Windows Phone 8.1 Xbox Music

Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8.1 receiving first update next week; here are the changes

We've previously looked at how bad Xbox Music is on Windows Phone 8.1 (in the Preview for Developers, anyway), but the experience has never been flawless on Windows Phone. Microsoft evidently knows this as the company is looking to roll out an update next week (April 22nd), which will kick off bi-weekly releases for the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview client.

This is superb news for Xbox Music Pass holders who wish to have a decent experience on the phone.

Joe Belfiore even tweeted that a new app will be released for those who are using the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview, but it's good to see an actual change log be present over on Microsoft Answers. If you're interested to know what's on the way, here's what Microsoft is looking to include in the April 22nd update:

  • Numerous stability fixes, including many of the reported black screens
  • Cortana integration is complete and now supports playing playlists by name
  • UI polish to improve animations and transitions between UI views
  • Improved messaging for encountered errors, such as unplayable content in collections
  • Background initial sync of local and cloud content

Xbox Music

That's all well and dandy, but what about some of the things you're all desperately asking from the team? As noted above, there will be bi-weekly releases after the first update has rolled out, which are set to include the following:

  • Continued focus on Stability and Performance
  • Live Tile integration
  • Quickplay improvements, including “recent” lists
  • Kids Corner Support
  • UX improvements (Search result grouping, creating new Radio Stations, improved Network status messages, Blue UI language alignment, now playing improvements and more)

Have some suggestions for the Xbox Music app on Windows Phone? Sound them off over on the User Voice website.

Source: Microsoft Answer; Thanks, Al_2, for the tip!



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Micah Dawson says:

I just moved over to an app called listen but I may come back to Xbox music now :)

dhruv07 says:

Sooo much good news cmin up this april for my windowsphone ...!!!


kingkoopa09 says:

I prefer hey DJ plays local and Zune pass and driving mode as well

Pappa Ed says:

+1 Hey DJ great while driving. Sounds like Xbox/Cortana might have it covered though. Gonna wait and see.

Marco Gomes1 says:

Hey DJ is great. I just use the windows button to tell it what I want to listen to and there it goes.

aschettler says:

Hey DJ is great! I used to use it all the time when I was driving. It doesn't work in 8.1, but Cortana picks up the slack.

kenzibit says:

Well this is good news. They should please say something about the game hubs too. As a gamer, that forms part of my life .

Toxid_Fox says:

I am still waiting for the Spotify update that they said were comming in spring... might switch to Xbox Music again if the app gets a UI revamp.

pvcleave says:

Thanks Micah, I just got listen, 

yeah, after trying-out nearly every related app i landed on listen as well. its so quick to launch compared to everything else (not sure how it does it), and has been perfectly stable for me thusfar.

it also looks quite nice, though the ui takes a bit of getting used to. depending on how updates come (its noted as getting a big update for increased wp8.1 support this summer), i may stick to it as my daily-driver over whatever xbox music evolves into.

on a related note, apparently the old hub is still around in wp8.1, just hidden: ..would love to see a dev find a way to launch it from a tile as i really liked it.

wpgeek820 says:

I've had listen for many months now and it has been my default app til date..

How can you create playslists in Listen?

Thank god for bi weekly stuff. Anyway, it'll take them ages to sort out the mess, and another few months to bring it to Zune ear magnificence.

Sadly, the Xbox Music app has been a pretty poor experience for those of us who had extensive music collections & playlists BEFORE Xbox Music service arrived.  Playlists are often missing or mangled or missing songs.  Playlists often show up twice... and are empty.

Honestly, it seems like a music app would be one of the the easiest apps to make awesome.  I mean, Apple's been doing it for about 15 years... and Microsoft has had WMP for ages.  It's puzzling that Microsoft can't

figure it out.

John20212 says:

In Windows 8.1 they even screwed up WMP since it cannot display Album Art if your music is on an SD card.


John20212 says:

I moved to Nokia MixRadio; I am sick of Xbox music not even being able to display correct album and artist art; until that it fixed MS can keep their Xbox Music cr-app.


nokia mix radio is awesome , but the problem with it , is the music  quality s not the best one can get!
64 kbps or some are even as down as 32kbps

Jakez98 says:

Nokia MixRadio can be used for playing local songs too. ;)

Westoncreg says:

I hope they bring in log in support since I can't get my moms device to use my account in music on 8.1 like I could in 8 :/

sirgrant618 says:

Doubtful, as the Xbox Music app on Windows 8.1 does not allow you to do this.

