After improving your battery life , getting you printing and making / saving money with your Android phone, it's time for another Weekend Project. This weekend, by request, i'm showing you how to try out Google Music cloud streaming, even if you are outside the US.
There are two aspects to the Google Music service. The first is the cloud streaming aspect. Google offers free storage for 20,000 songs from your personal music library in the cloud which can then be played via your browser, phone or tablet. A PC client helps you either upload songs to the cloud from specified folders or from iTunes to Google. This service is officially US only, but with a little bit of trickery can be made to work wherever you are. The second Google Music offering is purchasing music - unfortunately, if you are outside the US you can't use this!
Actually getting started is pretty simple - you need one thing to do so - a way to sign up from a US IP address. Google Music doesn't validate whether you are using a US Google account, whether you are playing music inside the US or anything like that, but it DOES check you are in the US one time at signup. If you hit up http://music.google.com from outside the US, you will get a message saying that the service is not available.
The solution to this? Temporarily using a VPN! When I signed up, I used the PrivateInternetAccess VPN service that is free to MoDaCo Plus members and it worked great, but free services are available, such as HideIPVPN (which has a 3 hour trial, more than enough!) or the very popular Hotspot Shield. After connecting to your VPN service, visit http://music.google.com, enter your Google credentials and you're signed up. Your VPN requirement is finished with, you can then disconnect.
After signing up, the next task is to get some music into the cloud. You'll see a prominent link to download 'Music Manager' - this is the tool that handles keeping your cloud library and your local library in sync. It works very well, although remember that the initial upload of your music may take quite a while!
Finally, you need the latest Google Play Music client for your device. This can be found here in the Play Store, but you might find that you are unable to install to your device due to 'country incompatibility'. If this is the case you have 2 options. The easiest one is just to download and install the APK manually, i've uploaded it for you at http://mdc.gd/gpmapk - you can type that into your phone's browser. The other option is to install MarketAccess, use it to set your phones region to the US and then install as normal from the Play Store but, of course, that's a bit more complicated.
So you've signed up, you've uploaded some music and you've installed the Android client? You're ready to go! Although music is streamed from the cloud, you can also tag favourite albums / tracks for storage offline for listening when you have no Internet connection.