How to Hear Your Local Music Anywhere with Spotify and Dropbox


A recent change in how Spotify handles local music passed most people by, but not Spotibot and Echofi creator Andy Smith (@asmitter). He quickly realized that Spotify could now be combined with Dropbox to create a killer streamable archive of your local music; one that auto-syncs and is accessible anywhere  Spotify is installed – including mobile!

Over to Andy to tell you how it’s done:

If you’re anything like me you listen to Spotify in a number of different locations on a number of different devices. While that’s great for the 17 million or so songs that are in the Spotify catalog, there are a few notable omissions which you might be missing. Wouldn’t it be nice to have these tracks sitting in your library wherever you are?

While everyone gets their head round iTunes Cloud, Spotify users can get their own MP3s in the cloud, automatically, using a combination of Spotify’s ‘Local Files’ and Dropbox. And it’s not just music – podcasts, audiobooks, whatever you want!

If you’ve not heard of Dropbox, it’s a file synchronizing service that gives you 2GB of space for free. Or – in our language – about 300 songs. And if you need more than the 25-ish albums that that equates to, you can always upgrade your space for mere money.


1) Set up Dropbox

If you’ve not got Dropbox, it’s a quick signup, and if you use this link you get an extra 250MB (or, about 75 songs/6 albums) completely free.

The wizard will guide you through setting it all up, but basically Dropbox is a little program that runs on your Windows/Mac/Linux computer and monitors a specific folder. Any files added to or removed from that folder get synchronised with any other machine you’ve set it up on.

The setup is the same on each computer you use. After you’ve created an account, choose “I already have a Dropbox account,” log in, and continue as normal.


2) Rip/copy your music into the Dropbox folder

Just as you’d copy any other files around, simply shift any MP3s you want into your Dropbox folder. They don’t have to be anywhere in particular, so feel free to organise them as you prefer. I created a Music folder with subfolders by artist & album.

If you want to make it really seamless, you can set your ripping software to automatically rip straight into your Dropbox. The folders work like any other, and you won’t have to worry about copying the files afterwards. At the time of writing Spotify can support: mp3, m4v, m4r, mov, 3g2, m4a, mp4, 3gp and m4p. If you’d like OGG support, let Spotify know.


3) Point Spotify at your Dropbox folder

Earlier this year Spotify updated the Local Files functionality so that it automatically scans your selected folders for changes and pulls the new files in immediately. From Spotify:

  1. Go into Preferences.
  2. Scroll to Local Files and click Add Source.
  3. Select your Dropbox folder. Spotify will automatically scan all sub-directories for you and add the files.

Now do this on any other computer you use Spotify on.

Add your Dropbox folder to Spotify’s Local Files


4) Wait

Dropbox works by copying your files into some private storage space on their servers (don’t worry, no-one else can see your Britney Spears collection!) The time taken to do this depends on the speed of your Internet connection. You’ll know it’s finished when the Dropbox icon changes from blue “syncing” arrows to a little green “done” tick.


5) Enjoy!

If you’ve set it up correctly, any music you rip (or download) on any machine you use Spotify on will automatically appear on all your other Spotify installations as Dropbox synchronises your collections.


6) Getting it on mobile

Some people haven’t mastered getting your local tracks on your mobile, but it’s easier than you think. Spotify themselves put a guide up, but even they are over-complicating things. Here’s the easy way:

  1. Open Spotify on your computer and mobile (make sure you’re on the same network).
  2. Go to Playlists and tap Local Files.
  3. Turn on Available Offline.

You can also set Local Files to offline sync with your mobile from desktop Spotify

That’s pretty much it! The tracks will appear on your phone and be available via a track search. No need to create or sync individual playlists – if the files are used in any playlist they will be available as soon as they have gone into your mobile’s Local Files. All you need to do to sync up any new files you add is open your Spotify mobile app when on the same WiFi network as your Spotify client and they’ll be sucked across.


This is a guest post by Andy Smith (@asmitter), the genius behind Spotibot, Echofi, and soon to be Spotify employee!

  • alex forselius


    Why havent any people realised this before? Sometimes the most ingenious things are so simple to work out so nobody realise it.
      However stay close to Spotify and keep watch the news about the next week event, maybe Spotify is working on a hosting service for local music? Anyway this is awesome!

  • Casonbang

    I use Windows Live Mesh for this. 5 gb of cloud storage for free, and practically unlimited for syncing between two computers. Of course, Windows only.

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  • Anonymous

    Surely this has been possible for ages? What’s suddenly now different?

    DropBox has been able to upload MP3s to the cloud for ages and Spotify has had the ability to select multiple folders of your choosing for ages.

  • I think what’s different now is that Spotify auto-scans included folders, so it’ll just pick up any new tracks i.e. you don’t need to add them manually any more.

  • Carlos

    This is such an incredible advise. In the simplest way, you just solved my entire family music dilemma. Thank you!

  • Isn’t this just the same as transferring your files from pc to laptop (or other device)? When I started reading this I thought it was going to be Dropbox streaming to whatever device I was using. Oh well…

  • can i do this with google drive

  • Sometimes the most ingenious things are so simple to work out so nobody realise it.

  • Jayan

    how can i build my own dropbox?

  • Rabomil

    Maybe things have changed the last two years, but I don’t see what’s the advantage of Dropbox. Every folder on my PC gets automatically synced the same way.

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  • tajthpe1

    does not seem to work on WP8.

  • James

    Fantastic! Thank you.

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  • Koray Küpe

    Will it use my iPhone’s internal storage altough i sync it with Dropbox? Because sync function download songs to mobile phone.

  • scubasteve

    It is very different as your local files do not get stored on a cloud based storage, where dropbox does. Meaning if you upload the dropbox folder, and have this method set up on each device you would like (which isnt difficult) it will auto replicate all local files over every device if set up correctly. Just takes some thought, and configuration.

  • Is there any difference how this works with the free version of Spotify vs. the paid Premium version?

  • Easonboom

    I am wondering if I still rely on Spotify app installed on the phone by moving the songs to Dropbox. What if I am off internet? It seems that downloading spotify songs to mp3 works better for me.

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  • Mayur Ranpura

    Someone mentioned Windows Live Mesh (I don’t know what that is) but I have 1TB one drive, can I use that? I see why it won’t behave in the same way.

    The other question I have – I got an Echo dot, I can play the songs on my phone perfectly fine but when I try to stream this on my echo, it just says ‘can’t play this now’ or similar error. Won’t the same happen on Dropbox/Onedrive etc? Like the local play needs to be on the same network

  • Thomas Young

    you can use tool for import music from spotify to google music / csv / apple music / etc or vice versa

  • Adam Zelt

    you can use tool,it will help you

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