Microsoft updates Xbox Music for iOS; adds offline playback

Microsoft finally launched iOS and Android apps for its Xbox Music streaming service in September, and today the company issued its first big update to the iOS version. There's just one feature added in this update, but it's a big one.

The iTunes store site shows that the new 2.0.31213 version of Xbox Music now adds the ability for users to listen to their playlists while offline. This will certainly be welcome news for people who sign up for the Xbox Music Pass as they will now be able to access their songs if there is not an online connection available. So far, the Android version of the app has not been updated with this feature.

Microsoft has been expanding the reach of the Xbox Music service in recent months. Besides the iOS and Android apps, the company launched a web-based version in 2013. It's also available for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox 360 and most recently the Xbox One. Microsoft has yet to offer any concrete information on how many subscribers Xbox Music has signed up since it launched in 2012. The pass costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year.

Source: ITunes via The Verge | Image via Microsoft

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Kalint said,
yeah its called spotify and its the best.

Spotify is still $9.99 a month for offline playback without ads, so what's your point?

Love Xbox Music, great WP8 app, great Windows 8 app (with some quibbles, but they're going away with each update), overall, good experience, well worth the $60 a year I pay for it.

anothercookie said,
Xbox music is awesome on windows 8/8.1, wish the premium service for other devices didn't cost so damn much though, there are a lot of alternatives that are much cheaper. Google music is meh but it gives access to 50,000 of your songs for free. At least give us something for free microsoft, 100-500 song plays per month or some other option besides $100 a year.

I've been a subscriber to Xbox Music (Zune Pass) for long time. (5+ years)

Let me make a small argument that it is worth the cost...

It is easily worth the cost when most of us are dropping $5-10 here and there for access to Netflix or even cable services for video content. If you listen to a lot of music, why not spend $10 a month to have access to everything on all your devices whenever you want it.

The ability to grab what you want to listen to at any time is convenient. Hear a new song playing somewhere, and have it on your device (all your devices) in a couple of taps. Have a friend recommend a song/album and have it on your phone/device before they are even done talking about it. Even a car trip with friends or relatives, everyone can pick their favorite artists as you go.

So you can find and play any song at any time, no restrictions.

Even if you have a rather large music collection, Xbox Music will tag it and offer it to you on other devices or via the Cloud, which makes just being able to access and Sync what you already have easier than transferring it between devices.

Easily Sync between all your devices or the cloud without having to understand the difference, and even access music from any browser.

The offline access mode helps if you are bandwidth conscious, as you can retool your music when on WiFi. Combine this with adding a few songs when you are using data, and with a 8/16/32gb device, it is like having infinite storage for music on your phone, and access to essentially everything. Even if you do download songs using bandwidth, you only have to download the song once, not every time it is played.

No more relying on streaming access, yet the feature is there if you want.

As for Spotify, Pandora, Google, etc. They all various quirks and limitations that make better 'radio' stations than a music subscription service. (The SmartDJ/Radio feature of Xbox Music actually inspired how a couple of these services work by creating playlists/stations based on personal music tastes.)

Another really good thing Microsoft has done, is made this service available on everything. From native support on WP7/WP8/Zune (Yes still works on Zune), to App access on Xbox360, XB1, Windows 7/8, Android, iOS and universal access via a browser for Linux and OS X users.

Universal access no matter what mix of devices you have. (Right now it is offering more computer/device support than most of the other services.)


If Microsoft had made the service this universal back in the early days of Zune, which was locking the content to Windows PC and Zune only devices, it would have a much larger following. (There were reasons they couldn't but that is a long story.)


So if you are into Music and are on the go, it offers virtually everything and is easy.

anothercookie said,
Xbox music is awesome on windows 8/8.1, wish the premium service for other devices didn't cost so damn much though, there are a lot of alternatives that are much cheaper. Google music is meh but it gives access to 50,000 of your songs for free. At least give us something for free microsoft, 100-500 song plays per month or some other option besides $100 a year.

