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Latest Xbox Music update ditches initial song search for improved speed

Xbox Music has been updated! Microsoft is doing good on their word to give the app bi-weekly updates. The last update was two weeks ago and today we're staring at the latest version in the Windows Phone Store. Read on to find out what's in version 2.6.123.0 of Xbox Music.

This marks the sixth update for the Windows Phone 8.1 Xbox Music app. Here's what you'll find in version 2.6.123.0:

  • Improvements to how the app behaves under poor connectivity conditions.
  • Improved download error handling so that messages are less frequent and more clear.
  • When your phone is charging, the app will update your collection from the flash or SD card in the background.
  • Addressed 70 functional bugs.

Here are some of those 70 bugs that have been fixed in this update: - Unexpected playlist/playlist item duplications appearing. - Downloads not resuming after a network connection was lost and regained. - Purchased songs appearing twice in the collection. - Showing "looking for music" when nothing had changed.

A massive update that greatly improves the speed of Xbox Music. A major complaint that a lot of you have had since getting your hands on Windows Phone 8.1.

Here's what Microsoft details as coming to Xbox Music in future releases:

  • Performance – we're continuing to invest in improving the responsiveness of the app.
  • Live Tile support.
  • Kid's Corner support.
  • General UX improvements.

We can't wait to see all the changes and improvements Microsoft has planned for Xbox Music.

You can download the app and let us know what you think of today's update!

Via: Xbox Music UserVoice

Thanks for the tips everyone! You can stop now :p

QR: Xbox Music

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Latest Xbox Music update ditches initial song search for improved speed

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Yep, fuera de toda broma la aplicación tiene un inicio más rápido y ágil. So it really "really seems faster".

It's still not fast enough. I still get blank screens while looking through the list of artists on my phone. This isn't even including the cloud collection.  Xbox music use to be my #1 app, now i never use it. After this update, while scrolling, i still can see 5-10 seconds of nothing. I can load my website with thousands of lines of code in a second, but it takes 5-10 seconds for xbox music to simply show me a list of about 40 artists. LAME

Yeah but,to be fair, its said that on every single article about an XBM update. Doesn't seem to be happening any time soon so I can see where his excitement is coming from.

Does anyone get the bug where if a song has an unknown artist, it says "by {04343534-435-4534}" or something like that? I have it and its annoying

Guys, what about the games app? We've been getting updates for the Music and Video apps, but nothing for the Games app. It's really buggy; takes about 20 seconds to load the game list on my 1020, while my Lumia 900 opens and loads the list almost instantly. FFS MSFT

THIS!, Games hub performance sucks and should also be updated, along with an option to show games in the hub rather than in the app list

Since games are all in the apps list now, I wouldn't be surprised if the Games app went the way of the Me app.

If they had fixed the live tile, the complaints would have just been geared towards something that they would've likely left off. Besides, it's only a live tile, and not one of the most stellar live tiles out there. Maybe they're redesigning it? Who knows? Just remember, 99% of you are probably still running the developer preview. If it aggravates you to have a redesigned app that isn't "up to par" before general release, don't participate next time.

Apart from UX, the live tile adds to the whole look and feel of the app. It beatifies the start screen, which is one of the big draws of Windows Phone. Also, the Music app is not fixed in the 'real' releases of 8.1 either. So the last part of your comment is null.

Yes I imagine they would complain about something else. It's not because people like complaining, it's because MS took a fantastic music service and threw large chunks of it in the toilet with every major update. With the 8.1 version breaking practically everything, they are having to rush out updates to make it barely usable. I would in fact argue that situation occurred nearly 2 years ago, when they broke all the syncing options, introduced duplicates tracks all over the place when it synced and when the app started randomly throwing up DRM errors on the first track of an album. It also started messing with the metadata and renaming tracks to the wrong thing. Oh and also forgetting that a track is stored locally and burning up my dataplan without me knowing because it's decided to stream instead (and didn't tell me). I could go on, and I have posted on uservoice, answers forum etc etc before you ask. No live tile after all this time just highlights how bad it has got, that they haven't even implemented one of their major UX elements into a flagship app.

