From the Forums: Disappointment with the Xbox Music app in Windows 8

Users in the Neowin forums aren't too happy with the new Xbox Music app in Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Of all the complaints about Microsoft's new operating systems, one of the most common in the Neowin forums seems to involve the app, which replaced Microsoft's previous Zune and Windows Media Player applications.

In one thread in the forums, mrdeezus discusses issues he's having with the app downloading music despite having the cloud syncing settings turned off.

I have a surface and windows 8 pc. I have cloud settings turned off and every time I load app it says its downloading music!!! I have installed all my paid for music in my xbox music folder for local listening. I would like someone to explain to me why this is happening? Also id like to hear from some Zuners what they think of the xbox music app because to me it has a lot of work to be done to it before it comes close to Zunes functionality. Thanks

In the same thread, xiphi stated his displeasure with the app so far and said Microsoft's previous Zune software had many more features.

They definitely need to bring back a LOT of functionality that Zune had. I'm surprised there's no way to change the sorting of music when viewing by artists in your own collection. It just defaults to songs which is lame. It's also sluggish when it has a few thousand songs compared to Zune which handles it gracefully. There's no obvious way to change the position of the song. There's no "my picks" in the marketplace that shows relevant results. No Social, which was "removed" from Zune, but is actually still functional if you don't restart Zune after a fresh install. If it weren't for the free streaming, I wouldn't even use the app.

Other users were also unhappy with certain features being missing. In a different thread, bguy_1986 lamented the fact that music ratings aren't available in the Xbox Music app.

Did Microsoft take awa[y] all song rating stuff in xbox music? Can I no longer like or dislike a song like I could with Zune or am i just missing how to do this? If you can rate a song, is there a way you can create an autoplaylist of your favorite music like you could in Zune? Loved that feature! 

For the most part, Neowin users seem to be unhappy with the state of the Xbox Music app, although it was recently updated to fix an issue with music stuttering, spudtrooper said.

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I copied all my music (~22 gigs) to the My Music folder under my profile. I can see it in the Xbox Music app, but it will only play the first 30 seconds of each song. Of the music that I own! Does anyone have a fix to that stupid issue?

Tim

MacD@ddy said,
I copied all my music (~22 gigs) to the My Music folder under my profile. I can see it in the Xbox Music app, but it will only play the first 30 seconds of each song. Of the music that I own! Does anyone have a fix to that stupid issue?

Tim

I'm having a similar problem.

The first complaint was fixed in a recent update. Once the user initiated a Cloud to Device Sync, unknowingly, there was no way to stop it until it finished, even if the option was turned off.

There are a lot of very valid issues and there is a lot of functionality that is not consistent nor flows well throughout the App.

The App team at Microsoft needs a good kick, as they have created some of the goofiest crap in the Windows 8 Apps. It took them nearly a year to get a few basic features that are in WP7 for account recognition in some of the Apps, and even today, the user has to hit cancel to invoke them, which is not intuitive.

However, the good news is that updates to the Apps can and are happening all the time, and will launches out of the way, the teams are getting more time to work with feedback and evolve them into the robust applications that they need to be.

So as frustrating as a few issues are, give them your feedback and some time.

(Part of the problem with Music/Video is all the Xbox updates and the server side changes and the additional WP8 App development and transferring account and content management from Zune client software, and on and on. So there is a load on these teams right now. However, hit up the feedback, and let them know how 'ffffnmessed' up things are in your experience.)

I just use Zune. Still available to download and works as well as it always has. I dont use the Xbox music pass so dont need all that syncing crap as my music is on my server. Sounds like the app was made for the typical user who needs his hand held for everything PC related, but is no good for people who can actually engage their brain cells.

Yeah, hate to say it but this app is obnoxious.

I have a bunch of music ripped from CDs on my WHS2011. This app starts showing me a bunch of duplicate things, so I tried to merge them with "Match Album Info" -- now it thinks I don't own any of my music and shows me a "Buy Album" button, my desktop then tries to download my entire music collection again every time I open it. Ughh.

