Editorial

Where Xbox Music still falls short (and the few things it gets right)

In its short lifetime, the Xbox Music app for Windows 8 has improved by leaps and bounds. While the pre-8.1 Music app clearly suffered from a strict adherence to Microsoft’s “Modern UI” design guidelines (see below ) and a laundry list of other frustrating issues, the most recent iteration of the Xbox Music app seems to demonstrate that developers are actually attempting to address user requests and complaints.

Play or pause controls? Unnecessary!

That being said, there are still a number of lingering issues (some major, some minor) that have yet to be addressed, issues that often render any attempt to fully rely on the Xbox Music app for all of your music needs a frustrating experience.

Let me elaborate. 

Inconsistent access to media shortcuts

When playing music on my Lumia 920, I only have to press one of the hardware volume buttons to quickly access important media shortcuts such as play or pause and back or forward. The situation is largely the same on my laptop and Surface tablet. A press of the volume up or down buttons and the “now-playing” widget pops into view. 

Attempting to access these controls with a traditional mouse and keyboard setup is a different story.

In the most recent version of the Xbox Music app, it is impossible to access the “now-playing” widget unless you have access to a keyboard with multimedia functions. As a desktop user, the only way to pause or skip a song is to navigate to the full-screen app and select pause or next track. As a writer that loves to listen to music while typing away, nothing is more frustrating than having to completely leave behind whatever I’m doing to simply skip a song. I could sacrifice a quarter of my screen space to gain quick access to the media shortcuts by “docking” the Music app to left or right side of screen, but I refuse to surrender all of my dignity to Microsoft (I already bought a new multimedia keyboard . . .)

I guess this is progress . . .

To add insult to injury, activating the “now-playing” widget on any Windows 8 device requires a user to execute a potentially unwanted command to access a desired one. Whenever I press volume up or volume down to activate the widget, I’m adjusting the volume whether I want to or not in order to skip a song. The Windows Phone developers, being the smart cookies they are, made it so that the function of the first press of the hardware volume key only brings up the now-playing info and leaves the device volume unchanged. Take notice Windows OS developers!

Lack of social features

Xbox Music clearly lacks the social features of its competitors and even its predecessor, Zune.

With Spotify, I can create collaborative playlists that allow my friends and I to add songs to a single playlist over the course of weeks and months. Without leaving the Spotify desktop app, I can post a link to this playlist too on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumbler. I can also see what my Facebook friends are listening to. If I don’t want to see this information, I can simply right-click on their name and select “unfollow.”

In the official Xbox Music app, selecting a playlist and accessing the share charm offers me the following options.

Oddly enough, the Xbox Music web app actually offers more functionality in this regard. When viewing a playlist, the web app provides a “share on Facebook” button that will post a link to Facebook that those with or without a Microsoft account can easily listen to. Very cool Microsoft! Just add it to the damn native app too!

The few things . . .

While there are many other things I could complain about, the Xbox Music service, apart from the app itself, also offers a few benefits that have led me to continue to choose it over other music streaming options.

Xbox Music distinguishes between My Collection and Playlists

Spotify allows you to listen to anything it hosts in its catalog, but the only way you can catalog the music that you want to listen to is by adding it to specific playlists. Things can quickly become overwhelming as you start to create playlists for particular genres, artists, and other mixes.

In contrast, Xbox Music allows you to create a collection that is wholly separate from Microsoft’s larger catalog of music and from your playlists. The ability to create a collection allows me to avoid the alternative of having to create cumbersome playlists containing, for example, all of the albums belonging to a single artist.

Xbox Music is still the best choice for Windows Phone users

Saying that Xbox Music is the best option among mediocre alternative isn’t exactly a flattering statement, but it is, at the moment, still true. The Spotify app is rarely updated, lacks the ability to play radio stations, and still crashes from time to time. Google Music is currently MIA and it appears that upcoming music services such as Beats Music will focus primarily on apps tailored for Android and iOS smartphones.

