Xbox Music app gets important update in Windows 8.1, drops Preview tag

Microsoft’s Xbox Music app has just graduated from the beta stage. With a new recently launched major update the app has now dropped the Preview tag and has improved certain navigation and UI elements.

The changelog mentions a slew of changes that will make users’ live a lot better. Among these:

  • The app now features an always-visible playback control bar, so folks can play, pause and skip songs a lot easier
  • The Xbox Music app now has better support for the 50:50 view available in Windows 8.1
  • The app opens more smoothly and faster when called from the search pane
  • Users can now manage folders in their Music library directly from the app
  • Some other performance improvements and bux fixes

It makes sense for Microsoft to put the finishing touches on their app, as Windows 8.1 is expected to RTM at the end of this month, ahead of a public launch in October.

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31 Comments

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I can still never use this until they add the Genre list down the side as they did in Zune, instead of currently just stacking each genre on top of each other! That means you still have your full collection in view and can lead to a ton of scrolling.
It baffles me that they don't notice these simple things, but maybe the designers only have 50 albums or something???

Have they finally made the recommendations fit the music preferences of the user? I'm an avowed metal head and it really annoys me that not only does the Music app decide that the metal genre doesn't exist when I search, and that matching services has decided that my «Cannibal Corpse» collection gets automatically lumped in under the rock genre, but every time I open the app, the default recommendations is «Lady Gaga» and «Bloc Party». What kind of lunatic easy-listening, non-power chord universe do these app developers and metadata wranglers inhabit?! When will the oppression of my people end?

Why hasn't anyone reported the SIGNIFICANT performance boost 8.1 brings to Surface RT?!? Wow. I hope it does the same on the desktop, though it's not as necessary. This changes the whole Surface RT experience. This thing will be the deal of the century if it can be gotten for $249 or less with 8.1 on it.

MorganX said,
Why hasn't anyone reported the SIGNIFICANT performance boost 8.1 brings to Surface RT?!? Wow. I hope it does the same on the desktop, though it's not as necessary. This changes the whole Surface RT experience. This thing will be the deal of the century if it can be gotten for $249 or less with 8.1 on it.

I noticed that on my Surface RT as well. My desktop was fast enough with Windows 8 installed so Windows 8.1 doesn't really feel that much faster.

Now that the app is getting to a state where it's usable for most how about they try and expand the service itself to more markets?

CygnusOrion said,
This is so much better than the original app it's not funny.

"Play all Music" being chopped = not funny. I've no idea how anyone could give it more than 0/10 with it?

EDIT: Got it - Collection, Songs, play one track, enable Shuffle. Phew! If you're not on the 'Songs' list, you just get the add things to the existing 'Now Playing' list. Not as intuitive as the old single-button.

Edited by Mugwump00, Aug 17 2013, 5:26pm :

I'd like to see the left side bar (collection, radio, etc) be able to be minimized to a version that only showed icons. It takes up too much space on small screens.

If Spotify produced a Windows RT/8 app, after 8 being public for nearly 2 years now, and a WP8 app fit-for-purpose, I'd go back in a flash.

Great service, inadequate client apps. Even the Android client is/was abysmal.

This.
Surface RT support (and an Xbox app!) is why I ended up going with Slacker Premium. Slacker ended up being a pretty awesome choice anyways as it works as both a Spotify replacement and an XM radio replacement with its really nice curated playlists for different occasions.

Still cannot select and play my whole Collection without a keyboard - performance still totally overwhelmed by my modest library - ffs!

Especially that I can now return to the main screen by re-clicking its icon. Before I had to go through the back arrows or click to a different section and back to the one I wanted.

Edit: I also made this mockup a while ago (when the redesign was first made) and then updated it just now. Basically, it's a feature request mockup.
http://imgur.com/OzcTLvr
I want the collapsed power pane on the left to not reopen when I click the Search or Playlists buttons.

Edited by Mulsivaas, Aug 17 2013, 1:42pm :

DonC said,
All good improvements I think.

Is there ever going to be drag-and-drop support for reordering songs in playlists? It seems a bit archaic to have "move up" and "move down" buttons instead...