Over in America, Google Music isn't just the Android app that plays your music. It's a whole music streaming system, which lets you upload your music to Google's servers then access it via the web or the Music app. It's brilliant, because unlike most streaming services it's completely free, it has no ads and it has all of your music - up to 20,000 tracks or about 80 GB.
Fortunately, there's a way to bypass Google's restrictions and access the same service anywhere in the world. It only takes a few minutes to set up, and then you'll be free to stream and upload for ever more.
In this article, I'll show you how. It's a pretty easy process - you just need a PC with your music on it and a connection to the Internet. You don't even need an Android phone - you can still access the Google Music web app from any PC or smartphone.
Let's get started.
1. Download and run Tor
Tor is a useful anonymity project that includes a customised version of Firefox. That's perfect for our purposes, as it'll allow us to make it appear to Google that we're coming from an address inside the United States. Otherwise, we'd just be refused entry.
You can download the Tor program for Windows, Mac and Linux right here. Launch the program once downloaded - it should pop up with a window that states 'Connected to the Tor network!' once it's ready.
Now we've got to find out which IP address we've been randomly assigned. You're most likely to get an American IP, but you might turn up anywhere in the world! To check, visit duckduckgo.com in the Tor version of Firefox that launches and search for "IP." This'll tell you your IP address, as well as what country it corresponds to.
If you weren't assigned an American IP address, just go to the Vidalia Control Panel (that first window) and press "Stop Tor", then click "Start Tor" again. Refresh the Duck Duck Go page and check your IP. Repeat this process until you've got an American IP address.
2. Sign up for Google Music
That was the hard part. Now, just go to http://music.google.com in the Tor Firefox window. Sign into the same Google account that you use on your Android phone (if you've got one). You'll be asked to agree to some terms of service.
Once you've agreed to the terms of service, you should see the Google Play website. You can (and should) disconnect from Tor at this point, as now you should be able to access Google Music from any address in the world as long as you're signed into your Google account.
3. Upload Music
You'll want to now click on 'Upload Music' in order to begin uploading the music on your computer to Google's servers. This will download the Google Music Manager, a small helper application that will upload your music.
Continue through the installation process as normal, remembering to sign in with the same account that you used to sign into Google Music initially.
Once the installation is complete, you'll be asked to select the location of your music. Upload as much or as little as you like, but it makes sense to do it all if you've got the time and the bandwidth. It took me about 30 hours to upload my music collection, but this'll vary considerably depending on your internet connection speed and the amount of music you're uploading.
Thankfully, Music Manager will start up with your computer and continue to upload until it's finished, as well as uploading new tracks as they're added to your computer's music folder.
Once you've got a few songs uploaded, you can use the Google Music app (on Android 4.0) or the Google Music website to stream your music. On the Android app, you're also able to choose music to download to your phone for playing offline, although on most data connections you'll be able to stream without issue.
If you have an older version of Android, like Gingerbread (2.2) or Honeycomb (3.0), then try this bonus step below to install the latest version of the Music app, which supports streaming from Google Music. If you're running Android 4.0 or you don't want to use the Android client, you're done!
Bonus: Install Google Music APK on older Android devices
First, you'll need to search for "Google Music 4.0.9 APK" on Google in order to find the .APK file (I can't link to it here, sorry.) Next, connect your phone to your computer via USB and copy the .APK file to your phone - anywhere will do, but be sure to note down which folder you stick it in so you can find it later. Disconnect your phone from the PC.
Now, we need to make sure that you can install the app from the .APK file. You'll need to ensure that 'allow installation of non-Market apps' or apps from 'unknown sources' is enabled, which is typically in Settings under the Applications or Security sub-menus.
Finally, launch a file browser app (Astro File Manager is a good one) and navigate to the folder you copied the .APK file to. Open the .APK file you just transferred, and it should be installed as an app on your device.
Now you'll be able to stream your Google Music - awesome!
So with that, you should be completely set up to use Google Music. Let me know if you have any issues, and I'll certainly try to help out where I can. Thanks for reading, and if you found this helpful then please Kudos this post :)
This article was written by William Judd, a freelance tech journalist and copywriter.