Although streaming services like Spotify are now in vogue, most of us still have a stash of MP3 music files on a hard drive. Beginning today, you can now upload them to Microsoft's OneDrive, and play them back via Xbox Music.
You could always upload MP3 files to OneDrive--or pretty much any other file, for that matter. But OneDrive wouldn't play them back, and there was no easy workaround. Microsoft is finally catching up, years after Google allowed you to upload your own MP3 files to Google Play, Apple to its iCloud, or Amazon to its own music service.
Why this matters: By now, most music lovers subscribe to a streaming service, or ad-supported apps like Pandora stream in the background. With large SD cards and external hard drives, stashing your music in a folder and trucking it around with you isn't that big of a deal. Still, storing your music in the cloud is a convenience, and one that Microsoft should have offered long ago.
OneDrive users should soon see a "Music" folder in their OneDrive account, where you can stash those MP3 files. You won't need an Xbox Music Pass to do so, although if you have one, Microsoft will give you an additional 100GB of free OneDrive storage to flesh out your music collection.
Still, it appears that Microsoft isn't placing any limits on the number of files that you can upload to the service. It's not clear whether file types like .ogg and .flac are supported, however, in addition to MP3 files. And the new folders haven't shown up for everyone. If the Music folder isn't available in your OneDrive account, try clicking the OneDrive music link that Microsoft embedded in its blog post. (That created a folder in my OneDrive account, although songs uploaded to it didn't show up in my Windows Phone when I did so.)
It's also not clear whether Microsoft is checking whether the music you upload is legitimately purchased. I hope they won't, as I really have no idea where every single MP3 in my collection originated from.