Xbox Music app for Windows 8 gets update

Microsoft continues to be pretty quick to release new updates for its in-house Windows 8 apps. Today, it's the Xbox Music app's turn for an upgrade, which can be downloaded right now via the Windows Store.

The release notes for the Windows 8 update state that this new build is supposed to have "improvements to simplify access to streaming music for free." The new version is also supposed to make it easier to move from a free trial subscription for the Xbox Music Pass service to the paid version. There's also been some fixes for "occasional playback concerns" and Microsoft has adding in additional bug fixes that have not yet been detailed.

All in all, this seems to be a relatively minor update to Xbox Music and while it may have some performance boosts, this new version may not be enough to satisfy the many users of the app who have complained about it in Neowin's forums since it launched. They have commented that Xbox Music does not have the same amount of functionality that Microsoft's Zune player once had.

Hopefully, we will see more features and improvements made for Xbox Music in the weeks and months ahead.

Source: Windows Store | Image via Microsoft

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Honestly some of you are waiting or hoping for a bigger v2.0 update which this isn't. A minor update will bring minor changes. I bet we won't see a v2.0 of the music and video apps till later in the year when the windows blue update comes.

One of the key features of WP7/7.5 was the total Zune package... then they bastardized it in windows 8 (zune music pass content incompatible), stripped down music player, WP8 and RT incompatibility. Holding on to Zune on my Win8 notebook and WP7.5/7.8 phones. Vivotab RT unable to access my mp3 collection on the NAS... guess should be grateful MS permitted use of microSD in their RT tablet spec.

Cheers

So the update doesn't really fix any of the issues some consumers complained about and only made it easier for Microsoft to profit. Nothing wrong with making a profit, but if it's achieved without regard to your target audience then it's nothing but greed - imo.

Actually they did issue consumers issues regarding "streaming music for free". People outside of the US were experiencing a "Have you been travelling" error message when trying to stream music. I contacted their customer support and they said they've received similar complaints and are working on an update which will be available in the following week. The next time I logged in, it was working flawless. I gotta say I'm impressed.

I noticed that, too. The speed has dramatically changed as well. Apologies. Let's hope more updates come down the pipe to address other concerns.

"They have commented that Xbox Music does not have the same amount of functionality that Microsoft's Zune player once had."

Understatement of the year. It's not even ****ing close.

It seems absurd, but almost every app out there seems to indicate that MS decided that the app environment MUST be full of half-assed, feature-stripped versions of desktop programs. Apart from the Metro Office apps and simple things like CodeWriter (Notepad) and maybe calculator apps, I haven't seen anything that offers feature-parity with its desktop environment counterparts.

Relativity_17 said,
It seems absurd, but almost every app out there seems to indicate that MS decided that the app environment MUST be full of half-assed, feature-stripped versions of desktop programs. Apart from the Metro Office apps and simple things like CodeWriter (Notepad) and maybe calculator apps, I haven't seen anything that offers feature-parity with its desktop environment counterparts.

Xbox 360 App mentality is the problem, especially with Music/Video on Windows 8. They gave these Apps to that team instead of the WMP or Zune people that realize the needs of PC users.

I'm only upset because I want to like it. In fact, I think the Zune software is bloated, but I still prefer it (even though I'm still hoping that Winamp will do another rewrite, or at least rewrite the media library and make a new skin that doesn't look like it was designed to be popular in 2005 or earlier) because it is responsive, the UI gives the illusion that it is not bloated because it is simple and elegant, it displays my library in a way I can easily find what I'm looking for most of the time, with about any possible choice of how to sort and display it, and it actually works. The new music app should be superior. It is stripped of all but the essentials and has a similar UI design. The problem is that there is all that 360 crap thrown in. The default view gives me all sort of options right there that do not have anything to do with my music collection. I have to actually scroll to the left to get to my music collection, because that option isn't displayed prominently in the center of the screen, and then when I try to open it up there is not a single track from my entire library listed in there; in fact, it insists that I have no music. This is not a problem with my library or my music; it used to work until they updated the app to be even crappier than before, where it didn't find all of my music and took hours to index my collection as opposed to 10 minutes, tops, on desktop programs like Zune, Winamp or iTunes. The last time the app was working properly I noticed that they took the very appealing tiled cover art view and changed it to a detail-type list instead (with no obvious option to change it back to the old display type, so I'm assuming it was removed completely); it would take forever to scroll through my entire library and make it very difficult to find anything I'm looking for quickly using just the mouse (or a finger, if I had a touchscreen). Overall, while I actually like much about the new Windows 8 apps, the music app in particular is a steaming pile of **** and needs to be completely scrapped and rewritten from scratch. Again.