Hope on the horizon

Despite the frustrations that sometimes result from using the Xbox Music app, I still believe that there is hope for the future.

We know that Microsoft is capable of building music software that includes great social features (see Zune Media Player) and the company’s cozy relationship with Facebook suggests that we should expect to see further integration beyond what is currently available in the Music web app.

Lastly, the rumored ability to run “Modern UI” apps from the desktop, an addition that is rumored to be added in the upcoming Threshold update, would go a long way to addressing some of pitfalls of using Xbox Music on a daily basis. 

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I just want the heart (<3) and broken heart (</3) system back. It worked great in WP7 but now it's just an icon that does nothing. In Zune/WP7, all you had to do was love (<3) a song and it auto-synced to your phone, or if you unloved (</3) a song on your phone it would unsync it. So simple and instant.

To summarize:

The Xbox Music...

Service as a whole = Excellent!
WP8 hub = Good but can be improved
Windows 8 app = Okay; Better than before but still not on par to Zune
Other platforms = ditto

In my opinion, they should have just rebranded and built on Zune instead of starting the platform from scratch. They would have saved lots of time and kept all the great design, excellent features and social features that Zune had.

Agree. I also think Xbox Music needs a fully-functional desktop app... that does everything that WMP, and Zune, and Xbox Music can do. NOW that would be awesome.

Instead, Microsoft has three (now, two) hobbled music apps... and it's not working.

I love XBOX Music, haven't seen anything quite like it. but honestly, the biggest problem with MS in general is that they tend to lose focus. they cannot just focus on one thing and get it right and go to next. as some one has mentioned before what was wrong with Zune branding? still XBOX music is good but they initially hurt the brand name by poor app on Windows 8, Lack of support in WP 7.x and older version of windows like 7 or vista. Service itself is quite good and impressive, even web version is good. but they don't promote it as much as they should. instead they make T-Shirt and ads to attack Chrome OS and google... sighhhh. Look at search engine. They had MSN. nothing wrong with branding, changed to Live again nothing wrong and now Bing. honestly part of the reason people lose confident developing for MS platform is this attitude of losing focus. I know Microsoft won't read this comment and even if they do they won't listen but its important to focus on one product instead of jumping around. so frustrating for developers and consumer. again I love XBOX Music and new Win 8.1 app is OK. (windows 8 version was horrible but they improved a lot on 8.1)

The best option on Windows Phone? I'm not subscribed to either service but Nokia Music seems better than Xbox Music. I've picked Xbox Music as my daily app mostly because of the beautiful live tile.

Personally I was using it for a long time, but unless it's up front on my system it has a tendency to duck the volume with no way to change it. I can't stand that.

So I'm using Zune again. And Pandora, at the moment.

My opinion: They need to do a much better job of identifying music. A lot of people have already spent a lot of time manually fixing things in other players they're using, if those players can't do a decent-enough job of it already. Nobody wants to re-do that with another player.

Solution: MS needs to spend the resources to read that metadata from these other apps (third-party or otherwise) rather than trying to re-invent everything with Xbox Music. That is, if a user's already got the Zune player (MS's own, for god's sake) then they need to import its data rather than guessing. Same with WMP, Media Center (again, both their own), Winamp, Foobar, iTunes, or whatever else the user might have.

I just wish they would add the ability to be able to login as a different user within the Xbox Music App, like you could with Zune. Not having this is so friggin annoying for families that share a subscription across different PC's.

The lack of any ability to access it without a paid subscription on non windows 8/8.1 mobile devices is a big downer.

Xbox Music cloud matching isn't very great. And if you choose to do manually you have to go song by song, wish there was a way to open up everything at once to try and add to cloud collection for the songs it can't do

I have an Xbox music pass, but I really am not liking the software. I miss the experience with my Zune HD and Zune pass, the Xbox Music service just doesn't compare at all. In some regards, it's a step forward from the Zune software, but in many aspects, it's a step back.