How hard is it to bring back the recently played tracks list? If this was a standalone music player, nobody would buy it in this state. We had a standalone player level functionality in WP7, this is nowhere close (still).

Before giving us a live tile, they need to make it usable, which is not the case yet. It's still slow, it still doesn't show all my songs when scrolling fast the list, it still has a lot of bugs. Live tile is beautiful, but not useful. There are a lot of priorities before.

Forget about it being faster, i wish they would get rid of the stupid blip of music at the end of each song.

It's not stupid... It's pretty great actually. Though it's still not secure - you can access all the pictures on the phone from it, which is a problem...

Great ideas, poorly named, poorly executed. Music goes to half volume, some apps aren't available. Highly unflexible. Its not great. Sorry.

Yeah, I wish there was an option for no password, and an option for a password different than our main password.

It's NOT supposed to require a password. It is bugged in GDR3, which makes it ask for password. There was no password in GDR2 and there is no password in 8.1. Having a passwords in kid's corner pretty much defeats the purpose of it.

It doesn't require a password in WP 8.1, though there is a bug with that as it sometimes ask for pwd.

Agreed, I would love for them to take it a bit further and give availability to have actual user accounts. Each of my kiddos could have their own accounts, managed by Family Safety, and get credit for their gamer score, and not screw up my own game stats. Kids corner is pretty neat... but it could stand several improvements.

And why is this functionality coming before the long, long list of highly voted features on user voice? They cant even get the message despite 10's of thousands of requests. There is no hope for music on WP unless they allow third party to access their DRM

Ha thanks. I'm just saying that it should never have been called Kids corner. Kids Corner should have been one of many configurable examples of the Guest Account. All the limitations placed on that secondary environment makes it pretty unusable. If you want to use it for children choose an age group restriction for appropriate content. Or open it up fully for people who would like a Photography, Music, or Work section. Like I said it was just poorly executed. I'm not even sure if Jessica Alba is even using it anymore.

It would be nice if, considering I have a lot of hip hop, kids corner would automatically play clean versions (if present in the store) of my music pass collection so I can play the music in my car.

Ha Kid's Corner isn't bad at all. Well, not being able to access notifications or switch between multiple apps, pin/unpin tiles... Are a downside.
But using kid's corner is a great way to focus and get work done on your phone, whatever it may be. I use App Folder to access everything, OneDrive - OneNote, etc. Add Surfy and a music player and I'm pretty much set.

Let's see.  

*Loads 1,000 song playlist.      Plays first 20 songs randomly. 

Update.  Loads way slower. 

*Play Playlist.   Shuffles first 20 songs. 

*Check/Uncheck Suffle:  Success! 

Hurray, it looks like it doesn't work immediately and you have to wait a minute before reshuffling the playlist but it does eventually finally play more than the first 2 albums. 

 

Lets hope it is like mixradio's one, with latest album covers, just without that crappy face/headphones symbol

Aww I loved the old live tile because MPAtool allowed choosing/setting your own background pictures. Most of my music isn't in MixRadio's/Xbox's database so the live tile would be useless for me.

I'm worried about this too. Did you plug it in and wait? It says the collection waits until the phone is charging to update.

I downloaded MUSIC+ app and I think it's what causing the multiplication of tracks. Everytime I open the app it updates the music app and duplicates the songs unless you disable the updating on the MUSIC+ app itself.

Start up speed of the app is much, much better since the update. Was probably the most annoying 'bug' for me.

ALL I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR IS ONEDRIVE integration SO THAT I CAN PLAY MY MUSIC STORED IN ONEDRIVE LIKE XBOX MUSIC OF WINDOWS VERSION

There is an app to do that, you know. It's called SkyMusic. But I get your point that it would be nice to do that "natively" from the music app. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that feature. Just use the app I mentioned. Problem solved.