tylerwoodward said,
I still want a way to add music from my NAS... I see this is still not possible. You have to search for it each time manually.

Just add the location/network URL to your Music Library. It is just that simple.

I love Zune and think the Xbox music app is no where close but the last update made it faster. I put up a thread at wpcentral.com on ways to make it better.
I'm hopeful they can make it better, MS I mean.

I don't have the problems many seem to in WP8 but a match should be taken to the RT version nothing about it works well.

It would be better to post your feedback using the official Feedback option in the app itself rather than on WPCentral where they won't see it.

I really like it after I got into it further. Pretty awesome that it synced my library and made those songs I own available via the cloud anywhere I am logged in.

My biggest complaint is that there is no volume control built into it. I cant use it at work as I have to keep certain programs loud and music, etc quite soft. Since it just uses the main system audio volume it's way too loud to use.

Still massively broken though. Constant random 0cx....... errors. Seriously considering cancelling my music pass and switching to another service, looks like rdio has a wp8 client.
Xbox music pass is a waste of money right now. Shame, it used to be awesome in the zune days.

dopydope said,
Still massively broken though. Constant random 0cx....... errors. Seriously considering cancelling my music pass and switching to another service, looks like rdio has a wp8 client.
Xbox music pass is a waste of money right now. Shame, it used to be awesome in the zune days.

Just install the Zune desktop software until they get a better team on these Apps. WP7 users are forced to still use Zune, and at first people thought they were being left behind, when many still prefer the Zune software to the mismatch of Apps and WP8 App.

Relativity_17 said,
They're more focused on selling you stuff and collecting ad revenue than making decent, functional apps.

That's pretty much the whole purpose of windows 8 with its embedded app store, and why they've done everything possible to make using windows as before as difficult as possible.

Relativity_17 said,
They're more focused on selling you stuff and collecting ad revenue than making decent, functional apps.

Exactly, at least with regards to the Music App. Not so much the Video App, it just doesn't do well with the Modern UI IMO.

Anything could do well with a Modern UI.... it's just this app was not designed as nicely as it should be. They really need to redesign it to look like the old Zune software (since that was already in Modern UI) and just change it with the Xbox branding.

>>move from a free trial subscription for the Xbox Music Pass service to the paid version.<<

And there you have it. Greed over quality of app. This is why consumers aren't loving Windows 8 or Surface/RT Tablets yet. 40 million XBLA Gold Subscribers (myself included) don't go crazy for this, why would anyone else.

Fix playlist creation management, and synced playlists finding all local files across devices and that will be good enough. Of course, if you fully support everyone's personal existing libraries, they won't buy from your store, but they will start to love Windows 8 as this would be more Zune/iTunes like. Something people actually want.

Wow, way to pull the negative out of it. That seems to be the theme of the world these day. Bitch and whine about everything. Nothing is ever good enough, give me more for less. It's becoming so tiresome...seriously.

Sorry but I gotta agree with MorganX. The app is a mess for local libraries. You have to wonder if this aspect is getting less priority as MS won't make money from it that way.

Stick with Zune or iTunes 11 (which is actually pretty good now). If you are on RT, options are more limited.