I have about 42 GB of music in my Music library (that's using the library features in W8.1). The major problem I have with Xbox Music is it only recognizes 588 of my songs in my collection. It's so frustrating, and their support say try reindexing, which doesn't work.

I agree. Microsoft has not addressed the glitches in the software at all. I have a large music collection as well... and it's very frustrating when some technician at Microsoft uses the phrase "one by one" to address this issue. Sorry, I won't do that.

Microsoft needs to get this right already. It's been a problem for awhile now.

So many things, so many things. Zune had a lot right, is it tech limitations or tech policies that hold things back? The simple task of being able to hit a thumbs up or a thumbs down on a particular song, seems like such basic stuff that they could add to this app. Sometimes I think they have different coders running around to different apps to fix some stuff and not others. Are the same guys that made a decision not to add print functionality to the calendar in Outlook.com the same guys that decided to leave out the heart button on music? So many things right and so many things wrong all at the same time. I look forward to the fruits of the re-organization, will it makes things across the board less disjointed, and when will we see the fruits of it all. I patiently wait. But they have fixed quite a bit in the last year at Xbox Music, many of us wonder why did they have to fix so many things that Zune already had right.

XBOX Music really needs to merge with Nokia Music, particularly for the sake of Bollywood Music. It is severely lacking compared to iTunes and Nokia Music has a great collection.

looks like I see a seekbar. I might use the music app finally. Thanks for the editorial.

Baffling why seekbar is not in WP8.

I can't believe you're not even mentioning automatic playlists and song/album rating.

These 2 simple and ubiquitous features (in any respectable music player) have been missing since they decided to throw the Zune client away.
I don't know how they think music lovers can actually perform basic collection management without this.

Also, not too long ago, the Music team went public saying that about half the features were integrated in the current version and that we would see quick updates to deliver the rest.

Honestly, considering how important this application is for the Microsoft ecosystem, I have a hard time understanding the very low velocity of this project.

Couldn't have said it all better myself. The inconsistency between volume button activation behaviors in Windows 8 and Windows Phone always irritated and confused me. Microsoft really needs to get its act together when it comes down to the functional and behavioral discrepancies between Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox. They are presenting them as a unified ecosystem, but it's still only skin deep.

There's plenty more wrong with it than this article lists!
How about the complete inability to edit metadata. Sure, you can attempt to "match" album details (though this fails a lot of the time), but even then it doesn't actually update the files' metadata, only the app's library.

It's a huge step backwards from Zune, which was itself a step back from WMP.

Matt Sharpe said,
There's plenty more wrong with it than this article lists!
How about the complete inability to edit metadata. Sure, you can attempt to "match" album details (though this fails a lot of the time), but even then it doesn't actually update the files' metadata, only the app's library.

It's a huge step backwards from Zune, which was itself a step back from WMP.

Right now it is little more than a Music Player and tool to keep content in sync between your devices/cloud.

For editing type features like metadata, stick to WMP for now.

I feel your pain. If I had included every complaint I could make about Xbox Music this article would have pushed past 2000 words

Also a lot of options are buried under the app, like the properties, when you are looking to edit the metadata of a song, but when you get there, just a stupid window, you cannot edit the information. Cloud sync is a pain when your music is not in the default Music folder. My library of music have more than 24000 songs, it's on another drive, wher ei stored most of my media, only 65 of them are in the cloud, I was manually syncing some albums, but still the're not in the cloud. The only ones they are, are the ones in the Music folder, which i removed from the search path, WTH???

It feels like only one or two developers are working in this project.

I agree that this article left out a lot more problems. At least the MS devs are working on the app, but still fells like they're care more about the looks and not the functionality. They should learn a lot from Spotify or even Apple. This app is really a step backwards.

For now WinAMP, iTunes and Foobar2000 are the definitive audio players for Windows 7-8.

