Hip-hop’s undergoing something of a quiet crisis in that, due to the popularity of streaming, many are at risk of losing a lot of mixtape jewels and rare freestyles simply due to the fact that streaming services can’t feature them. While I understand the legalities, it’s unfortunate that because it’s a genre based around taking something old and making it new, a lot of really great music will cease to exist outside of the mp3s people might still own from the days of Limewire. Think of how much Kay Slay, Clue?, and DJ Drama content won’t be anywhere to be found once mp3s go the way of the compact disc. Imagine a world where the only rap music we have record of has undergone all of the legal sample clearances and no one ever rhymed over anyone else’s beat. It’s sickening. So while we don’t have a solution to that inevitability just yet, I’ll share what I do personally to ensure that I’m not losing out on classic music that my favorite streaming service doesn’t have and/or never will.
One would think that the sensible option for someone who uses a Macbook would obviously be to just use Apple Music. However, I was a very early adopter of Spotify and by the time Apple Music and Google Music came to be, I was already waist deep in painstakingly curated playlists, some of which had a good following. I also like the social aspect of Spotify, in addition to the ability to embed playlists into my website, which at the time of my initial test runs, Apple Music, Google Music and Tidal did not offer, to my knowledge. I also like the attention Spotify places on playlist creation, with recommended songs to add to the playlists you create, the ability to add an image for your playlist, and just a damn good UI.
What’s the point?
Say you want De La Soul or Anita Baker’s discographies, which are nowhere to be found on Spotify – De La Soul because of longstanding legal issues which make their catalogue unavailable for streaming anywhere and Anita Baker because she apparently thinks making her music only available on Tidal of all services is a good idea. However, if you own their albums outright, it’s your right to listen to them via whatever medium you please and Spotify allows you to add your local files (files installed on your computer) to your Spotify account for personal use (these songs won’t be shareable, but there’s always Dropbox for that).
How does it work?
While you won’t be able to share the songs you put on Spotify from your local files with friends, you’ll be able to access them alongside the rest of your Spotify collection and include them in your playlists, to be heard on as many devices as you have connected to your account.
- Open up Spotify on your computer.
- Go to Local Files on the left-hand menu. There may be duplicate songs if the files exist both as iTunes files and in your computer’s general files.
- Tap “Filter” to enter in search criteria (artist, song or album title, etc.) to find songs
- Click and drag all of the songs you want from your local files over to your playlists on the right or just right-click to add them to playlists.
- Sync your devices. If you want this music to be playable on your phone, simply open Spotify on your phone and hit the “Download” button on the playlist or playlists you’ve added the downloaded music to.
It’s a lot easier than it even looks here, but for Spotify users who want to add their own music for convenience, it’s clutch. And it’s a win for hip-hop fans, as we can still have convenient access to all of those rare freestyles and loose records that will never officially see the light of day in a world set up for streaming.