Xbox Music app updated, brings various improvements

Following the release of the update to the Mail, Calendar, People and Messaging app for Windows 8 and Windows RT, Microsoft has updated the Xbox Music app that has been the source of numerous complaints since the launch of Windows 8. The update - which is available for download right now through the Windows Store - brings performance improvements that help the app's speed on devices such as the Surface RT, as well as a few new features.

There's now a separate volume control for Xbox Music, which allows users to turn down the volume of music playing on your device independently of other system volumes. The app has also received a few more settings, such as the option to have all songs added to Xbox Music available across your devices, as well as the option to add matched songs to your cloud collection. Finally, there is also a new now playing interface to have fun with.

The update is already available in the Windows Store, however if it's not appearing for you, head to the Store settings from the Charms menu, go to App updates and click on Check for updates.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft study claims 33% of software is counterfeit

Next Story

Windows Phone 8 update to bring FM radio and other improvements

91 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Does anyone know if you can use SmartDJ w/ your local collection. That's the one thing that made this pointless to me. SmartDJ is a great feature, but ONLY works w/ their cloud music.

Also, does anyone know if they fixed it so if you cloud-match songs, does it let YOUR meta-data stay, or does it REPLACE it w/ the cloud crap? For example, w/ the Eminem album Recovery. I have it named 'Recovery'. The cloud has it named 'Recovery [Explicit]'. I DO NOT want the 'Explicit' added to my meta-data. This is THE MAIN REASON cloud-match IS STUPID. When I tried it out before, it would replace ALL THE HARD WORK I did to make my meta-data on my library exactly how I wanted it (remove stupid tags like explicit, bonus song, etc). Then I went and cloud-matched an album, and it put it all there.

Those are the two reasons this app is a no-go for me. Mainly the cloud-match updating meta-data. I just stick w/ using WMP like always.

greensabath said,
Does anyone know if you can use SmartDJ w/ your local collection. That's the one thing that made this pointless to me. SmartDJ is a great feature, but ONLY works w/ their cloud music.

Also, does anyone know if they fixed it so if you cloud-match songs, does it let YOUR meta-data stay, or does it REPLACE it w/ the cloud crap? For example, w/ the Eminem album Recovery. I have it named 'Recovery'. The cloud has it named 'Recovery [Explicit]'. I DO NOT want the 'Explicit' added to my meta-data. This is THE MAIN REASON cloud-match IS STUPID. When I tried it out before, it would replace ALL THE HARD WORK I did to make my meta-data on my library exactly how I wanted it (remove stupid tags like explicit, bonus song, etc). Then I went and cloud-matched an album, and it put it all there.

Those are the two reasons this app is a no-go for me. Mainly the cloud-match updating meta-data. I just stick w/ using WMP like always.


Here's why they have to replace your metadata:
The way the matching works is it checks Xbox music whether it has the songs, so when you go to another device, it shows that you have the music in "your cloud"
It's a way of verifying ownership of the song (they don't want to be redistributing music you may have pirated, if you're streaming from the cloud, you're either listening to ads or paying for the Pass, either way the license is being paid for)

If you change metadata, they can't verify that the song is the song you say it is, so they can't stream it. I'm guessing this is a "cover your ass" legal issue.

On that same token, any music that's not in Xbox music can't be synced at all, and furthermore, any music you have to purchase in order to play, won't sync until you buy the album from their store.

Yes, it's a pain, but you have to understand, that's the system that's been forced on MS because of ridiculous copyright laws. :-\

If you can deal with that (I can, I put any music that doesn't sync into skydrive and just download it on other devices, and that's a minority of my music), then the matching service is awesome. I'm not so anal that I can't stand having [Explicit] after a song so I like the service. It's very convenient not having to load my music on multiple devices, it's (mostly) there.

"If you change metadata, they can't verify that the song is the song you say it is, so they can't stream it. I'm guessing this is a "cover your ass" legal issue."