Edited by mjedi7, Jan 12 2014, 8:47pm :

mjedi7 said,
Also a lot of options are buried under the app, like the properties, when you are looking to edit the metadata of a song, but when you get there, just a stupid window, you cannot edit the information. Cloud sync is a pain when your music is not in the default Music folder. My library of music have more than 24000 songs, it's on another drive, wher ei stored most of my media, only 65 of them are in the cloud, I was manually syncing some albums, but still the're not in the cloud. The only ones they are, are the ones in the Music folder, which i removed from the search path, WTH???

It feels like only one or two developers are working in this project.

I agree that this article left out a lot more problems. At least the MS devs are working on the app, but still fells like they're care more about the looks and not the functionality. They should learn a lot from Spotify or even Apple. This app is really a step backwards.

For now WinAMP, iTunes and Foobar2000 are the definitive audio players for Windows 7-8.

If you add your Music folders stored on another drive to your Music 'Library', it will sync them, without having to take them with you.

I have a mild 15,000 song collection and 14,799 of the Music (located in a separate folder) was added to the Xbox Music collection. The only songs that didn't make it were a few that are not digitally available, and a few that I had tagged incorrectly, which I could go back to WMP and adjust if it they were important.

The Xbox Music 'App' is good for playing and Syncing. If you need to adjust your metadata/tags, the Windows 8.1 App is not 'currently' designed to help with this aspect.

Also if you are using alternative 'databases' for 'tagging' your Music that may not be 100% accurate, you will run into problems when it tries to find the cloud version of the song.

Some of my songs that are improperly tagged, are set as tracks for a UK/Australia bonus track Album, when they are not, and this causes an issue. Xbox Music tries to use the 'metrics' of the song file, when in doubt, which will often 'properly' tag the song, but not match what Album you have it tagged as being from. - If there is a metric difference. Also if the particular Album you have is not digitally available, it will use an album variation of the song that is available.

(Be careful with iTunes, it is consistently in the top 5 software Apps that allow malware on a system. It uses their Safari/Webkit engine without much security. Unless you have a lot of iTunes content, you are better off to do a lossless transcode and give up iTunes.)

Xbox Music is a good service that is still transitioning from Zune licensing, which has server side growing pains. The rather pedestrian Xbox Music App on Windows 8.1 is not going to win users, it is just a basic player interface and syncing tool.

(Yes the Music App needs a major revision, unless Microsoft has given up competing with other solutions and don't want to provide a full music 'management' version.)

Mobius Enigma said,

(Be careful with iTunes, it is consistently in the top 5 software Apps that allow malware on a system. It uses their Safari/Webkit engine without much security. Unless you have a lot of iTunes content, you are better off to do a lossless transcode and give up iTunes.)

I don't see how iTunes allows malware in any system, it only browses the App Store and the iTunes Store, maybe Safari, but I use Chrome.

There's no way I will transcode all my media, why?

I been using iTunes Match for like 8 months and of my 24145 songs, only 25 are not in the cloud, not because of the tagging, but because of the bit-rate: 64Kb/s. Also the iD3 v1 &v2 tags on the Mp3s are fine, I don't use ape. So the tags shouldn't be a problem for the XBOX music app.

Matter of fact, it adds the music to the library fine, but it didn't upload or match any of my songs. So I got tired and frustrated with the app, I don't try anymore try to upload/match my music. Maybe in the next years MS could fix some of this and make a decent music player/manager for windows. But in the meantime, it's just a good player for a not so good interface (metro or modern whatever it's called).

mjedi7 said,

I don't see how iTunes allows malware in any system, it only browses the App Store and the iTunes Store, maybe Safari, but I use Chrome.

There's no way I will transcode all my media, why?

I been using iTunes Match for like 8 months and of my 24145 songs, only 25 are not in the cloud, not because of the tagging, but because of the bit-rate: 64Kb/s. Also the iD3 v1 &v2 tags on the Mp3s are fine, I don't use ape. So the tags shouldn't be a problem for the XBOX music app.