Ref: Rippen Jam,
I understand your frustration.
I want it to sync also with my local stored music too, so it works when the internet isn't available, is inconsistent, is slow, is metered, is expensive, or isn't available/ work at all.

Just imagine that Rippen Jam is Gilbert Godfried. Now, read his comment again. On a side note, Microsoft has a forum dedicated to suggestions like these. In fact, some of the features in previous updates were taken directly from the forum. I would give you the link, but you must Bing it. That is your punishment for yelling.

Was just about to write a tip when I saw the article. Finally on the right path with the music app. Actually seems fas i'llshowmyselfout

It's still way too slow and lacks way too many basic features. It's hugely laughable that the core music player on an OS is still this bad... Huge joke.

I guess I'm way average when it comes to using a music app because for some reason, this app meets my needs. I don't do anything fancy. I have my playlist and when I say play, it works!! It sync across my devices but my phone is my primary music player so I don't know if there are syncing issues between my surface, laptop and phone. Please tell me the things that I need that I don't realize that I need them. Serious question here. Maybe I ought to use another music app and then come back to Xbox music so that I may see the glaring issues.

You say this meets your every need so anything I say might just be icing on the cake for you.

For me personally, this app does not meet my needs. I want auto playlists (based on rating or last added) as an option. I want to be able to sort by rating or last added. I want true shuffle (maybe this is fixed but not sure until I get more time with this update) so that I don't get the same couple of "randomizations" every few times. I want to be able to upload all of my own music and stream it from anywhere I have internet (read: Google Music). I want gapless playback. I want to see my music when I open the app, not a black screen (possibly fixed but I won't be satisfied until I have a little more time with this latest update - all prior updates still have not fixed this issue for me). I want faster search - not waiting forever for the app to search through songs that are already loaded on the phone. When I'm in the Xbox Music store and searching for an album I don't want two identical results with no way to tell them apart (this happens way too often). I want scrolling titles/names as too many songs or albums don't fit in the screen and are just cut off. I want this to work with the Live Tiles (says it's coming but why did it disappear in the first place?).

What I'm asking for is basic. Most of this should have been (and some actually was) included on day 1 with WP7... I don't see why WP8.1 has to be three steps back...

Your right people are always going to find something to complain about. Regardless of how good it might be it can always be better, It's also not even a official release. It's a complete revamp so its going to have its issues, now when it is official and still buggy ill be right along with everyone else complaining.

I don't think you understand the whole idea of this... This is THE STOCK MUSIC PLAYER on an up and coming OS that lags way behind iOS and Android... You can't have this half-assed of a music player as the first thing that people experience when they first try listening to music on their brand new WP8.1 device... What do people not get?

 

I actually agree with several of the features that you pointed out as lacking. Others are somewhat trivial or beyond what should be expected of Xbox Music at this point. I'd like to point out what you chose to put in all caps. It indeed is a STOCK music player. I personally remember the day of stock apps on smartphones being considered nothing more than ugly icons in your app list that you couldn't remove. Remember the old Blackberry stock music app? I do, and be thankful if you don't. Then along comes the iPhone. The phone that revolutionized smartphones built around the MP3 player that revolutionized MP3 players. I had an iPhone, and although I can't speak for their new OS, their stock player didn't even meet all your needs. Now, from what I've heard and seen, Google's Play Music has come a long way, and may very well be the best all-around music player of the big 3. However, I've had the Motorola Android and HTC Evo 4G LTE, and the app was bad enough that I used Winamp as my main player at the time. Keep in mind that the whole reason behind separating the app from the OS was to allow these frequent updates and continuously evolve the app, not unlike Play Music. As far as the Google Music Collection that you referenced, I agree it's pretty much the most awesome thing out there, but I imagine Microsoft isn't just adding music to Onedrive to simply serve as a backup source. Just be patient.

The fact is, the music app used to be good, but over the last 2 years has had a lot of core features removed and major bugs introduced. This is why people are complaining, and they have every right to do so.