Then! When I tried to clean up an album that was a duplicate by deleting it (deleting the one that said buy album, vs the one that didn't) it deleted it from my home server anyways! GAH!

scumdogmillionaire said,
Yeah, hate to say it but this app is obnoxious.

I have a bunch of music ripped from CDs on my WHS2011. This app starts showing me a bunch of duplicate things, so I tried to merge them with "Match Album Info" -- now it thinks I don't own any of my music and shows me a "Buy Album" button, my desktop then tries to download my entire music collection again every time I open it. Ughh.

Then! When I tried to clean up an album that was a duplicate by deleting it (deleting the one that said buy album, vs the one that didn't) it deleted it from my home server anyways! GAH!

I'm having similar issues. My music collection metadata had been carefully updated and input. Xbox Music doesn't/refuses to recognize the song data embedded in the song file and has broken up more of my albums than it kept intact. It broke up single albums and spread the songs across other albums by the same group (the Police is but one example). Some albums I own it thinks I need to buy. I've turned off automatic cloud syncing which seems to help, but my collection is now a scary mess. What's really goofy is that Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center have no issue with my collection, even after using Xbox Music app. Something is seriously wrong with this piece of software.

jay_max said,

I'm having similar issues. My music collection metadata had been carefully updated and input. Xbox Music doesn't/refuses to recognize the song data embedded in the song file and has broken up more of my albums than it kept intact. It broke up single albums and spread the songs across other albums by the same group (the Police is but one example). Some albums I own it thinks I need to buy. I've turned off automatic cloud syncing which seems to help, but my collection is now a scary mess. What's really goofy is that Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center have no issue with my collection, even after using Xbox Music app. Something is seriously wrong with this piece of software.

Have the same issue. It's extremely frustrating. Zune and WMP have no problems and organizes my music perfectly. Yet this XBOX Music App keeps breaking out my album even after I try fixing it by Find Album Info.

The app is garbage and really surprised Microsoft dropped the ball here.

I also wish they'd make it easier to play songs and allow for continuous playback. I'm so used to double-clicking a song in Zune and listening to the rest of the album. The more I use the app the more features I find missing. There's potential, but MS isn't known for reaching that.

This app is rather disappointing. I do hope they make some massive improvements in the coming weeks.

I'm downloading the Zune software right now. I love that player. The Metro app, not so much.

My friend was using the music app to play his own music and all of the sudden an ad came on. Has anyone else had this happen to them?

sathenzar said,
My friend was using the music app to play his own music and all of the sudden an ad came on. Has anyone else had this happen to them?

Sounds like a bug. I don't think Microsoft would stoop that low.

sathenzar said,
My friend was using the music app to play his own music and all of the sudden an ad came on. Has anyone else had this happen to them?

I think it is a bug also. Xbox Music tries to match songs you have with their cloud service so you can listen to your songs on another device on Xbox Music. I think it streaming the songs your friend has instead of playing his local files. You can turn the music cloud feature off in Settings-> Preferences and see if that works.
I hope they let people stream their music from a web browser soon like the Amazon MP3 cloud player.

This app definitely needs some added functionality. I know they wanted to simplify it but it's too simple. I can get around just fine though it just doesn't seem very efficient. The great thing is that it's just an app and it can be updated. We have to tell MS what we want out of this app. It's far more likely to get a major change to an app like this vs something like Zune. Then again, Zune was pretty damn good to begin with. I basically want a lot of the same functions. It can definitely be done but MS has to hear it from us.

Biggest problems: A playlist created on any device doesn't appear on other devices. And it appears playlists are limited to 1,000 songs.

Actually playlists created on my Surface and Desktop do show up on each device. However, with identical local music libraries, the playlists don't find all the local files on each device. It appears random as to which files it will find.

Biggest gripe with all the MS content apps: no access to my Home Server. Music, Video and Photos just won't see my collections on the network, and I used all tricks I could find :-(

I'll take a gues on why this has happened. PM's or delivery focused people who are ruled by timelines and costs rather than quality outcomes created the pressure to "get it done".