MorganX said,
>>move from a free trial subscription for the Xbox Music Pass service to the paid version.<<

And there you have it. Greed over quality of app. This is why consumers aren't loving Windows 8 or Surface/RT Tablets yet. 40 million XBLA Gold Subscribers (myself included) don't go crazy for this, why would anyone else.

Fix playlist creation management, and synced playlists finding all local files across devices and that will be good enough. Of course, if you fully support everyone's personal existing libraries, they won't buy from your store, but they will start to love Windows 8 as this would be more Zune/iTunes like. Something people actually want.

ERMAGHERD don't have a paid version everything should be free no money for anyone that's how you make a business. Google and apple don't charge money for anything so why should MS /s

So Microsoft gives away a few months of free music service, a service that even though it is free to you MS still needs to pay the record labels, and you call that greed?

The music app is not great, it is improving, and even with the problems I prefer it over iTunes (XBM has not deleted my data like the newest iTunes has). But them giving away free music service when you were told that it would eventually end and calling them greedy for it does not make it so.

No, the music service is fine. It'll never be huge IMO. But it's there. Omitting the same level of functionality and support in the core Music App for the Modern UI and Windows 8 moving forward and only providing full functionality for music purchased from that system is greed.

>>Fix playlist creation management, and synced playlists finding all local files across devices and that will be good enough.<<

uxo22 said,
Wow, way to pull the negative out of it. That seems to be the theme of the world these day. Bitch and whine about everything. Nothing is ever good enough, give me more for less. It's becoming so tiresome...seriously.

This is about the music app, and I pulled out the negative about the music app. The rest is in your mind.

Colin McGregor said,

ERMAGHERD don't have a paid version everything should be free no money for anyone that's how you make a business. Google and apple don't charge money for anything so why should MS /s

Apple does not charge for iTunes and MS does not charge for Zune. Unfortunately Zune does not work with Windows Phone 8 or Surface RT, if it did, the Xbox Music App would virtually disappear.

"Apple does not charge for iTunes" Uh, if you want download music from iTunes you do have to pay for it. Perhaps I'm missing something, I don't see how you feel that you don't have to pay to use (unlimited) Google and apple's music services. You don't have to pay for xbox music unless you want to buy music, for stream ad-free which the last time I checked was the same as iTunes.

Please explain what you are talking about, I personally don't understand I actually may learn something here.

MorganX said,

Apple does not charge for iTunes and MS does not charge for Zune. Unfortunately Zune does not work with Windows Phone 8 or Surface RT, if it did, the Xbox Music App would virtually disappear.

Last time I used iTunes I wasn't able to listen to entire albums all day without paying a single penny. Maybe I missed an option. Show me so I can try it out.

Colin McGregor said,

Last time I used iTunes I wasn't able to listen to entire albums all day without paying a single penny. Maybe I missed an option. Show me so I can try it out.

I think he may be talking about the software (iTunes and Zune), but it is hard to tell because he sounds really confused. Apple doesn't have a streaming service, if you want to listen you have to pay. Google may have a streaming service (I don't know), but Apple doesn't have anything like the free or paid XBM service.

MorganX said,
>>move from a free trial subscription for the Xbox Music Pass service to the paid version.<<

And there you have it. Greed over quality of app. This is why consumers aren't loving Windows 8 or Surface/RT Tablets yet....

I think you're confused. They're simply saying they made the process easier for people who want to purchase the full Xbox Music service after giving it a try. They're not getting rid of free ad-supported streaming.

So Microsoft gives away a few months of free music service, a service that even though it is free to you MS still needs to pay the record labels, and you call that greed?

Uninstalled this piece of **** when it started playing ads while I was playing my own music. I don't use the Smart DJ. I turned off the cloud features. It still played a ****ing ad after every song.

I don't care if they sell you a service, but I don't recall WMP, Zune, iTunes, Foobar, Winamp, Songbird, <ad nauseum> putting their dipsticks into the user's own content.