Here's a rant! :)

I remember the music player on the BlackBerry Curve - that's what I had before I went with WP. The music player was the only thing I missed about the BB! It was quick, responsive, didn't mess with the metadata or create duplicates, and it even let you create and edit playlists! Compared to XBM on WP8 (Portico), it was a million times better. In fact, it's probably still better than XBM 8.1 today. Certainly a lot faster (which is hilarious considering the gulf in hardware). But it did one thing, and one thing well.

I think XBM is a terrible media player because it's trying to do the 'full iTunes': media player, streaming service and music storefront in one. Arguably, nothing does this particularly well -  I just want a quick, reliable music player. If you want streaming services and a storefront, hey, XBM should spin them out into separate apps and then bring back the hub. That was a good idea they had.

I personally don't care for the 'stream first' model - I want it to just get the basics right. Like reading the files and the displaying those files and playing those files and maybe making playlists out of those files. I'd guess that users care most of all about their own music - that's the FILES - hence anything else is secondary. The files are our records, streaming is only the radio. Play the records.

This being the stock player, it should work properly out of the box. It's not incentivising me to find a different app, it's incentivising me to find a different phone. That this is being shipped with the L630/930 and frantically updated is a joke. Zune was pretty good: how did it get so busted in WP8? How did it get re-busted for WP8.1? Why is it still busted after six updates?

And the following things are still broken!

  • Slow as balls. Takes a good 20 seconds to populate the Artists list, plenty of lag in startup and even switching between panels in the Artist view. No gapless playback, obv. And this has gotten worse since WP8, amazingly. It's like they found a new way to break it.
    Genre view is still broken. Just gives a massive list of all the songs of a particular genre. Not artists, then albums, then songs - just all the songs at once! You can't say, 'which jazz artists do I have, and which albums by those artists?'. Just a big ol' list. Doesn't even say which albums the songs are from.
  • And there are still metadata issues, where it overrides the files' own data. It put Portishead's three albums in Rock/Indie, Alternative/Metal and Dance. Amazing.
  • It doesn't include goddamn track numbers and lengths. It doesn't scroll long titles. What the hell. The point of Metro/Modern design is to foreground the content, but that only works if you actually display the content on the actual screen.
  • So if you have Longer Song Title Than Average and Longer Song Title Than Average (Remix), the names get cut off and you can't tell them apart. There are no track numbers or even lengths to differentiate, because nobody on the XBM team has ever listened to music on a phone before.

 

XBM is really embarrassing. It makes it seem as though the phone itself doesn't work properly. If it can't display a list of files from local memory, how will it stream video, show me a map or play a game?

I agree completely, Xbox Music is a joke. It's worse than Zune on WP7 in many ways, which is unacceptable. And ppl need to get with the program - WP8.1 is out and shipping. This is not a beta!!

I want to take an anti tank mine to this stupid app!! Come on Microsoft swallow your pride and kill Xbox music, atleast for WP or give us the choice of a better free universal media player like MX player or bring in Windows Media Player.

Its totally ridiculous that live tile wasn't part of the new Xbox Music app from the start. This is a platform app from Microsoft themselves. A unique feature such as live tile should be a given with ANY app Microsoft releases for Windows phone. And the fact that after 6 updates, there's still no live tile support.. Ridiculous!

You have to keep in mind though that WP8.1 has JUST started shipping on devices out of developer preview, so WP8.1 is still a very new release. And WP8.1 isn't even offically available (outside of the DP) on most WP8 devices yet.

I'm glad it worked!

It would be helpful if Daniel, Sam or someone else from the staff make a post about this because you're not the only one having this issue.

Hard to say this without sounding like a jack-ass now but the Xbox Music app definitely is faster and more responsive!

We're getting there! :)

Why do we still not have live tiles for the music and video app yet? You'd think they would have this app sexy by now considering their bi-weekly updates. Maybe we'll get live tile at the end of July... I get excited everytime I download the update and see the small "live tile" under the icon. Well.. At least its faster

It looks faster now, but just time will say if it is indeed... However I was hoping for a UI makeover, but looking at the list of coming features I lost hope. ='(

I wonder of they have a QA team? I mean, they should feel bad....