Broomcorn says:

Yeah they seriously need this, I should be able to log into my account on other devices! Or maybe I use two Microsoft accounts.

Westoncreg says:

Yup and I really like Xbox music so I really don't want to switch to beats music or something like that

Matt Sharp says:

As nice as that was on 8, the Xbox music site make it very clear that music pass is not intended to be shared.

Westoncreg says:

Will it wouldn't go totally against what Microsoft is doing especially with how their doing the family Xbox live gold deal with one gold account so maybe they will idk though

nanoware says:

Nice. Because atm its a big ol steaming pile of shit.

montel22 says:

Amen, we don't have History, Recent or swipe left or right to change tracks.

cuwe says:

Or full track list .

there's a tiny list button next to bottom right of the song image

adrian1338 says:

There has always been a full track list in xbox music

neonspark says:

oh no, you made a well deserved negative comment about a MSFT product, prepared to be called an android fanboy

jubbing says:

its not streaming anything right now tbh

I can't even find new music that comes out. The "Featured" section isn't good enough.

Clavitox says:

I know. How do you discover new music with this new app

lewminous says:

This is my biggest gripe too! I can't find music in the new Store update either so we're basically screwed when it comes to new releases...

Studio384 says:

Sh*t up Android fanboy.



Just to note: that's not serious ment, but neonspark litterly asked for it. :p Through I agree, the current state of the Xbox Music app in Windows Phone 8.1 is not verry well.

dgr_874 says:

Song ratings and dynamic playlists!!!!!

trmnrs says:

THISS. I lived for dynamic playlists! I freaky hope they bring this back.

WillBrown says:

Yup. Dynamic playlists was my most used feature. I haven't found anything that replicates the experience.f

I've switched over to Beats Music until Xbox Music comes up to standard.

Micah Dawson says:

What are dynamic playlist?

TechsUK says:

Eg. A 'like' playlist is built from the ones you have liked, or ' new ' is ones you've downloaded in the last month, etc.

Rubios says:

A playlist of conditions instead of specific tracks.

"Played less than X times" for example.

bbennett40 says:

Yes, dynamic lists would be fantastic

TechsUK says:

Cancelled my subscription. Lets see if it's worth coming back in the next few weeks.

Is the music app tight into the OS or is it a separate app that does not need an OS update to improve it?

trmnrs says:

Separate app. This is how they're able to push out frequent updates vs waiting for a whole OS update.

radde says:

That! It is the overall goal of MS to unlink the platform own apps from OS integration to enable faster updates, but also enable developers to tap into system features to expand them. The future is looking real bright. ⌒.⌒

Marco Gomes1 says:

The future might be looking bright but the present not so much. If I knew I'd lose the games, music and photos hub in exchange for the no Portuguese swipe keyboard, notification centre (which is very very very plain) and new start screen...

You don't have portuguese swipe keyboard?

iyae says:

Well no, its not. Have you used this app? Takes 10 minutes to load my artist list and 5 minutes to DELETE an album. Its a joke. And its been like that for months. Doesn't look bright to me. :/

Rubios says:

2007 is the future now.

Mark Richey says:

The future ain't what it used to be.

Its its own app now

Dare2Blink says:

Separate and easy to upgrade

worldspy99 says:

Kinda both, everyone's doing it these days including the pioneer Google. They just released a separate Camera App update for Android and iOS yesterday. I do believe this is the right approach.

Rem97 says:

The first update is a day before my birthday, nice early present MS. :D

MarkTurbo says:

22nd April IS my birthday! The presents for me! :-)

Awesome. Right now Cortana doesn't even recognize that I have any music. I pay for Xbox music, and it is all there when I launch the music app. This is only slight, but any more additions to make everything more user friendly is fine by me.

halfpast5 says:

My Cortana recognises all my songs, in fact, I use her to play my music as it's faster than opening the bloody music app, find my album / artist and play.


"Resuming..." grinds my nerves!

Judas20 says:

I feel your pain buddy. It's too damn slow

She did not recognize the majority of my music. I tried probably 10 artists and only got a couple to work.

