Where is my music library?

Music libraries have become an integral part of our digital lives. As we consume music across various devices and platforms, keeping track of our music collections can prove challenging. With music available on our phones, computers, streaming services, in the cloud, and more, our libraries are often fragmented across these environments. Understanding where to access our music is key to harnessing the full power of our personal libraries and leveraging our existing music content.

The ability to easily access our owned music provides greater control, choice, and continuity in our listening experiences. Locating our full music libraries allows us to rely less on streaming services and more on the content we’ve invested in and curated over time. With the right tools and knowledge, we can bring our disparate libraries together into unified experiences. The following sections will explore common places our music libraries may reside and how to effectively access our collected music content.

Check Your Phone

The first place to check for your music library is directly on your smartphone. Here are some tips for locating downloaded and locally stored music on different devices:


For music purchased from iTunes or the Apple Music app:

  • Open the Music app
  • Tap Library at the bottom to view all your downloaded music

For music transferred from a computer:

  • Open the Files app
  • Navigate to On My iPhone > Music to find music synced from iTunes

For music downloaded on the device:

  • Open the Files/My Files app
  • Navigate to Music folder

For music on an SD card:

  • Insert SD card if not already inserted
  • Open Files app and navigate to SD card > Music folder

You can also use a file manager app to browse all files and folders on your device.

Check Your Computer

To locate your music library on a computer, first check if you are using a Windows PC or Mac. On Windows 10, open File Explorer and look under This PC. There should be a Music folder that contains your local music library. To access cloud-based libraries like OneDrive, go to File Explorer and select OneDrive under Quick Access. For iTunes purchases, the files are usually stored under This PC > Music > iTunes.

On a Mac computer, open Finder and look under Devices. You should see a Music folder with your local library. For iCloud music, go to Finder and select iCloud Drive. iTunes purchases are usually stored under Music > iTunes. You can also open the Music app to view and play back all music libraries synced across your Apple devices (Apple).

Search Streaming Services

Many popular music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music allow you to access your personal music library. Here’s an overview of how to do this on some major platforms:

On Spotify, you can add local files stored on your computer to your Spotify playlists using the desktop app. Simply go to a playlist, click “Add songs” > “Add local files” and select the tracks you want to add. These local files will then appear in that playlist and sync across your devices.

For Apple Music, you can access your iTunes library by turning on iCloud Music Library. This will match the songs in your iTunes library with what’s available on Apple Music, making your full collection accessible across devices. Any music not on Apple Music will still be uploaded.

On YouTube Music, you can upload up to 100,000 personal tracks for free. Just click “Library” > “Uploads” in the desktop app or mobile app to add your music files from your computer or device storage.

Accessing your own music libraries on major streaming services gives you the benefits of their vast catalogs while still letting you listen to your personal collections anytime, anywhere. Just follow the steps for each platform to integrate your files.

Leverage the Cloud

One convenient option for accessing your music library anywhere is to store it in the cloud. Cloud storage services like Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox allow you to upload your music files and then stream or download them on all your devices.

For iPhone users, iCloud Music Library lets you store up to 100,000 songs in the cloud. You can then access your full library from any device logged into your iCloud account. iCloud will automatically match songs you upload to songs already available in Apple’s catalog, so you don’t have duplicate copies taking up space.

Services like Google Play Music and Amazon Music also let you upload your personal music collection for streaming through their apps. This gives you one place to access both your own music and their catalogs of over 50 million songs.

The benefit of storing your music in the cloud is you can listen anywhere while saving space on your devices. Just make sure you have an internet connection to stream or download the files as needed.

Use a Media Player

Dedicated media player applications like iTunes, Winamp, and Windows Media Player are designed to help you easily access, organize, and play your music library. To find your music, open your preferred media player app on your computer or device.

In Windows Media Player, you can access music purchased from services like Amazon by going to Organize > Manage Libraries > Add and selecting the folder where your music files are located. You can also add songs directly by going to File > Add to Library (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GGM3X3BN3XQ62MWH).

iTunes and other media apps have similar options to add music folders or import files into your library. Most players will scan your computer and pull in music files automatically. You can then browse by playlist, artist, album or other categories to find what you want.