Especially if your job is to make sues these releases are stable and properly QA'd... *sighs*

They had to fix 70 bugs in SIXTH update since launch? Wtf did they release back then? Even Android apps are better than this garbage.

Same here.  Is there a work-around or do we need to wait for a fix?  I tried copying the album art to the corresponding folder but that didn't change anything for me. 

I'm not downloading updates until a day after they come out. I'm not going to be a guinea pig again like with the calendar update!

They won't understand: they're French. And their Philosophy of Life is manifested in this very Music App: Laissez-faire! Comme ci, comme ca!
 

I could never stay away from the dev preview no matter the number of bad updates that get pushed out! Mainly since I have automatic updates off.

Is indeed faster than before. You'll notice. Also, fast resuming. Using a 520. Now I can wait with more peace for the next updates.

I can't understand how an important corporation as is Microsoft, has been in so many troubles with just one app that plays music. I don't know anything about coding an app, but, is that hard? (even for Microsoft)

No, Microsoft had an elegant, full featured, solution with Zune. They have the knowledge, features, and even the example code of Zune they could have learned from and improved. They seem proud that they started from scratch and are oblivious of the features of their past Zune and other music software.

This is my biggest issue too. I used to use Xbox Music all the time to find new artist and albums I love. I checked every tuesday. Now all I see is a small handful of popular albums. Searching by genre or categories does, essentially, nothing. They made their music service useless to me. I finally gave up and cancelled my account. Money wasted on something I never used anymore. It should not be that hard to browse music.

Two weeks ago? Feels like 5 months, my inner clock seems to be broken. ^^ But nevertheless, I like it that they're putting affords into the app. I'm looking forward to the UX stuff that should come to one of the next updates. ^^

Useless piece of junk. Won't play music on one drive. Sees it but tells me I have to buy it first. Pathetic as I already bought it.

It still loads the wrong album and background art. Takes too long to load.

I think MS got a few Android developers working on these stand alone apps because animation sucks plus the lagging.

I suggest you use "fortnightly" for future articles, to avoid ambiguity.  It will be totally clear to everyone then. :p

Same here! I keep hitting back (cause of random song playing) and then tapping the song I want... sometimes for even 3 times in a row.

I refuse to use this app until it lets me stream my own collection. I should be able to upload music to Onedrive, and stream it through Xbox music. Until then, Cloudmuzik is the app for my music

For some reason I am seeing lots of songs duplicated in the collection.. Does anybody have the same problem? I don't want to remove them one by one myself, there's just too many.

Yeah, that is my biggest complaint with XM at the moment. Don't want to "sync" my collection because of it. It only happens on downloaded and synced music for me and on both My Lumia and Ativ S.

Yeah, I saved some songs on my Lumia 925 (WP8.1), but it's also happening to some random songs in my cloud collection.

I know there trying and working but REALLY, I for some stupid reason I pay for an Xbox Music Pass, everytime I update I ask myself if it really updated I just open it and tried to play and crashed 2 x's already. I've already had to do a hard reset last week and restore all my music. Xbox Music wouldn't play nice with my collection.

I talked to customer care after 8.1 and they refunded the amount .. probably com back if they make the app least bit usable..

Links to show artist on lock screen is still broken. Need to turn it off and back on for it to work. Still a big pop sound when scrubbing.

It still keeps slapping the wrong album art on albums with a spurious connection to something in their collection (one song title matches). The Windows 8.1 version recognizes it correctly, so it's going out of its way to be extra stupid.

There seems to be a bug when searching. If you type in some characters and start to delete them, my top bar (battery, service levels, etc) goes nuts!!! LOL

Since I can access to the old music player via Music hub tile I don't use Xbox Music anymore, but this update makes it less ugly :)

I've know about this option for a while, but only tried it out about a week ago. I forgot how much better the old app was. Now I hate the current app even more.

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