Matter of fact, it adds the music to the library fine, but it didn't upload or match any of my songs. So I got tired and frustrated with the app, I don't try anymore try to upload/match my music. Maybe in the next years MS could fix some of this and make a decent music player/manager for windows. But in the meantime, it's just a good player for a not so good interface (metro or modern whatever it's called).

iTunes uses the Safari engine. Check out the 2012 and 2013 reports from security sites like Secunia.

It is more dangerous to have iTunes installed on a PC than Java.

As I don't use Facebook, wouldn't the Facebook option pop up in the Share list if you have it installed? In other words, it's not a fault of the Xbox Music app, but either you don't have the Facebook app installed, or it hasn't been written to accept it from Music apps.

The app shouldn't have this specific functionality embedded into it, because that's only duplicating the functionality of the Share charm (Apps installed register they're able to accept things for sharing, and they use the shared data in their own ways).

While in an ideal world you shouldn't need to use a third party tool as a workaround, however I find running the Windows 8 Xbox Music App in a window using ModernMix makes it perfect.

When you buy a year upfront to at £89, its cheaper than paying £10 a month to Spotify, and has the ability to go on Xbox One and Xbox 360 which Spotify can't. The recently updated iOS app as well makes it perfect on the go for those who aren't yet ready to jump into WP8

So why buy keyboards without multimedia controls? Its like saying its MS fault because your device lacks functional keys to utilize the functions of their software. Laptops n keyboards from 2005 have those functions, some r integrated in the keys... some are dedicated with their own keys.

Good editorial, though I also disagree with the social

Multimedia controls are also present on many desktop keyboards - most of Microsoft's own keyboards include them (same applies to most keyboards included with PCs from the larger OEMs, including HP and Dell) - I have Microsoft's Wireless Keyboard 6000 V.3, and it's old, dating back to XP, and every release of IntelliType Pro (and the successor, Mouse and Keyboard Center) supports the multimedia functionality included with the multimedia controls built into the keyboard. Also, consider how much of that missing functionality is the result of consent decrees - we don't know ALL the specifics of the consent decrees slapped on Microsoft by the EU, for example; same applies to the US Department of Justice, let alone other governments too numerous to mention. Look at how much is MIA merely from Debian - a Linux distribution - due to legal wrangling; unlike Windows, Linux distributions as a whole are seen as collectively David - Microsoft in general is STILL seen as Goliath - rather silly considering Apple's market cap and revenue. Consider the missing functionality part of the price paid for "caging" Microsoft and allowing the competitors more leeway.

You don't even need multimedia keys for that matter. One of my PCs is an ancient one with a 101-key DIN connector keyboard and I've remapped seldom used and unused keys (for example F11/F12/RAlt/ScrLk) to things like volume up/down, play/pause, WinKey etc. Windows has had this feature for ages.

Agree on everything but you missed one key thing to mention - regional support. Xbox is available in just few countries, you can count them on fingers(if you include those on legs). So in Serbia i can't use free Xbox music. I can set up my account on lets say UK and set my PC on UK also but still it won't allow me to use it. And i bought Windows 8, and i have Surface, and i have Windows Phone 8... It's totally unfair that someone in UK can use free Xbox Music streaming while I in Serbia can not.

Title should be: "Where Xbox Music App still falls short (and the few things it gets right)"

Xbox Music is more than just the Windows 8.1 App, thankfully.

Enron said,
I love Xbox Music on Xbox. How is it on WP8? I had a Zune Pass on WP7 and that was nice.

The Original Win8 App was more of copy of the Xbox 360 App than a full Music solution/experience. The new direction with Win8.1 brings it closer to a usable music player; however, it is not a music 'manager' like Zune or WMP are.

These types of 'Apps' was a big mistake Microsoft made as the needs of a Xbox user and a PC/Tablet user is quite different. It was also a bit shocking as the Music App on WP7/WP8 was better designed and more capable than the original Win8 App.