They don't verify anything. If I create my own mp3 with me singing the ABCs, and I call it 'Lose Yourself by Eminem'. I then go to Xbox music, and cloud-match it to the version on there, called 'Lose Yourself [Explicit]', That's it, it matches because I made the link manually, and then would allow me to sync it (by sync I mean access the cloud version of Lose Yourself) across whatever devices.

I do not believe there is some back-end process that verifies the song is what you say it is. I further this argument with the fact there is no possible way for them to do this b/c they don't upload 'your' copy of the song to the cloud to check w/ the cloud version. The reason they don't upload your copy, is to save bandwidth and to be less of burden on them as far as copyright is concerned, because they would have to have licenses to store 'your' copy of that song.


So it isn't too hard for them to have an option (on the front-end application) to have all your 'local' music's meta-data take precedence over any cloud-music meta-data. Now, I am willing to live w/ the fact that If I access a song from the cloud through another device (where the song isn't local on this second device) then it would pull the cloud meta-data (w/ [Explicit] tags, etc)


I also understand your point of music that isn't in Xbox music cloud can't be put on the cloud, that is understandable from a copyright perspective.

Still isn't Zune. The app is a lot faster and smoother I would like to hear from an rt user as that was my complaint with it. Also, still need the following:
Get rid of big white box on center of screen when you select an album or artist
Allow multiple track selection for purchase
Allow app to sync to phone wirelessly

Other than that this last update brings a most welcome improvement, a set up feature and helpful explanation of what the cloud does to your music collection.

Am I the only one who is experiencing popus in the Now Playing screen like: save as a playlist, or play songs from a related artist? Its so annoying! There's any way to fix it? =(

One thing I just noticed: It actually works much better with ModernMix now. The window content adapts more intelligently than before!

Works much better after the latest update. All the music that couldn't previously match properly is now matching properly. When viewing music, clicking the header now brings up a window allowing you to navigate better whereas clicking on headers before the update did nothing.

Now hopefully other annoying things like Top Artist/Albums change. They've always pretty much stayed the same.

Comparing it to windows media player it has more than half of features still missing. If I were microsoft i would address those missing features.

S3P€hR said,
Comparing it to windows media player it has more than half of features still missing. If I were microsoft i would address those missing features.

When in the Music App, if you go to the charms, you can submit feedback. If you have not done that already, I would suggest you do so.

it's always been that way, even 5 years back. for some reason the zune audience is in love with Linkin Park and Eminem.. and I think even nickelback

anyways I think it's due to a very small user base. if there were to be more teenage girls using it you wouldn't see those albums in the top list.

Bit of a weird UI decision in this age and time to call the button that turns the "now playing" list into a regular playlist "Save now playing" and to give it a floppy disk icon...and of course still no drag and drop within playlists etc. , in fact I'm noticing barely any changes

Biggest improvements I see:

Actually syncs all artist cover art. Before I would have missing images for various very popular artists.

Sorts by album initially when you tap on an artists. Before it just listed all their songs in album order. You had to go into "Explore Artist" to see their albums. Huge improvement here.

One problem... I don't see the "See Song List" in the full screen view anymore. As far as I can tell you have to leave full screen to access this... anyone else see how to access this?

I really hoped they would have implemented a forward-rewind function to the pop-up menu bar (or app bar as it's officially called). It also lacks track edibility.

siah1214 said,
...but at least it's better than iTunes...

What are you smoking man this is a complete joke even the Windows Media Player for Desktop is leaps and bounds better than this and no one ever claimed that WMP was better than iTunes but you're calling this toy looking thing better than iTunes (and I'm no iTunes fan either myself - I just use the File Explorer and WMP to play my music and videos)

Obry said,

What are you smoking man this is a complete joke even the Windows Media Player for Desktop is leaps and bounds better than this and no one ever claimed that WMP was better than iTunes but you're calling this toy looking thing better than iTunes (and I'm no iTunes fan either myself - I just use the File Explorer and WMP to play my music and videos)


Calm your tits.
At least it doesn't install a bunch of apple crapware that doesn't go away after you uninstall it. And I vastly prefer this interface, but different strokes for different folks.