Well, I live in India, I don't have Cortana, and do not want to change my region to get it, I rather use Nokia MixRadio to play my music directory. Its way better than the current Xbox Music (Actually its just written Music here, no Xbox Music support in India)

Can the live tile do what the old integrated app did? Scroll the artist name and picture. Also its so hard to use the music marketplace...

Read the changelog, that is one of the features coming.

Oh its going to come after this update. Ok cool. Had to double check.

In Limbo says:

So I didn't quite feel like the article was specific enough. Will the live tile actually be "active" once again even when no music is playing? (Like the Zune Tile in WP7?) It was a beauty seeing the last played artist.

glassadam says:

It used to scroll artist pics even when no music was playing back on wp7. Would love to have that again, it was a cool tile.

Remote playback control

Please, for the love of God, get GAPLESS PLAYBACK

link68759 says:

That seems like a really niche feature, and a minor one even to that niche crowd...

luismfarelo says:

Evertone seems to want this, me included, it is not niche

link68759 says:


Help me understand; when playing full albums not shuffled, one in every 30 artists might have a couple songs that do this.

A) More features are always welcome but how important is it really?
B) Who listens to music, by full albums, without shuffle anymore?

doorpeep says:

A lot of people still care about listening to full albums still, fwiw...

Clavitox says:

I listen to full albums

In Limbo says:

I died a little on the inside after reading that. Full albums are a complete work silly ;)

CoryZ40 says:

Take that back.

byobg says:

It IS a really niche feature, that only a few smartphone platforms support.  As far as I know, you can only get gapless music playback on Apple, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones - none of the others have implemented it.

Forc3 says:

THIS FFS! This Feature was requested on their Uservoice Page back in June, still nothing. Somehow I think the only purpose of this atrocious App, is to get as many xbox Music Passes as possible into consumers hands. Music experience on WP 8  is sadly a bad joke.

CoryZ40 says:

And the part that kills me is that if they would have just left the app alone and stuck with the player in WP7, they'd have a way better product.

byobg says:

The player in WP7 didn't support gapless.  (I totally agree that it was better than any of the subsequent "upgrades" to it, though.)

KingPanda13 says:

Nice good to see updates coming

Carkid367 says:

GAPLESS!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!

Dk92 says:

Yeah, that's long overdue..

Novron says:

Beyoncé doesn't appear to like it.

herbertsnow says:

Whats the point. Such a nitpick feature.

Rubios says:

Wut... gapless playback is a basic feature for an application that was supossedly designed to listen to music.

pankaj981 says:

We need scrubbing enabled for music

Forc3 says:

Funny thing is xbox music on Android and iOS had this feature from the very beginning. I would really like to know why they did not include this feature in the WP app. This is pretty basic and common sense.

Clavitox says:

Don't you get the whole point of this app? Its to update it more frequently

daredevildan says:

Started playing with the music app again and at least one annoying thing has been fixed. I can search for a song using Cortana and then add that ONE song to an EXISTING playlist. Used to be you had to add the entire album to a new playlist.

katlo says:

I liked the old one where it was shown which songs are next and we could change a song by flipping.

jacob103 says:

Why would you cancel your subscription that cost money... You must be rich

TechsUK says:

It plays until the end of the period. Yeah, I'd be flash if i could afford that. When the battery's flat I just buy a new phone, doesn't everyone do that? ;-)

Novron says:

Believe you me, it sucks to get a new phone out of the box with half a charge or less. Have to go to Verizon sometimes twice a day to get new phones.

Pressing the Play button from the Bluetooth headset no longer plays music automatically. Need to launch Music app unlike previously.

kufusoto says:

You must have a messed up bluetooth headset then becuase mine works fine with all my headset buttons


Not really. I am referring to when after connecting the headset, pressing Play will start the music where it previously left off or start the shuffled playlist of all songs without launching the app. All buttons are fine.

KorJax says:

I get the same thing. I used to have my bluetooth able to automatically play as soon as I turned it on and hit play on my bluetooth device


This doesn't work anymore, I have to hit play on my WP THEN and only then I can I control my phone from my BT player. Its very very annoying.

CJ Thunder says:

Ditto ditto ditto... Thus is soooo a must.

jbrandonf says:

MS has been very two steps forward one step back with the development of WP.

