Make me king of Xbox Music and here's what I'd do
Hold the pitchforks, I'm not talking about the Xbox Music app on Windows Phone. The headline above is about how to make the Xbox Music service better. I don't think I'm too naïve, but Microsoft will eventually make the Windows Phone 8.1 Music app exactly how you want. If there's a feature or two missing you can look to third-party devs to fill that gap with the Xbox Music APIs. Instead let's look at the core service itself and what Microsoft should do to make it compete with the Spotifys and Beats Music of the music streaming world.
1. Make it social
Xbox Music should be connected to your Xbox profile. Or a profile in general. I should be able to see when Daniel makes a new playlist for the gym that he's set as public. And if I want, follow/subscribe to that playlist. But don't stop just at friends. Let me see cool playlists from celebrities and musicians. This is a feature you'll find in streaming services like Beats Music and Spotify.
2. Curated playlists from music experts
Songza is a favorite around the Windows Phone Central crew. While you can select an artist on Xbox Music and start a radio station built around them, it's not the same as the curated playlists you'll find with Songza (and Beats Music). It's hard to explain, but you do notice a difference between the music selection in the curated playlists from experts on Songza vs. those generated by a music algorithm on Xbox Music or Pandora. MixRadio has curated playlists and I'd love to see that team of music experts help Xbox Music out.
3. MY music in the cloud
Google Play Music has a killer feature a lot of you would love on Xbox Music. While Xbox Music does a good job of syncing your playlists in the cloud, it only works when music you're syncing can be matched within the Xbox Music Catalog. Which isn't great when you want to sync some sets you've legally downloaded from something like SoundCloud. I want to sync all my music across all my devices, whether or not it's available in the Xbox Music Catalog. Thankfully an Xbox Music locker service is allegedly on the roadmap. Still, I wanted it yesterday.
4. Better availability around the globe
Right now Xbox Music is available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Know what's missing? India, Russia and other countries with a high number of Windows Phone users.
We reached out to Alan Mendelevich (@ailon) of AdDuplex and he helped get some quick country stats to give us a rough estimate of how Windows Phone is doing around the globe. Quick disclaimer: Hero apps can affect a country's stats, this dataset was based on 11 global apps and games that served AdDuplex ads yesterday. Around 200,000 users saw them that day. This isn't 110 percent accurate, but a rough estimate of the popularity of Windows Phone around the world. As you can see, we'd love to see countries like India, Russia Thailand and others
5. User uploaded music
SoundCloud is a really great online audio distribution platform. It allows users to upload, record, promote and share any of their originally-created sounds. This is different from a music locker service. You don't upload the new Deadmau5 album to SoundCloud, instead upload your own unique remix of a song from that album. Google has been rumored to buy SoundCloud lately, so it would be killer if Xbox Music had a similar feature.
The ability to upload original music and sounds would play into the improved social aspects of Xbox Music. It would be great to follow an artist like Deadmau5 on Xbox Music and get notified when official album or songs are released through his label. It would be doubly awesome to be able to see mixes he puts up available as well.
Those are just some of my ideas on how Xbox Music could be made a whole lot better. Of course those are my ideas and my music priorities are probably a little different from yours. So now I'm curious as to what you'd like to see improved or added feature wise to the core of Xbox Music. Again, not the app, but the Xbox Music service as whole.
Sound off with your suggestions! But don't forget to check out the Xbox Music UserVoice page to 'officially' voice your feedback with Microsoft.