Obry said,

What are you smoking man this is a complete joke even the Windows Media Player for Desktop is leaps and bounds better than this and no one ever claimed that WMP was better than iTunes but you're calling this toy looking thing better than iTunes (and I'm no iTunes fan either myself - I just use the File Explorer and WMP to play my music and videos)

Aint much worse than iTunes

Mikeffer said,
Aint much worse than iTunes

Then you simply don't use iTunes for very much. This in absolutely no way compares to iTunes and is a hundered times clunkier to use on the Desktop. But, hey, "different strokes for different folks".

CSharp. said,

Then you simply don't use iTunes for very much. This in absolutely no way compares to iTunes and is a hundered times clunkier to use on the Desktop. But, hey, "different strokes for different folks".

I do indeed but you're correct in the "Different strokes for different folks".
Also, i'm on Windows where iTunes plain sucks.

While it doesn't help what Microsoft has left us with, you are correct. Not even close to iTunes or Zune, or even Windows Media Player Classic. It is what it is. No choice but to accept it.

CSharp. said,

Then you simply don't use iTunes for very much. This in absolutely no way compares to iTunes and is a hundered times clunkier to use on the Desktop. But, hey, "different strokes for different folks".

littleneutrino said,
will have to check this out, last night i got the updates for several of the microsoft apps however, i did not see the music one.

I didn't see it till early this morning.

Still waiting for the VLC Player team to show them how a media player is done I guess even if they don't manage to include all the features they set out to. Microsoft is being pathetic at this point with the resources they have. These updates are very modest to say the least. These apps still need a complete revamp. They are lacking tons and tons of features and if they will be fixing them 2-3 at a time here and there this means these apps will never be all that great.

Obry said,
Microsoft is being pathetic at this point with the resources they have.

Hey everyone! Obry has the inside scoop on Microsoft's development teams and resources! We need to book an interview with this guy FAST.

Joshie said,

Hey everyone! Obry has the inside scoop on Microsoft's development teams and resources! We need to book an interview with this guy FAST.

I just use common sense. You have to be a complete idiot to assume Microsoft doesn't have enough resources at it's disposal. Can you be any more stupid with your comment? The inside scoop... What are you 12 years old?

Obry said,

I just use common sense. You have to be a complete idiot to assume Microsoft doesn't have enough resources at it's disposal. Can you be any more stupid with your comment? The inside scoop... What are you 12 years old?

Hey everyone! Obry cites common sense and uses personal attacks as a defense! We need to get this guy into a political special interest group FAST.

Joshie said,

Hey everyone! Obry cites common sense and uses personal attacks as a defense! We need to get this guy into a political special interest group FAST.

Hey everyone! Poor Joshie has lost his binky and is crying for his mommy. Can someone please help him? He needs his diapers changed it smells like

Dutchie64 said,
did you send them to the proper email address? /s

Apparently, posting comments on Internet blogs == reporting issues to Microsoft.

Darrian said,
I never said I submitted them to Microsoft, I only said they were complaints.

There's a feedback form from the settings menu. Use it.
The more people that use it, the more likely issues are going to be fixed.

That's pointless at this point. There are many complaints by many users all over the internet. There's at least one large thread on it just on this site. Microsoft isn't looking to make this the app that its users want, they are trying to fix the app that they want us to use only to a point where we will use it. And I probably won't ever because it probably won't ever be even close to the app that I want. My "feedback" would be, as I have suggested a few times already, that they completely scrap it and rewrite it from the ground up. Since they've put so much effort into making the crap that they're serving they are not likely to take such advice. I'll continue to use Zune/Foobar2000/Winamp/Helium Music Manager/whatever instead, it's really not that big a deal to me. I do think it's a shame that they had an opportunity to make the best music player ever for Windows 8 and it's more likely that at some point a 3rd party is likely to release a vastly superior app, but whatever. It's not like I paid money for it.