I really hate those folk because it isn't them who is responsible or on the end of all the backlash that happens when quality takes a back seat to artificial or nonsensical targets.

What in Gods name was the rush to dump a very good Zune app for Xbox music, clearly nobody wants this to happen. Could you have been smarter - hell yeah! How about the first change to Zune music is not to switch it off but to rename that sucker and add a few features or make a few minor tweaks. That buys you more time and then you can changes things under the covers on your own realistic pace.

What your time pressures may have done is drive people to competitor eco systems via the purchase of an alternative music player - I WONDER WHICH ONE hmmm!?

You can still use Zune in Windows 8. Clearly MS rushed some apps out to meet the Windows 8 RTM schedule. And some of it is the Modern UI. The inability to cleanly search is a huge experience killer. Search in general is bad, real bad. But for this to work on tablets, compromises had to be made. Over time, it will be interesting to see how it is all received. I'm loving my Surface and am OK with Win 8 on desktop. But search and the music and video app, are irritating me.

I am still using the Zune desktop client, way better tan Xbox Music. Yes I can't use the streaming option on this now but don't really care for that if I have better Access to all my music on my network anyway.

Jarrichvdv said,
And why exactly did you install Windows 8?

other reasons of course, its not all about the apps/metro, other great things like faster boot, better hardware support, ie10, task manager, etc etc

MrWhistler said,
I uninstalled every metro app, use start8, direct boot to desktop, ahh the good ole days, lol

You should've just stayed with Windows 7. What's the point of installing a new OS if you just revert back to the old way of doing things?

MrWhistler said,
I uninstalled every metro app, use start8, direct boot to desktop, ahh the good ole days, lol

To each their own but dang man, you're missing out. As time goes by more and more apps will be able to do things better than their web browser counterparts. Also, maps, weather, games, etc. But hey, it works for you.

laserfloyd said,
more and more apps will be able to do things better than their web browser counterparts.

Well, yeah. Native apps have been able to do things better than their web browser counterparts for a long time now.

The one thing I am missing the most is podcast support. I cannot search for them within the app, nor can I listen to them, even with a link from a homepage. Zune worked just fine. Besides that, only 30% of my music library got identified even with mp3 tags and embedded cover art. Another 10% got identified incorrectly and overwritten. Great fun!

I'm sticking with the app because it has so much ontential and looks beautiful.
However a few things i'm having problems with...

When music is paused (or any time you want to use the player controls) you have to go in to the app, right click and then hit a control.

App seems to pick and choose whether it's going to play a song from my library or from MS's library, even if i already own it. This annoys me no end as it tends to play 'clean' versions of songs

Can't find 'Play all songs', i occasionally like to have all songs play on shuffle to help re-discover tunes in my library.

Those are a few of my annoyances but other than that i do like the app and love having it silently churning away in the background.

Any answers to the above question would be great, no matter how stupid it may make me look

We need per app volume control in the metro environment. I'd I go to the desktop with music in the background it auto gets quieter.

These apps all feel wrong and bare bones. Skype is the same way. I love 8 but we need insane aggressive app development. Once these apps work , this platform will be golden.

It was clear that with WinPho7 we were all beta testers. And it would have been nice for all us testers to receive WinPho8 phones at contract prices. It is also clear that we are all beta testers for this platform that MS is now rolling out. That's probably why it's free until they fix it all.

I love being able to play songs to my xbox, but unless I am missing something, I cannot play a playlist to my xbox. When I do that it plays the same song over and over again, and the "integration" with smartglass is confusing. I did just discover however that I can now play my own videos to xbox from the tablet, and they continue to play while the tablet "sleeps". I'm just taking the good with the bad at the moment. The trials and tribulations of early adoption. It was either this or wait even more for stuff that obviously just isn't finished yet. I'd rather have it now.

I think people should make bulleted lists of the problems they are having. It would be much easier for MS to address them this way then general terms.