That's good news. I guess it technically isn't a bug, but I really hope the playlists don't stay limited to 100 songs. =/

Nakazul says:

With 8.1 im happy if the Music at least showed up. Can't play any purchased music currently.

link68759 says:

The hearts were useless- they literally did nothing. Unless you frequently forget that you like a song WHILE IT'S PLAYING.

Um..the hearts were not useless. You would use it to mark songs as favorites and then you could ask the app to play all your favorites. It was essentially a super easy way to create a playlist.

link68759 says:

That was in WP7. They did nothing in WP8

I never had a wp7 device, and I distinctly remember being able to do that.

link68759 says:

Sorry, you're crazy or telepathic.

Weird.  I coulda sworn I used those hearts.  Maybe I am crazy.  Or telepathic.

herbertsnow says:

Yep, the heart icon did nothing. I was a left over from WP7 that MS forgot to remove.

damo579 says:

Very nice I can't wait to get these updates

theBrknSystm says:

Looking forward to any updates to this. Likely my second most used app after messaging.

AuraTigital says:

I want the live tile back from WP 7. Where it animates even when not playing music. Now it's boring and always static.

morpheus1982 says:

I don't remember it doing that. Animating while a song is playing, yes.

Typhoon87 says:

It did. If you paused a song the artist picture would continue to animate on the live tile.

theefman says:

Need the option to work completely offline do it doesn't screw up your album art and artist data.

Rubios says:

It really needs a "I give 0 fucks about your Xbox Music, turn everything off" switch.

Aashish13 says:

Was awaiting for this article. I think they should provide this update with another update to the os again. As they did at the time of gdr3. They had provided 2 updates 2 dev preview at the time of gdr3

neonspark says:

As MSFT struggles in mobile, I find it ironic the best support for some of their services is to not use their wonder they are where they are at.

rodneyej says:

Much needed!!!... MS should give us the option to choose high quality downloads❕❕❕

avigyan says:

Does bi-weekly mean twice a week or once in two weeks?

avigyan says:

Okay dunno why but the dictionaries say it can be both.

morpheus1982 says:

Doesn't bi-annually mean twice a year?

I just agreed to make car payments bi-weekly. I hope that means every two weeks.

herbertsnow says:

It means it goes both ways.

ciscog33k says:

They need cortana on xbox one asap! Ability to play a playlist by voice control would be awesome on that system.

david90531 says:

This is much needed. Can't wait! Good job MS, listen to your customers

I enjoyed the old feature where you could swipe left or right on the now playing screen to move to the next song. I'd like that back cause its easier to do that when ur in the car driving than it is to find and press a button

Trying to use the app while driving is a nightmare

That feature actually annoyed me. It was counter intuitive for me. So many times I would want to go back to the artist list or some other part of the app while continuing to listen and instead it would change the song. Aaaargh!!

Daakkon says:

This app just needs to be re-done. Why they strip features is beyond me. Also where the eff is gapless playback!!???

Odog4ever says:

They didn't strip features! We have a freaking preview build of Windows 8.1 and not the final version.

That means some apps/features are being rebuilt or built for the first time. Maybe MS shouldn't have made it so easy for the average joe to get if they can't understand simple things like that...

herbertsnow says:

It's a barebones beta. If you didn't want to use beta apps you shouldn't have update to 8.1

byobg says:

Let's both follow up to this post when 8.1 ships, and we can see what features are or aren't "stripped out," OK?  Setting my Cortana reminder now... :-)

awneze says:

Media control buttons??? Those only show for a split second on the lock screen, why

CitrusMocha says:

I haven't found a way to view new releases yet...thats a big part of Tuesdays for me!

Same here! I liked checking all the music that came out on Tuesdays too.

Yea same here, I have to browse on my laptop every Tuesday since there is no new release section on my phone.

How about returning my hub functionality? I had one wide live tile for music, this one, and I could launch music from my collection, Pandora, Nokia music, cloudmuzik, and even metrotube, all from my Xbox music app. Now the hub functionality is nearly gone from windows phone (except games and people), and its a big step back for the platform.

I agree, the hubs were the biggest selling point for the platform; now that it's on the way out, it's essentially just another mobile OS, like iOS or Android, but with a different UI or launcher.

