaning you get on-the-go access to your aduio library from anywhere in the world (providing there is an internet connection, naturally.)

To accompany the launch, a ‘Music’ section was added to the Play Store (formerly Android Marketplace) where you can buy albums and individual tracks for relatively cheap prices. A move that pits Google against Amazon, iTunes and others in the MP3 selling arena.

The drawback for anyone who isn’t stateside is that the service is off-limits; you can’t download the apps, sign up for the service or take advantage of any offers in the Play Music store.

But gaining access to the Google Music service is, unofficially, easy to do. A quick Google on ‘How to sign up for Google music outside of US‘ should help you.

What is Google Music?

Google Music allows you to upload as many as 20,000 tracks from your hard-drive and into the cloud. From there, your tracks can be played back on any internet-connected device regardless of where you are in the world.

The official Google Music Android app even lets you keep tracks, albums or artists of your choosing for playback offline.

How to Sign Up for Google Music in America

  • Head over to Google Music
  • Login with your Google Account
  • Done

Google Music Manager

Once you have access to Google Music you will want to behin uploading your music collection to best use the service.

To do this you will need to download and install the ‘Music Manager‘ application from Google which, unlike some other products, is available for Linux users.

Google Music Manager in Ubuntu 11.10

Google have dutifully catered for Ubuntu specifically by providing easy to install .deb packages of the tool for download.

Music Manager 32bit .Deb

Music Manager 64bit .Deb

After installing the package (just double-click on the .deb to do this) you can open Music Manager from the Dash.

The app has a number of small but useful preferences, including options to:

  • Choose upload directory/file
  • Specify bandwidth allocation for uploading
and a handy feature to make a mental note of:
  • Download your entire library from the cloud

Once you’re familiar with the application you can begin uploading your music. If you have a particularly large collection to upload you will need to exercise patience as upload could be slow.

I let Music Manager run overnight to tackle my 15000 strong library – something you may also want to do.

google Music Manager tray icon in Ubuntu 11.10

Nuvola Music Player

Google Music is accessible from your web-browser, so whether you’re at your work desk or home laptop you still have access to your library.

But for some of us listening to music ‘in’ a web browser isn’t ideal: it breaks workflow and lacks system integration.

That’s where Nuvola music player comes in: it turns the Google Music web-app into a pseudo-native desktop app with tight system integration.

google music frame in ubuntu

Nuvola offers: –

  • Ubuntu Sound Menu integration
  • Multimedia key support
  • Notification bubbles on track change
  • Unity Quicklist controls

The one caveat being that you do need an internet connection to use the service.

Google Music Sound Menu Integration

Nuvola is available for Ubuntu 10.04 through Ubuntu 12.04 and is best installed by adding the projects’ PPA (Personal Package Archive) to your ‘Software Sources’.

This method ensures that you get all future updates automatically.

Open, and add the following PPA, to Software Sources

ppa:nuvola-player-builders/stable

Afterwards run an update then install ‘Nuvola‘ from the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Google Music app for Android

American readers will find Google’s Music App available in the Android Market Google Play Store.

For the rest of us: –

Thankfully .apks (Android’s package installer format) of the latest Google Music release can be side-loaded and installed onto your device – no root required.

A quick Google for ‘Google Music APK‘ will throw up all small country’s worth of results. I tend to trust the folks over at XDA Developers to get mine.