Note: Aside from all the complaining that I do MS, I do love Win 8 and the direction your going. I don't mean to try and over simplify the jobs that the guys that write this stuff have. Just trying to point some things out that I'm pretty sure you are already aware of and have not finished.

jimmyfal said,
It was clear that with WinPho7 we were all beta testers. And it would have been nice for all us testers to receive WinPho8 phones at contract prices. It is also clear that we are all beta testers for this platform that MS is now rolling out. That's probably why it's free until they fix it all.

I love being able to play songs to my xbox, but unless I am missing something, I cannot play a playlist to my xbox. When I do that it plays the same song over and over again, and the "integration" with smartglass is confusing. I did just discover however that I can now play my own videos to xbox from the tablet, and they continue to play while the tablet "sleeps". I'm just taking the good with the bad at the moment. The trials and tribulations of early adoption. It was either this or wait even more for stuff that obviously just isn't finished yet. I'd rather have it now.

I think people should make bulleted lists of the problems they are having. It would be much easier for MS to address them this way then general terms.

I totally agree on the lists. As a community of users we need to let Microsoft know what the problems are and we should also demand better.

I haven't upgraded to Win8 yet but I did try the release preview for a few weeks. At the time I was able to still run Zune on the desktop. Is it no longer possible to run Zune on Win8 desktop?

NPGMBR said,
I haven't upgraded to Win8 yet but I did try the release preview for a few weeks. At the time I was able to still run Zune on the desktop. Is it no longer possible to run Zune on Win8 desktop?

You can. The link That's how I sync my phone and still listen to my old collection. I haven't made the full plunge into Xbox music, the app that is. I will stream from it at times but it needs some lovin'.

Link to zune software: http://support.xbox.com/en-US/...e/remove-and-reinstall-zune

laserfloyd said,

You can. The link That's how I sync my phone and still listen to my old collection. I haven't made the full plunge into Xbox music, the app that is. I will stream from it at times but it needs some lovin'.

Link to zune software: http://support.xbox.com/en-US/...e/remove-and-reinstall-zune

Thanks for the response. I really wanna go ahead with the upgrade but I really needed to know I could still run the Zune Desktop software because I love how it allows me to control my music in terms of Playlists, Ratings, Podcasts etc. When I was using the Release Preview I thought those features were left out of the XBox app because it was a preview but figured they would throw in the rest of the features when the app launched.

The one thing I can't understand is why it doesn't download album art automatically, even though I have it set to do so in Settings. I still have to manually do it for any albums. And it doesn't bring over the album art from Windows Media Player.

how about not being able to manually change metadata, or having to press twice to start a song

or xbox music cloud, i can sync "godspeed you black emperor" but not "arctic monkeys"

Chris Kop said,
just yesterday the APP was updated. i don't know what the change log was but it's good to get frequent updates.

One of the fixes was for the blank playback options menu, I also think that it feels a little faster as well.

People are coming to realize the limitations with Metro/Modern UI design. It works well/is enough for casual users, but not power users. If your a desktop user, why use the Xbox Music App instead of Windows Media Player (or VLC/iTunes/etc.) in the first place?

68k said,
People are coming to realize the limitations with Metro/Modern UI design. It works well/is enough for casual users, but not power users. If your a desktop user, why use the Xbox Music App instead of Windows Media Player (or VLC/iTunes/etc.) in the first place?

Because if metro apps are well designed they DO work faster. I'm a power user myself and I prefer some Apps over desktop apps. The speed it works, the speed you can switch between apps. The resume functionality of apps are just great, even for power users. And having online stores available as app makes it so much easier to keep track of them.

68k said,
People are coming to realize the limitations with Metro/Modern UI design. It works well/is enough for casual users, but not power users. If your a desktop user, why use the Xbox Music App instead of Windows Media Player (or VLC/iTunes/etc.) in the first place?

There's no limitation with WinRT or the design, it just hasn't got all the features yet. Hopefully they will get some updates rolling out, until then WMP for me

68k said,
People are coming to realize the limitations with Metro/Modern UI design. It works well/is enough for casual users, but not power users. If your a desktop user, why use the Xbox Music App instead of Windows Media Player (or VLC/iTunes/etc.) in the first place?

