Microsoft launches iOS and Android Xbox Music apps; new feature for Windows 8.1

Microsoft's Xbox Music service has now expanded into new, and somewhat unexpected, platforms. The company has now launched an Xbox Music app for iOS on iTunes, along with an Android version on Google Play.

Both the iOS and Android apps are free to download, but in order to use them customers must already have paid for an Xbox Music Pass subscription for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. If that's the case, iOS and Android device owners can access and stream 30 million audio tracks from Xbox Music. Users can also create their own personal playlists that can sync up to other devices on the Xbox 360, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8. Microsoft is promising that future versions of the iOS and Android apps will allow owners to download music tracks for offline listening.

Microsoft also announced that it has updated its previously launched web browser version of Xbox Music, allowing anyone to listen to unlimited free music from that version for six months. After that, the web browser version offers only a limited amount of streaming music for free but goes back to unlimited with a paid Xbox Music Pass.

In addition, Microsoft announced it plans to put in the new Radio feature to the web version later this year. Microsoft says Radio will offer "... a quick and dynamic way to personalize your collection, discover new favorites, and create ultimate playlists by launching instant mixes based on your favorite artists."

Microsoft also has plans to add a new feature for the Xbox Music app on Windows 8.1 called Web Playlist when the OS update becomes available on October 18th. In a post on the Xbox Wire website, the company says it offers a way to search for music tracks in a somewhat different way. The site states:

The tool scans for artists’ mentions on a given Web page and creates a custom playlist of their music. Think about the Web page of your favorite radio station, or an upcoming music festival, and all the bands and songs included on that Web page. Web Playlist identifies all that music and creates an instant, custom playlist inside Xbox Music with the simple touch of a button.

Microsoft also says that the Xbox Music app team have been collaborating with the Windows and Bing groups to integrate Bing Smart Search into the app. This means that when a user searches for an artist or band on Windows 8.1, the Bing search engine will not only bring up Web-based search results it will also list song tracks that will immediately begin to play in the Xbox Music app when selected.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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I'm not sure how much I like the idea of only a pay app... or the cap after 6 months... If they really want to be competitive they need to actually offer a better deal. On the other hand, 30 million songs is quite a nice library to choose from. Can't say I'll be leaving my set-up just yet (pandora for radio and torch music for videos), but we'll see how it goes.

Pure garbage. No offline support. Looks and feels like crap. People on Android (it's the only thing I tested it on didn't bother on my iPhone) should install Spotify or Google Play Music.

I was a huge fan of the Zune Pass when I had my Zune 80GB. I eagerly waited for the rumored Zune Phone to materialize back in 2007. Suck MS waited so long, or they would have me as a loyal Windows Phone user today. I went with iOS when the 3GS came out, and have been on iPhones ever since.

Glad they released this, I'll probably check it out!

$9.99/month is an excellent price for subscription based music platform like this and MS actually does a good job of bringing in the content. I'll check it out. Do they still do the free 9 songs every month that you get to keep even if you stop subscribing?

The 10 free songs per month are available only if you've still got your original Zune Pass subscription. Otherwise, it's $10 per month with no free song credits.

KRazpopov said,
The 10 free songs per month are available only if you've still got your original Zune Pass subscription. Otherwise, it's $10 per month with no free song credits.

I see. Thats a shame, but the "10-free" wasn't really free since they were all DRM'd songs that would only play on Zune. I don't have a single track of my "10-free" a month when I was a zune subscriber because the files won't play on any of my devices. Still, its a good idea.

I must be doing something wrong. All I want is to be able to point the app to the network share that contains my MP3s, and have it figure out artists / albums on its own (they're all tagged), and then let me play stuff randomly. It seems to me that it simply skips any artist it can't look up.

Hate replying to myself...

What I mean is, I can get it to work (sorta, with enough fiddling), but the app, by its nature, seems to be trying its damnedest to always steer you away from your own collection and towards this online garbage, which I have no interest in.

IMO, the app would be a lot more usable if I could simply disable and hide anything and everything that has to do with web functionality.

I just installed on Nexus 4. Is alright I guess.
Using the free trial, but don't see a purpose in paying for it, that's for sure.
I will probably uninstall right away anyways.

LUTZIFER said,
I just installed on Nexus 4. Is alright I guess.
Using the free trial, but don't see a purpose in paying for it, that's for sure.
I will probably uninstall right away anyways.

Thnx for sharing your plan. as for me I will keep using it because its awesome.

What's "awesome" about paying for music, that streams, which costs money again to be able to have it streamed to your device?
I have 900 CDs of music on my laptop, and I'd imagine XBOX Music doesn't have 99% of the music I listen to anyways.
The Android app is very nice, set up well, and works very well, don't get me wrong, I ain't dissing .
But there's YouTube, Vevo, and many others that offer free streaming music, not to mention the ability to just download CDs which takes seconds to a few minutes for a CD or whole discography of an artist.