One thing I would _highly_ suggest you do is buy codes for this stuff on Black Friday (or around that time). I got a year pass to Xbox Music for just $60 ($40 off, or $5/month) as part of their 12 days of deals, and you can get 12 month passes for as low as $45 (just under $4/month) on Ebay - http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html...&_sacat=0&_from=R40

Adding that on to Mobius' great points about how awesome it is to have it (I really can't fathom having to pirate/pay-per-song any more after switching to XBM about two years ago), and $3.75/month doesn't sound too bad

Mobius Enigma said,

Snip

I didn't read it, but I'm just going to agree. I've used many of these sorts of services, nd Xbox Music is fantastic and worth every cent.

Maybe there are better, but I'm happy with what I have.

Mobius Enigma said,

Even if you have a rather large music collection, Xbox Music will tag it and offer it to you on other devices or via the Cloud, which makes just being able to access and Sync what you already have easier than transferring it between devices.

I've been using it for some time now and mostly agree with what you've said, but I will say that the cloud matching is simply awful, tag editing is still not possible and there's no way to submit corrections to the service when they've obviously got something wrong (I have albums with one or two songs with incorrect info and the rest ok. How weird.) I'm getting sick and tired of incorrect info and especially wrong album art showing up due to how much the matching sucks. It still has a long way to go in many aspects, although allowing tag editing and some sort of manual matching/correction against their online DB would be a massive help but I don't see either being implemented any time soon.

Edited by Romero, Jan 8 2014, 7:08am :

oh god! the ads! they are killing me! i must pay 10 bucks!


everything comes with a price. take it from a "veteran" MMORPG player - f2p MMOs are the worst when it comes to price
i dont mind listening to some guy telling me about spotify stuff in between tracks

if ads are stoping you from using spotify, then use grooveshark

Saex_Conroy said,
oh god! the ads! they are killing me! i must pay 10 bucks!

I take it you were replying to siah1214? If not I don't know why you'd click the reply link on my comment (which Neowin notified me of) since I mentioned nothing about ads or Spotify.

I still wonder why and how some people actually argue about XBOX Music not being the best music subscription offer.
Mobius Enigma post above explains it all.

It is the best offering on the market. End of discussion.

Unfortunately, the client application does need some work.
We've been denied automatic playlists and ratings long enough now. Microsoft promised lots of upcoming features but nothing has been delivered yet.

TheCyberKnight said,
I still wonder why and how some people actually argue about XBOX Music not being the best music subscription offer.
Mobius Enigma post above explains it all.

It is the best offering on the market. End of discussion.

Unfortunately, the client application does need some work.
We've been denied automatic playlists and ratings long enough now. Microsoft promised lots of upcoming features but nothing has been delivered yet.

The last part I agree with, and ironically, it seems the stuff they 'removed' often takes longer to get back than other features, which doesn't make a lot of sense. I guess they thought it wasn't important at the time or they wouldn't have removed the feature in the first place.

TheCyberKnight said,
Unfortunately, the client application does need some work.
We've been denied automatic playlists and ratings long enough now. Microsoft promised lots of upcoming features but nothing has been delivered yet.

Hear, hear! The client is really bad and missing so many critical features (mentioned a few in my post above).

Please use the "comments" feature in the Music app to request these features.
The more people complain, the more chances we have to get something back.

TheCyberKnight said,
Please use the "comments" feature in the Music app to request these features.
The more people complain, the more chances we have to get something back.

Left comments, left feedback, left twiddling my thumbs...

For some reason it doesn't load anything on Chrome, I just see the ugly UI and the circle rotating, I think they are forcing to use IE.

iTunes Match is years ahead of this service, even spotyfy works really nice and cool.

I use only Chrome and it loads and plays perfectly fine (in fact, it's running right now). It's probably your connection / the proxy you're using / some plugin interfering with your browser.

It could also be you're just unlucky

Edited by georgevella, Jan 9 2014, 10:50am :

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