The problems the Microsoft baseline apps is not a limitation. It's just poor design. Metro/Modern/Store/whatever's-next provides developers with the exact same thing that .NET, Silverlight, WinForms and Win32 does: a canvas to draw on and access to system resources.

I'm sure we'll be seeing fast and frequent updates, but also agree the music app ( and the video app ) have a lot of features missing right now

As for the first quoted issue, re downloading, I suspect this is simply a check that's performed each time to make sure that its all in sync rather than an actual download happening. From what I know it seems that when you stream music from xbox music it will remember and suggest that track to you on other devices.

duddit2 said,
I'm sure we'll be seeing fast and frequent updates, but also agree the music app ( and the video app ) have a lot of features missing right now

Are we talking about the same Microsoft? They won't update the app untill Windows 9. Just look at all those other Microsoft apps like mail. What has been improved compared to the first beta? Almost nothing. People complained alot about the very limited functionality in the messenger app. What has changed? Nothing at all.

What does change? Zune gets f-ed by Xbox music. Live Messenger gets broken by Skype. And the xbox gets lame because of terrible kinect games.

So don't get your hopes up for the xbox music app....

Peter van Dam said,

Are we talking about the same Microsoft? They won't update the app untill Windows 9. Just look at all those other Microsoft apps like mail. What has been improved compared to the first beta? Almost nothing. People complained alot about the very limited functionality in the messenger app. What has changed? Nothing at all.

What does change? Zune gets f-ed by Xbox music. Live Messenger gets broken by Skype. And the xbox gets lame because of terrible kinect games.

So don't get your hopes up for the xbox music app....

Your hate is making you say stupid things.

1. Zune is in a seperate app and not directly baked in the OS to be able to update it on it's own. It already received a pretty huge update a few days before the W8 launch.

2. Skype and Messenger basically do the same thing while each having their own advantages. Why have 2 competing products when you can use your ressources to create one "perfect" app. As for making Messenger disappear instead of Skype it's simple : Skype - 650 million users, Messenger - 150 million users.

3. Seriously terrible Kinect games ? With all the wonderful games on Xbox Arcade ? All the big names on Xbox (MW3 Maps as timed exclusives for example), the launch of Halo 4 that the press and the users love... New Gears of War on it's way.

Dude... GTFO !

Peter van Dam said,

Are we talking about the same Microsoft? They won't update the app untill Windows 9. Just look at all those other Microsoft apps like mail. What has been improved compared to the first beta? Almost nothing. People complained alot about the very limited functionality in the messenger app. What has changed? Nothing at all.

What does change? Zune gets f-ed by Xbox music. Live Messenger gets broken by Skype. And the xbox gets lame because of terrible kinect games.

So don't get your hopes up for the xbox music app....

Dude, the hate runs strong in you.

Zune - rebranded to XBox music, Zune client is being replaced by modern app. That's it, and the app has already seem updates and will be improved on.
Messenger gets 'broken' by Skype, not sure what your smoking here, both desktop clients work perfectly well and the recent announcement regarding merging the two will simply create a single client going forward - nothing broken here.
Kinect games making Xbox lame, ok this is getting daft. Your basically saying that because there are games available which your not into then suddenly your experience is ruined in some way? Just don't get any of those games and you are NOT EFFECTED BY THEM.

Back to what I said though, the apps are being updated, have been updated and will continue to be updated, this is why they are separate apps. Now do not expect to all of a sudden see massive amounts of extra features, the mail app and others is being designed for light users and touch first. Get outlook if you want all the bells and whistles.

Well, i'm just dissapointed in Microsoft, thats all. They have always been great and I love their products, but lately they fail at a few points.

I know Xbox Music got an update before release, and yes it CAN have more updates. But if I look on how Microsoft has changed things depending on feedback with other products, the fundamentals that are very important won't change for years.