If you’ve purchased a standalone digital media device like an iPod, any music synced to it from iTunes or other apps should be accessible there when disconnected from your computer.

Media apps are designed for music playback and give you robust tools to organize your library. So if you can’t find a particular song or album, your specialized media apps are a good place to look.

Check Storage Devices

Your music library may be stored on external hard drives, SD cards, USB flash drives, CDs, DVDs, or other storage devices. To find your music, connect the device to your computer and browse the contents:

On Windows, open File Explorer and look under This PC for connected drives. On Mac, open Finder and check the left sidebar for external drives. You may find music files directly in the root folder or within folders like Music, My Music, iTunes, etc.

If using CDs or DVDs, insert the disc and open the contents. Your computer should recognize it as a music disc and show files and folders.

You may also find music libraries on devices like iPods when connected via USB. Browse the device storage as you would an external drive.

If your music files show up as unknown on the device, you may need to install a codec pack to decode them. Formats like FLAC, WMA, M4A, and others require the right codec.

Checking all your disks, drives, and discs is a good way to uncover “lost” music libraries stored over the years. Just connect the device and explore the folders thoroughly.

Search Your Files

One of the easiest ways to locate your music library is to use your computer’s built-in search tools. Both Windows and Mac operating systems have search functions that can scan all your files and folders for specific keywords or file types. Here are some tips for searching your files:

On Windows 10 and 11, open the File Explorer app and use the search bar at the top. Type in keywords like “music” or “mp3” to bring up results. You can also search by specific genres, artists, albums, or song titles. Using the filter dropdown, you can narrow results to show only certain file types like MP3 files.[1]

On a Mac, use Spotlight Search accessible via the magnifying glass icon in the top right. Type in what you are looking for and it will search your entire system. Refine by checking “This Mac” and selecting “Audio” under Kinds.[2]

Your music library may also be stored in cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive. Use the built-in search in each platform, filtering by audio file types. This works for both the web and mobile apps.

You can also use the search functions in media apps like Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube Music to look for specific songs, albums, artists etc. This is helpful if you’ve added music to these services.

If you store your music library on external drives or SD cards, connect them to your computer first before searching so they are indexed. This makes it easier to locate files compared to searching drives separately.

Using your device and account search tools effectively will help you quickly rediscover lost music libraries. Focus your search terms, filter by file types, and check connected cloud and storage drives.

Use Music Apps

There are specialized apps designed for efficiently organizing and accessing your local music library. Two of the most popular options are MusicBee and MediaMonkey. These apps allow you to sort your music files into playlists, manage metadata like artist names and album covers, and find duplicates. They often include advanced features like audio conversion, lyrics fetching, and integration with sites like Discogs.

MusicBee is an open-source program available for Windows that makes it easy to organize even large collections with thousands of tracks. You can customize the interface, auto-tag files using FreeDB, Last.fm and MusicBrainz, and sync playlists across devices. MediaMonkey offers similar functionality but also includes a music manager for Android.

Using dedicated music library software can provide a better listening experience than just browsing through folders. The apps are designed to make your library searchable and accessible. Before re-building your music collection from scratch, try one of these robust organizers to see if they can help locate your files.


Hopefully this guide has given you some helpful tips and places to look for locating your music library. The key steps covered included checking your phone, computer, streaming services, cloud storage, storage devices, files, and music apps. Backing up your music library regularly and organizing it into a clear file structure can save a lot of headache if you lose track of where your songs are stored.

Music libraries are often sentimental and represent years of curated playlists, albums, and artists. Losing access can be frustrating, so developing good backup habits by periodically copying your music to an external drive or cloud service is crucial. Taking the time to tag files, use consistent naming conventions, and set up folders by artist, genre or year can also make searching much easier if you need to hunt something down.

With the proliferation of streaming services, cloud storage, phones and multiple devices, our music libraries now reside in more places than ever. Having a methodical system to keep everything organized and safely backed up is the best practice for being able to easily find your favorite tracks when you want to listen.

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