The 'App' still has a lot of room for improvement beyond just listening to Xbox Music and keeping music in sync with other devices and the cloud which it does well.


Music is like all the Microsoft Modern Apps - they still have room to grow and could use a few more passes to add features and bring them to the level of pre-existing desktop variations.

Well, it's taking them too d*mn long. I've been a big fan of Windows Phone, but I actually considered bailing this weekend because... three years in... my playlists still aren't syncing properly. I mean, seriously? This has been an issue for like TWO YEARS! FIX IT ALREADY, MICROSOFT!

Mobius Enigma said,
Title should be: "Where Xbox Music App still falls short (and the few things it gets right)"

Xbox Music is more than just the Windows 8.1 App, thankfully.

Very true,
The Metro apps have been the biggest mistake made by MS in the launch of W8:
If you are going to launch a new OS with a completely different GUI paradigm it is of paramount importance to offer it with apps that, adhering with the new paradigm, highlight the advantages of the mew paradigm therefore "winning hearths and minds" of users. Regrettably MS failed miserably: all the original apps were, to be mild, Beta quality lacking elementary functionalities which were available on their predecessors; furthermore the improvement and refinement of such apps has been slow: the Music app for example, or non existent: the WP8 one both the Metro and the Desktop versions. The cherry on top of the cake is the Photo app, IMO one of the best since launch, that in W8.1 has been butchered loosing its ability to show pictures from other services.
http://answers.microsoft.com/e...e627-4813-a887-49333a0d12dc

MS sure does tend to overlook a lot of things in their Windows 8 "apps". Like for example I don't see Xbox One achievements on Windows 8, but you do see Windows Phone, Windows, and Xbox 360 ones... You'd think they'd have fixed that by now.

I actually waffled on whether or not I should "app" in the title, but I do think that it's worth pointing out that the line between "app" and "service" is often blurry when it comes to music streaming services. Unless I purchase a drm-free song through Xbox Music (which can only be done within either the Windows or Windows Phone app), the only way to access my collection is through one of the Xbox Music apps. On the desktop, I cannot use Windows Media Player, iTunes, or any other program to play music I have downloaded but not yet purchased through Xbox Music.

cybersaurusrex said,
Well, it's taking them too d*mn long. I've been a big fan of Windows Phone, but I actually considered bailing this weekend because... three years in... my playlists still aren't syncing properly. I mean, seriously? This has been an issue for like TWO YEARS! FIX IT ALREADY, MICROSOFT!

Do you sync them with the Desktop/Modern App, or via the cloud? If you let the playlist sync via the cloud, it seems to work just fine.

Create a playlist on your WP8 device or on your Windows 8.1 device/PC, and it will just appear on all your other devices. (Benefit of using a MS Account.)

*Now I could argue that the playlist 'creation' still sucks more than it should on Windows 8.1, but that is an argument against the App, and the 1000 song limitation that is going away.

I have an extensive music collection that I collected before the existence of Xbox Music. Which means I have almost 200 playlists that I spent a lot of time creating in WMP. The Xbox Music app seems to pick and choose which ones it will recognize for some reason... and it's a real pain in the butt. I created these playlists with Windows and with Microsoft products, so Xbox Music should "just work" and recognize them--ALL OF THEM. But for some unknown reason, it doesn't. And for some other strange reason, Windows Phone has difficulty syncing them. It's really annoying... and just another example of how Microsoft abandoned desktop users with Windows 8.

Listen, I'm a big fan of Metro and where Microsoft is going... but they shouldn't abandon those of us who've been with them for years and are buying Windows Phones. They really need to get their act together... like, yesterday.

I just synced my music again... using the Windows Phone desktop app. Some of my music was synced while hundreds of other songs were not. Additionally, my playlists are loaded... but missing half of the songs.

Really? I mean, this isn't rocket science. iTunes has been doing this for over a decade... and so has Microsoft (seemingly).

This is really frustrating.