MorganX said,
>>move from a free trial subscription for the Xbox Music Pass service to the paid version.<<

And there you have it. Greed over quality of app. This is why consumers aren't loving Windows 8 or Surface/RT Tablets yet. 40 million XBLA Gold Subscribers (myself included) don't go crazy for this, why would anyone else.

Fix playlist creation management, and synced playlists finding all local files across devices and that will be good enough. Of course, if you fully support everyone's personal existing libraries, they won't buy from your store, but they will start to love Windows 8 as this would be more Zune/iTunes like. Something people actually want.

Um, it is a crappy UI, but motive is a bit insane. The problem, Xbox team that designed the Xbox 360 App created this, so it has no inherent PC features and apparently no body on their is aware of the functionality needed.

As for 'forcing' users and not being able to use personal music, are you mental?

All your local and PERSONAL music is automatically Synced to the service, allowing you access to your music from any Windows PC, Phone, Xbox via the Cloud sync technologies.

nohone said,
I think he may be talking about the software (iTunes and Zune), but it is hard to tell because he sounds really confused. Apple doesn't have a streaming service, if you want to listen you have to pay. Google may have a streaming service (I don't know), but Apple doesn't have anything like the free or paid XBM service.

Some of us have a large preexisting library already stored on our computers, or at the very least plenty of already purchased CDs available to rip.

Streaming services like Spotify and the Xbox Music app are nice tools for discovering new music though.

The problem Sherlock, is that it doesn't work. Why don't you try reading all of the forums and complaints about it. Maybe you're one of the few it does work for, maybe you're lying, who knows. But typically, when a whole lot of people who buy a thing says it doesn't work, it's not working or not working consistently.

Relativity_17 said,

Uninstalled this piece of **** when it started playing ads while I was playing my own music. I don't use the Smart DJ. I turned off the cloud features. It still played a ****ing ad after every song.

I don't care if they sell you a service, but I don't recall WMP, Zune, iTunes, Foobar, Winamp, Songbird, <ad nauseum> putting their dipsticks into the user's own content.

after every song eh. way to be over dramatic. I use it everyday and I get an ad every few hours.

Me too. It's the only real choice for Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8. Unfortunately it's not in Windows RT and it's a legacy Win32 app. I thought we were moving forward to Metro/Modern UI. Guess not, not really. No consistency. Multimedia is a mess in the Modern UI world.

DrakeN2k said,
I just use WMP , just as good.

Can you access the on-demand music catalog for free like you can with the Music app using WMP though?

"...just as good."
Zune >>>>>>>>>>>>> WMP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Xbox Music.

Just correcting you since Xbox Music app is not good at all. The service is good, but the app is just a mess and needs to be rewritten and redesigned from the ground up, and in PROPER Modern UI, and allowing proper compatibility and music management from music previously purchased from other places (CDs, iTunes, other digital stores, etc.). Zune handled this nicely, so Xbox Music really should have been better than that, but unfortunately still lacking big time (for now!).

DrakeN2k said,
I just use WMP , just as good.

Me too. The first thing I do after W8 install is uninstall all the sadist apps like Music and Video player, Mail, Picture Viewer. Life becomes less complicated.

PotPlayer does the video duties. I feel pity for WinRT users.

sanke1 said,

Me too. The first thing I do after W8 install is uninstall all the sadist apps like Music and Video player, Mail, Picture Viewer. Life becomes less complicated.

PotPlayer does the video duties. I feel pity for WinRT users.

All Windows 8 users are WinRT users. I think you mean Windows RT users.

As for them, there are alternative music and video Apps.

The Xbox Music service is great, the problem, Microsoft tasked the Xbox team with writing the Windows 8 App. So it is a bastardized version of the App from Xbox, that has no PC functionality or features.

This is where the Apps fail in the UI.

However, uninstalling them is a bit insane and drastic. You don't have to uninstall them to use 'alternative' programs. Additionally you are losing out on the on demand streaming and cloud sync technologies that it offers for you local music.

Quite right there about uninstalling. It is better to just unpin from the start menu. You can still get updates and if it improves you've still got it. The apps doesn't take up that much space.