I didn't realize you had the option to download, as streaming would eat up a data plan pretty quick on mobile, whereas you could download when on wifi and have on your device.
Well at least MS has this available whereas Google's music service isn't available in Canada.

[quote=LUTZIFER said,]What's "awesome" about paying for music, quote]
right now I am not paying, If you use windows 8 xbox music app it syncs your local library and match the song on server and you own your music on cloud. you can simply listen to any song or album, there is no limit. I don't know what you talking about, you listen for free with some ads or pay without ads. its awesome

LUTZIFER said,
What's "awesome" about paying for music, that streams, which costs money again to be able to have it streamed to your device?
I have 900 CDs of music on my laptop, and I'd imagine XBOX Music doesn't have 99% of the music I listen to anyways.
The Android app is very nice, set up well, and works very well, don't get me wrong, I ain't dissing .
But there's YouTube, Vevo, and many others that offer free streaming music, not to mention the ability to just download CDs which takes seconds to a few minutes for a CD or whole discography of an artist.

I have "my own" music (originated from piles of CDs that I accumulated in high school and college and ripped to my computer), just like you. For me these music programs are more for discovering new music. And it is nice for that. Some music that I really end up enjoying I would have never given the time of day otherwise.

There are some "free" alternatives but these aren't very accessible on mobile, mind you. YouTube/Vevo you have to know exactly what you are looking for. Other services are just "radio" style like Pandora. Still others, like spotify, you have to pay for a sub to get access on mobile so they are in the same category as MS music.

Being able to remove tracks on WP8, randomize playback on the web and stop it repeating tracks in shuffle would be some basic functionality to get right before exposing it to all for ridicule....

A few months ago it couldn't play any mp3's off my internal SSD without stuttering. Either Microsoft is trying to destroy the xbox brand, or Android and iOS just got a better xbm client than Windows :\

Great!

But what about adding the still missing basic features to XBOX Music?
- Ratings
- Automatic playlists (based on tags and / or ratings)

The XBOX Music software client remains the worst regression in the Microsoft ecosystem. It is still lagging behind what the Zune client offered years ago.

great idea, since only xbox music allows unlimited downloads for the same low subscription cost, and also playing back without internet connection. huge cost savings compared with itunes. the radio is also fantastic for music exploration. this will be a great ambassador for xbox.

-adrian- said,
now overhaul the complete Windows apps for it in order to give the users there a decent experience

I don't think it needs a overhaul, just more updates. The newest one is a step in the right direction.

yes.. playlists size, xbox playlist, radio function, album arts, album availability like twice, managing my music from WP8, scraping in music..

-adrian- said,
yes.. playlists size, xbox playlist, radio function, album arts, album availability like twice, managing my music from WP8, scraping in music..

Are you listing things you want in it? If so then there is a Radio function, what used to be called Smart DJ, as long as you have a pass anyways. Unless you actually want radio radio.

there is a radio in GDR2 maybe. SmartDJ was not working properly anyways. How good is that radio if you for example cant downvote or upvote genres songs or artists

MikeChipshop said,
This is how it should be. Multiplatform all the way!

The Google should be doing the same and making YouTube, Google Maps and Google Plus apps for Microsoft's platforms if "This is how it should be. "!!!!!

neo158 said,

The Google should be doing the same and making YouTube, Google Maps and Google Plus apps for Microsoft's platforms if "This is how it should be. "!!!!!

Yup they should. However they seem to have forgotten this, much is the shame.

Excellent. I hope they keep making forward progress on the music app. Certainly, as a long-time Zune user, there's a high mark to be reached for Windows 8's music player and Windows Phone syncing app.

Also, yes, choice is fantastic. The less important my platform of choice is, the more likely I am to use a particular service. I am curious as to what will happen to Nokia Music, though...

Excellent, I've been waiting for this.

Other than having an expensive HTPC, or an xbox, how can I access this on my living room TV?

Does the app support the chromecast as I could use that

Any idea who owns Nokia Music now? Lately I've preferred Nokia Music over Xbox Music by a great deal. Nokia has tons of built-in playlists like the Billboard charts and lyrics for the songs.

Avatar Roku said,
Any idea who owns Nokia Music now? Lately I've preferred Nokia Music over Xbox Music by a great deal. Nokia has tons of built-in playlists like the Billboard charts and lyrics for the songs.

MS does, or will when the deal is final, but regardless even I don't get Nokia Music in my country last I checked. The only service that does support my country as far as music streaming goes is Deezer.