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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!

Placeshifting Your Music to Android Smartphones

Although Spotify has over 10 million songs, there are sometimes bands I’d like to listen who aren’t on there yet: The Beatles, Rammstein, Arcade Fire, Oasis and some of these bands too. Spotify also lacks audiobooks and audio-drama (such as the excellent Big Finish Doctor Who range), so there are occasions when you’re forced to listen to those things your grandparents talk about: MP3 files. Since I listen to music on my smartphone during the day, I had a go at some streaming music options available to Android users. Read on for a look at mSpot Music, Dropbox, and Audiogalaxy: three ways to listen to music-on-the-move without the drag of manually copying MP3 files to your SD card.

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