Welcome improvements.

It still won't properly sort by "date added" though. When using that option, the sort order places a bunch of previously added albums ahead of the most recently added ones.

For reference, the Zune desktop software sorts by "date added" correctly.

seems to work fine on this end, but to bad the full screen mode isn't Zune-ified yet....
I miss my album covers background..... :-|

bguy_1986 said,
it's still crap. I've only used it for 10 minutes and it crashed twice on me....

Been using it 8 hours with no crash. Think you need to check your system as that's not right.

I've just rebuilt it..

I do have a lot of music and didn't really ever use the app till this update. Maybe I was trying to work it to hard?...

bguy_1986 said,
it's still crap. I've only used it for 10 minutes and it crashed twice on me....

There have been a million and one complaints about Xbox Music but crashing was never part of the discussion. Congratulations, you're an edge case! The problem is likely not in the app itself but something happening in parallel.

Joshie said,

There have been a million and one complaints about Xbox Music but crashing was never part of the discussion. Congratulations, you're an edge case! The problem is likely not in the app itself but something happening in parallel.

Obviously you haven't been involved in some of the same forums I've been involved in...

bguy_1986 said,
I've just rebuilt it..

I do have a lot of music and didn't really ever use the app till this update. Maybe I was trying to work it to hard?...

some times **** just happens. Hope it's fixed for you though.

Ran much better last night after I let it sit all day. Still not very happy that my music is all screwed up. I had 4 genres, now I've got a bunch. Would be nice to be able to change them and still have it synced to the cloud.

well... I have to admit, this update will finally see my Music on the WHS. It imported all from the Music Library properly this time. It looks like it's all there, with thumbnails and all. Will play with it (pun intended) to see if it behaves better now.

Pointer to the Pictures app team, have a look what they did. Now please fix NAS/WHS support for Pictures too!!!

Never worked right for most people. It's what made me give up WP8. Too little to late to move me back, but it would be nice for my Surface RT if this finally worked.

Still have to create playlists with WMP and probably always will. That's just not something the Modern UI can do well, ever. The search and no context menus on results just make it impossible to do well IMO.

It's good they fixed these things, but it's not enough to change much. Not nearly enough.

It can only add files that are indexed ie stored on a windows server with the indexing feature enabled or a windows computer with the drive added to indexing options.

Indexing is crippled since windows 7 so no external drive or network drive support.

TPreston said,
It can only add files that are indexed ie stored on a windows server with the indexing feature enabled or a windows computer with the drive added to indexing options.

Indexing is crippled since windows 7 so no external drive or network drive support.

Thanks! indexed music from my Ext HD & the app works now

Add the indexing feature (windows search service) after install go into the indexing options in the control panel (all items or search for it) and add the local or RAID drive by checking it.

After its indexed you can then share the folder on the server and add the network share to the library because its indexed or use shlib.exe in a logon script to do this automatically using group policy.

NAS users are out of luck.

Does it now properly recognize when a new song is added to a playlist and not have to reimport them and then create duplicates?

I know the Music app being updated couldn't fix this itself, but maybe they did some backend changes. Does anyone know if adding a song on your Windows Phone 8 device through Xbox Music, now makes it so the song syncs to your Music on Windows 8 device?

good question. but you cant add music on wp8 to my music - so i guess the answer is : still not. you can add it to a playlist on your phone and i think this somehow manages to sync something - but i am not sure .

Will it now properly see any NAS/WHS on the network?
So far the Video, Pictures and Music apps still refuse to properly see why WHS v1, despite all the tricks available on the web :-|

I don't know about WHS but I haven't had any problems (other than poor performance) running off my Server 2012 Essentials box.