SmoothDog says:

I think the main reason for breaking things out as separate apps was to allow for quicker and easier updates. For example, the update that's coming mentioned in the article. Whereas previously we had to wait for system updates. I was perplexed at first when I updated to 8.1 and my podcasts weren't in the music app. But simply downloaded the podcasts app. Makes WP more agile and responsive ultimately.

mehul92mehta says:

New track added list missing

Dadstar0410 says:

Will this update allow Cortana to stream my music that is in the cloud? This would be infinitely more awesome if it could, since I only stream my music.

Corvodin says:

How about a freaking slider for going through the song? 

Still no real track scrubbing? Or auto paylists? Man do I miss Zune...

herbertsnow says:

The Zune doesn't miss you, it's over you and has moved on.

Rubios says:

Yes, now you have to buy an iPhone if you want a decent music experience.

scottsanett says:

This is great news.

Duduosf says:

I like what I see! Nice one, Redmond!

Trying to use this app while driving is hard. I miss the old UI left and right sliders.

EzraWard says:

Ditto, I liked being able to "safely" swipe the screen to change the song. It's annoying that I now can't.

Duduosf says:

One of the things I miss they most from iTunes is to be able to have lyrics for the music. I wonder if they ever plan on adding that.

Wael Hasno says:

I really need a good reason to pick Xbox over Spotify.. Xbox doesn't have Spotify's custom playlists, right? Like soundtracks, mixes, etc..

Judas20 says:

The experience used to be flawless back when we had Zune on WP 7

penetronn says:

+1. It was perfect. Custom artwork support, metadata editing, etc. Those were the days.

elangab says:

The rapid updates are just for the music app, or for all of the core 8.1 applications ?

KFBradley says:

Bring back new releases. Useless until then.

dudedud says:

Quest about Xbox music on windows 8.1, can you still swipe to switch songs or did they remove it?

louisoneal says:

People use Xbox music?

Dk92 says:

Check out gomusic in the store.

So.... Another month until this train wreck is fixed completely... Yay.

juskteez says:

Hope it will be better, or just give back the old music player :3

Pawlee says:

Glad to hear this is being fixed, the loading is my main problem… I'm not bothered about the tile because I use it as the smallest tile size. But the constant file loading every time you opened it up bothered me.

Personally I'm wishing they fixed the loading with Nokia Mix radio when loading your library, as ever since xbox music has been rubbish I've started using that to play my library's music and it's really really good - I hadn't used it in a while and the recent updates have made it really neat.

TechsUK says:

Couldn't believe that I hold the call button on my hands free headset and I can ask to play music so cool.

Caikems says:

It's a developer should expect these kinds of bugs. If you can't deal with them, wait for the official 8.1 release.

These releases ARE NOT meant for every day users.

Forc3 says:

come on stop this nonsense. This App should have already been ready. Since its release to the WP store(4 Months ago!) the Xbox Team did nothing to improve it, the opposite happened, it got worse/unuseable. What were they doing all the time?

herbertsnow says:

Maybe if you stood over them with your fly open they would work faster.

thettk says:

I miss being able to look new releases. All they have is featured albums which doesn't necessarily include new releases. Used to be able to look at new releases by genre as well and that is gone

sban85 says:

please tell me I wont need a music pass to listen to my offline collection...

Deamion says:

It would be great, but I doubt MS would remove this limitation. It's the only reason I would consider paying for Music Pass.

RHauschild says:

As a ex Android user, I would like to integrate with Google Play.

link68759 says:

Then get an app from the store or get Android again

RHauschild says:

Do you know of any other than the cloudmusik ?

Reebs Reebs says:

You can vote for a feature that allows xbox music to do what Google Music does. I submitted a feature request to the MS User Voice. Vote for it if you like it.

weetigo says:

"Background initial sync of local and cloud content"

YAY.  Worst part of all the xbox music apps (WP/iOS/Android).  Syncing on load was/is a waste of time.

Bacchus1976 says:

Nothing in that list would have been on my top 10 list of fixes needed. Xbox music, still full of fail.

Neil Hinkle says:

I wish there was a way to just get the original Zune HD interface on Windows Phone. It's still far superior to anything I've seen in a portable device since it launched.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

kamikaze80 says:

Amen to that. I still use Zune desktop as my Win 8.1 client as well.

yusufdawasaz says:

Is there any on saving the battery????