Xbox Music is great. I don't really care about the social aspect and as far as concerning volume for mouse users can also work from the taskbar.

Xbox Music has potential... but it is still very weak. I still can't figure out why it doesn't recognize all of the playlists I created in Windows Media Player... or why it doesn't arrange the playlists that it does recognize in alphabetical order (this was driving me nuts last night).

Also, since most of the billion+ people using Windows are still using desktops/laptops, Microsoft should give us a dedicated desktop app... or at least give the current one more functionality.

That's really all any of us want from the "Metro vision"--more functionality, more customization. I like where Microsoft is headed with "Windows One"... but they also need to remember why people like Windows (and, yes, a lot of us DO like Windows)--it's because Windows was always functional and customizable. I hope they don't forget that... or they may lose some of their biggest fans.

cybersaurusrex said,
Also, since most of the billion+ people using Windows are still using desktops/laptops, Microsoft should give us a dedicated desktop app... or at least give the current one more functionality.

Windows Media Player is still there and still does everything it used to. It just doesn't integrate with Xbox Music. Similarly, Zune did integrate with Zune music, but didn't have some of the nice things WMP has, like Powerful auto playlists (Zune had them, but they were severely reduced in their complexity, and I'd strongly argue, their usefulness), 5 star ratings (Though Like/Dislike/Undecided isn't too bad I suppose) and a nice video player that supported the installed codecs.

Xbox Music is missing more from Zune than Zune was missing from WMP, which is very, very sad. I want my powerful auto playlists that WMP had, I want play counts back, I want some sort of custom rating system back (Stars preferably or Like/Dislike/Undecided), and I'd like all this synchronised like it's supposed to. I not only want my phone to increment play counts, but to synchronise with my computer, my tablet, everything.

One of the biggest things I miss about WMP and the players that synchronised with it properly, was the ability to have it weed out the crap in my library that I don't want to listen to, simply by the play counts and other criteria I configured. After a while, it only played what I want to listen to, and stopped synchronising the crap after it realised, it wasn't being listened to. With a number of cleverly configured playlists, it promoted new music and would organise it based on play preferences seamlessly, something none of their technologies have been able to do since, which is incredibly sad.

I couldn't agree more. For some reason, Microsoft doesn't seem to realize how important music collections are to people. It's VERY personal and people spend a lot of time formatting it (like meta data, etc.) and organizing it into playlists. I mean, for goodness' sake, Apple came back from near death because it reinvented the music space... and, yet, here we are over a decade later... and Microsoft can't get it right... with ANY of its three music apps.

Anyway, like you said, we want it ALL. The functionality of WMP player, the beauty of Zune, and the new stuff with Xbox Music.

I'll be honest, I was so frustrated with the Xbox Music app and Windows Phone desktop app last night that I really started to reconsider whether I should stick with Windows Phone. I spend a lot of time (and money) on my music collection, and I want to be able to have access to it easily and wherever I go. Sadly, my playlists on my Windows Phone are often missing songs... if they show up at all... and that's completely unacceptable at this point. The platform is three years old now. Microsoft, it's time to get this right! Grrr....

One other note... I don't want to have to use 2-4 different apps to configure, organize, and share my music. I just want to use one. All of the other platforms can manage this... except Windows. And I just can't figure out why. As a software company, Microsoft should be the best at this.

So I finally got my music/playlists to load properly on my Windows Phone. I loaded the songs/music using the Windows Phone "Metro" app to my SD card... and then loaded my Playlists separately using the Windows Phone desktop app... to my PHONE'S hard drive.

The problem (it seems) was trying to load my playlists to the SD card. Either way, Microsoft needs to fix this. It should be simple--not two days of trial and error!

^^^ This to me is the main problem. All others are livable. The inability to dynamically sync playlists to phone and or tablet.

If you have a collection of your own, it's too much trouble to constantly manually move random songs you may dynamically add/remove from your playlists to the phone or tablet. Requires too many steps. that's why I don't see myself leaving iPhone/iTunes though WP hardware is getting quite nice.