I am opening the initial Xbox Music app before the update to see if I'll notice the difference after the update..."Oh! The horror! Still can't believe they didn't bring the Zune Desktop experience to Xbox Music..!!!

So. It appears I have 6 app update tiles: MS Mahjong, MS Minesweeper, Mail, Calendar, People and Me, Music, Taptiles, MS Solitaire Collection. Note that the games being updated are all Xbox Live games. Now that's what I call "A Steve Balmer moment!"

Wow! All the apps run so much faster, especially the mail app. Xbox Music has a "Completing the Update" warning..and........it's completed. OK!

Was SmartDJ there all along or is it a new addition? Oh well, that's a really welcome addition..

PoohGQ said,

Was SmartDJ there all along or is it a new addition? Oh well, that's a really welcome addition..

It's been there all along

PoohGQ said,
So. It appears I have 6 app update tiles: MS Mahjong, MS Minesweeper, Mail, Calendar, People and Me, Music, Taptiles, MS Solitaire Collection. Note that the games being updated are all Xbox Live games. Now that's what I call "A Steve Balmer moment!"

Wow! All the apps run so much faster, especially the mail app. Xbox Music has a "Completing the Update" warning..and........it's completed. OK!

Was SmartDJ there all along or is it a new addition? Oh well, that's a really welcome addition..

Smart DJ has been on there, but you couldn't really use it. It would pick 10 songs for you and that was it. Hopefully that's been fixed.

Cool! Either way I had stopped using Xbox Music when it was playing ads while playing local files.

However in My Music, I just noticed that ((.)) - indicating that music only available for streaming yet this is music on my PC..! Strange

Relativity_17 said,
Does it still play ads randomly when you're playing local files?

Nope! Haven't had any problems with local files in fact it starts playing the music immediately, blood amazing. I'm actually considering going back to Xbox Music now!

This really is the go/no go for me. My music is on a WHS 2011 and if I find it plays ads when listening to my files (a la pre-update) then I'm not opening it again until the next update.

It has done this for me too, which is why I refused to use the Music app. I'm not paying Microsoft to listen to music that I purchased and is local on my computer.

Relativity_17 said,
Does it still play ads randomly when you're playing local files?
Weird, I never had that issue. You might actually be using the free streaming and thinking you're using local since it appears similar.

So when I disconnect my Ethernet cable and toggle off wireless, I still think I'm using local files, but am somehow streaming my music off the internet?

Relativity_17 said,
Does it still play ads randomly when you're playing local files?

Been using it all day and not heard a single advert. I'm hoping that it was a mistake originally. But looks to have been fixed thank gawd!

Been using it all day and not heard a single advert. I'm hoping that it was a mistake originally. But looks to have been fixed thank gawd!

Maybe I'll reinstall and try it out again. Mine went a long while without playing ads, then started playing the same one after every song. Unchecked all options that even sounded like they could be related to cloud/syncing, and it still happened. Tried taking the computer offline, and it still played the ad, which was weird.

Same here but happy to report 'still no ads'.
It was an odd choice if it was originally intended to play ads while you were listening to local files.

Playlist with more than 1000 songs available now?
deleted albums also synced across the devices? its a mess with wp8 and w8 in use

I got an update for video on surface. From the store

Various performance enhancements and feature updates, including the addition of Closed Captioning for most movies and TV shows

About frigging time. A step in the right direction, I can say it works a lot smoother and the new features are definitely welcome. Keep up the updates Microsoft!

ingramator said,
About frigging time. A step in the right direction, I can say it works a lot smoother and the new features are definitely welcome. Keep up the updates Microsoft!

I hope they update the music service itself to more markets because right now if you aren't in one you get half a app it seems.

It starts up and runs a lot faster. And the new features are welcome, especially the volume button which should have been there from the start, but it's still missing a lot of stuff.

It's gone from "s**t" to "usable" now. Maybe the next update will make it "OK".