Skype and Messenger are two completely different pieces of software. I understand the reason why, nothing is wrong with that. But Skype has so many isues. No tabbed chats, double contacts because a person is on both facebook and messenger. Misses alot of customization I prefer. The amount of clutter and mess on my screen just for having one chatroom open is just freaking me out. Half of my screen is just menu and contact info, with no option to turn it off. Very confusing menu's. It just feels like a mess to me. Again, i'm used to Messenger, so my pov will be different from those who are used to Skype.


With Xbox. I have a Kinect myself and I love it. The kinect itself can do amazing things so don't get me wrong about the device itself. But the games... Most of them simply don't work as they should.

For the xbox itself, halo 4 has been a big release yes. But look at what Sony does for it's customers.... Free games, big discounts, steam, much more huge games etc. I've been to FirstLook in the netherlands (gaming event). Sony and Nintendo showed alot of great stuff. Sony was everywhere. You had to do your best not to get over a year of free PSN+. And Microsoft? Just a halo booth. And look at all those promotions and stuff customers get in the US and NOT in Europe. Sure we can talk about licesing and stuff, but i'm talking about Microsoft offers.

With all this on mind, I haven't got that much faith in Xbox Music and many services look like a path down to me...

I hope times can turn around

I as Spotify user looked forward to this app when it was announced as it looked beautiful. However, it simply doesn't work for me. Anyone tried to make a decent playlist with your favorite songs from favorite artists? It's nearly impossible to do...

- To search, you have to use the charms, that once clicked somewhere else, is gone. So if I can't find the song, I have to get through all those menu's again to fix my search query.
- The search results are terrible. So much space, so less usefull results.
- I can't simply play a song from my search results
- I can't add a song to my playlist from my results list
- Sometimes I only can add a song to My Music
- Sometimes, when doing the exact same thing, I can only play the song
- Sometimes, again when doing the exact same thing, it IS possible to add the song to my playlist
- The music stops playing when leaving the app. (not always). (Not a wrong setting)
- It's very confusing on how to play my own playlist. The welcome page is not home.
- The background, while playing, turns black many times. (No picture).
- The pictures that ARE shown are without heads or just one or two that repeat over and over.

Do you want me to continue? Made by a ten year old with some programming skills imo.

Peter van Dam said,
I as Spotify user....
just wondering, had you used zune in the past? also, I find using charms search to look for music quite cumbersome as well

jasonon said,
just wondering, had you used zune in the past? also, I find using charms search to look for music quite cumbersome as well

I have used zune to play local music and to sync files with my Windows Phone. I really liked how it looked and worked. Nice and clean, great filtering options etc. I haven't used Zune Pass, I like to pay for streaming music and that wasn't available at my location. So I don't know how it worked before.

Unfortunately, I am having issues with all Metro apps by Microsoft. The temperatures shown by Weather app are all over the place. Store app has been stuck with 1 item available to update for days till I reboot. The music app has no ease of use. Removed mail, contacts, calender apps.

A lot of work needs to be done on every app.

Man, the one about Windows Store having 1 update available, is because one of your installed apps is out/deleted of Store. If you want to fix it, you have to delete this app. Try going to Store, right click (or swipe from top), my apps. Find the app installed in your pc, which isn't listed in the my apps list. Unistall it. Sure, it looks a Windows Store bug ¬¬

About the weather, try changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius, and vice and versa. Change location too! =D

"They definitely need to bring back a LOT of functionality that Zune had."

I have the same feeling with the Mail app.
Can't flag emails, can't mark it as spam, always shows the email by default even if it's spam, ...

thomasvdb said,
"They definitely need to bring back a LOT of functionality that Zune had."

I have the same feeling with the Mail app.
Can't flag emails, can't mark it as spam, always shows the email by default even if it's spam, ...

Totally forgot about that. I never use the mail app because of the features missing.

ingramator said,
The biggest annoyance I have with the app is having to click on a song name then hit play, like wtf.

Seems normal for an app that is mostly aimed for a touch interface. A song is selected and you are given two choices, play the song or add to now playing (queue).

ingramator said,
The biggest annoyance I have with the app is having to click on a song name then hit play, like wtf.

Do they not allow people to double click a song, in order to play it? It sounds to me like such functionality would make sense.