This functionality is in older Zune and still in classic WMP. They need to return it to Xbox Music and stop trying to force people to use the Music Pass for all of their music and playlist needs.

If they fix this, I'll go back to the platform with a 5-6" phablet. My other need is resolved with RDP at 5-6" (of course, assuming they release the official Remote Desktop for Windows Phone soon.) But having to manually manage my dynamic playlists and extensive media collection ... not doable. Not when there's iTunes.

Actually, I spoke too soon (again). While all of my playlists were loaded... the songs were all scrambled (meaning, my playlists had the wrong songs in them)! I have NO explanation for that... lol

Anyway, here I go again... for about the 5th time in the past few days... trying to get my playlists to sync correctly on my Windows Phone. This is really ridiculous and unacceptable at this point. This should be relatively easy... *sigh*

MorganX said,
^^^ This to me is the main problem. All others are livable. The inability to dynamically sync playlists to phone and or tablet.

If you have a collection of your own, it's too much trouble to constantly manually move random songs you may dynamically add/remove from your playlists to the phone or tablet. Requires too many steps. that's why I don't see myself leaving iPhone/iTunes though WP hardware is getting quite nice.

This functionality is in older Zune and still in classic WMP. They need to return it to Xbox Music and stop trying to force people to use the Music Pass for all of their music and playlist needs.

If they fix this, I'll go back to the platform with a 5-6" phablet. My other need is resolved with RDP at 5-6" (of course, assuming they release the official Remote Desktop for Windows Phone soon.) But having to manually manage my dynamic playlists and extensive media collection ... not doable. Not when there's iTunes.

Except it doesn't work like this for 99.99% of the users. Playlists are automatically synced via the Cloud to WP8/XB1/XB360/Windows 8.1 devices.

You don't have to hook up your phone to the computer or connect or manually sync anything.

Everything just Syncs with Xbox Music and Windows devices, yes even easier than iTunes.

Music 'Pass' aka Xbox Pass is not needed to have YOUR music synced to the cloud and your playlists automatically Sync between all devices.

The idea of having to manually connect a device (or even use WiFi Sync) to add/change/copy content or playlists to a phone or tablet is really an outdated concept and a waste of time.

I can add a song on this desktop PC and pick up all my other Windows 8.1/WP8 devices and all my changes are already there.

Mobius Enigma said,

Except it doesn't work like this for 99.99% of the users. Playlists are automatically synced via the Cloud to WP8/XB1/XB360/Windows 8.1 devices.

You don't have to hook up your phone to the computer or connect or manually sync anything.

Everything just Syncs with Xbox Music and Windows devices, yes even easier than iTunes.

Music 'Pass' aka Xbox Pass is not needed to have YOUR music synced to the cloud and your playlists automatically Sync between all devices.

The idea of having to manually connect a device (or even use WiFi Sync) to add/change/copy content or playlists to a phone or tablet is really an outdated concept and a waste of time.

I can add a song on this desktop PC and pick up all my other Windows 8.1/WP8 devices and all my changes are already there.

Well then it would be greatly appreciated if you would tell the rest of us, if you add songs in your local music collection to playlists (the playlists are synced), how do you get the actual music file to the Windows tablet or Windows phone since xbox music does not transfer local files added to playlists to tablets or phones. This only works if your music happens to be matched in the cloud and it will stream to the other devices.

You have to manually copy local files to tablets and the phone whenever you add them to a playlist. And even then the local files are often not found even if you do a direct copy of your entire music collection.

Really, if this is working for you like iTunes, you add a local file to a playlist that is synced to your phone or tablet it also transfers the music files if they are not on the device automatically, then yes, we need to know how to make that work with Xbox music (we all know how it works with WMP and Zune) and that will close this imaginary functionality gap. You can PM me how you do it and I'll try. If it works I'll switch to WP the day after.