Xbox Music (Old version)

Don’t like the new Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8.1? Here’s how to bring back the old one

It’s an open secret that the old Xbox Music hub is still actually buried in the Windows Phone 8.1 OS, with the new version overriding it. Users have been bringing it back via an NFC trick, which works but it’s far from convenient. Now, a developer has taken the extra step and released a free app that lets you pin a direct link to the old version on your Start screen.

The app is named Music Hub Tile, and when initially launched it will let you pin either the green Music Tile or a transparent one to your Start screen. The transparent one though will cost you 99 cents via an in-app purchase, whereas the green is free.

Once the newly pinned Tile is opened, the app redirects you to the old and familiar Xbox Music hub of 8.0, where everything works as expected. However, touching the dropdown player controls will send you off to the new app, mostly because 8.1 is coded for redirecting you to the new, separated app.

The Xbox Music app was just updated on Friday with numerous bug fixes and improvements, and updates are expected every two weeks to improve things frequently based off of your suggestions. In that sense, we’re not sure how useful using the old version of Xbox Music will be, given three or four more updates to the new one. Regardless, the choice is yours and at least for now, the green version is free, so there’s no loss.

Pick up Music Hub Tile here in the Store. Let us know in comments if you’re going back to the old, or sticking with the new one (and whether Friday’s update changed your mind)!

Need more tips and tricks for Windows Phone 8.1? Check our our centralized resource right here for more!

QR: Music Hub Tile


Reader comments

Don’t like the new Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8.1? Here’s how to bring back the old one



Isn't it difficult to create playlist in the old music app? That's what I hate about it. So, I go for the new music app.

The old app wouldn't sync your playlists like the new Music app does. If you create playlists on the web, you won't see them in the old Music app unless the new app has synced them. That was one welcome feature of the new app.

You need a music pass for that and if you dont have one then playlist syncing is irrelevant. Much prefer a working app than using a poor app with features I dont use.

The old one is HORIBLE for playlists. But the interface is AWESOME.

The new one is AWESOME for playlists. But the interface is HORIBLE.

All they had to do was fix the playlists issues in the old one, then I think everyone would be happy. But NOOOOooooo!!!!!! Some code monkey had to do their own thing and frak everything up.

My thoughts exactly!! Finally, no more lag when trying to scroll through my list of music. No more sitting at a resume screen for minutes if I switch back to the app to change a song. No more shitty Xbox Music experience!!

I do hope that someday the new app gets to that level, but even with the most recent version it is nowhere close, and it was seriously making me hate WP8.1 given that music is a major part of my phone usage. This app is definitely amazing news for me.

I second those sentiments. I wish they gave us the ability to uninstall the new Xbox Music App. It's a POS!

data toggle button ....... whatsapp update ..512 mb support for games like temple run 2 ,subway surfers ..... should i go on ? there is still a lot to bitch about ...........


One question which puzzles me tho: how the hell did they leave it in the OS? I mean, isn't it just pointless to leave a hidden app?

I would assume that it was left in the same way that the maps app was left in Lumia phones when it was replaced by Nokia/Here Maps

I would assume it's just making the OS bigger in size than it needs to be. But maybe they keept it in because they know the new app is horrible and they have a backup plan to revert to the old app someday.

File Handlers. the old app still likely handles media launched from other software, but passes it onto the new app interface upon launch. Either that or it's for backwards compatibility with 8.0 apps. Those are my guesses.

Yeah, it was probably so embedded in the code that it was just easier to hide it for now than extract every reference to it and risk instability. It's probably some intern's project for the year.

The OS is probably dependent on the app's existence, and renaming it "Music Backstop" was probably a quick hack.

Just wanted to note that this is not an exact copy of the old hub. It's very fast and good. But it is missing a lot of what the old music & video hub had.

It's missing a couple of things but still has that rock solid stability and swipe to change song, as well as next song preview. That's all I need!

And the best part is, the lock screen is showing the song artist's picture during music playback again!

I found that turning off and back on the show artist when playing music in setting, lock screen, makes it work in the new version.

I've also got that on my 520. This 'old' music app is, in fact, slightly different to the hub we used to have, but its alot better than the WP 8.1 music app so I'm hardly complaining...

How did you replace/add artist pictures? I have the same problem as you did with music not being in the Xbox store.

I'm going to guess he used mpatool like the most of us have. It works great with the old hub but does not seem to work with the new music hub for 8.1

I'm actually not that put off with the new Xbox music. I've never used it exclusively anyway, not with Nokia music and other awesome apps like 8track. I do love the Cortana integration.

Have you tried the old one?
I'm still getting loading each time I open the app even if I'm playing music. The new one is just crap.

Both the old app and the new app are complete garbage. I've been a subscriber for a long time now and I can honestly say, I hate Xbox Music because of this shitty app. I will still continue to use it because my love for music out weighs the cons. Hopefully one day we will have a good experience with it.

I don't understand how it is so difficult to make a good music app. Fuck, look at apps that people love, especially on ios or android, and put in everything that people need with a good UI.

You mean what they almost had with Zune and then they killed it? At the time, Zune was nearly on par with iTunes (and past it in a few ways) and they didn't do anything to catch up.

Agree with you but after the last update I cant create playlist, shouldn´t that update improved the app? not to messed up, I'm using Cool Music Player as a main music player in my Ativ S

Xbox music subscription allows specific songs and tracks to be added to collection and not just radio stations like Mix

Speed, mostly. Mix radio can be pretty sluggish switching between songs.

That said, I now use NMR simply to remove the playlist size limits.

so what do you need mix radio for, heh? and putting "what you want" on your phone needs a DRM free version of a song in the first place

Because Mix Radio gives me stuff I've not got? Introduces me to new sounds? Not sure what your other point is though. I've never had trouble putting music on.

So how do you know what you want to listen to in half an hour? Personally I don't have my day planned to he tiniest detail, and would hate not being able to chose freely from my music collection...

I've gone to MixRadio [never used before] because Xbox Music just sucked so much in 8.1; don't think I am going back to Xbox Music any time soon, Microsoft doomed another one of their services.


I'm thinking about canceling my subscription until they fix this issue. 

I get my music from all over so playback is not the only crap they have to fix. We need a dedicated destop client that manages everthing. The current Xbox sync client just sucks, Xbox Music app on windows phones can't even compare to the first gen zune 2006 player. That's how bad it is.

My zune 80

Do you have trouble playing local files with NMR with the 8.1 update? I even did a hard reset on my 1520 and I still get a black when I select my music and most times the app just crashes

I usually switched between both, but had been using NMR exclusively since 8.1 and the terrible music experience. Now I can go back to both!

This does not look like the old Music hub. The old one had a recent tab and thumbnails of albums upon launch.

Yeah something wrong with it.. No recently added or played either ..i was missing them in xbox music..

Yes this is a hack at best so the OS will try to push you to the new app whenever it can. I imagine that the old app will go from hidden to gone before retail release

Yes and this is the problem I have with all 3rd party music players. Only Mix Radio opens from the media controls. All other music players open XBOX Music, which disqualifies them for me, no matter how nice they are otherwise.

I totaly agree with you! Why cant 3th party developpers make this work when mixradio can? Mixradio is good, for streaming, but ways to slow for Music playing

I assume it has something to do with the special access that Nokia has to the OS. Their camera app is also the only one that can be set as the default camera.

"...and update it with new things"

THAT is the issue. It takes an OS level update to 'fix' or add things to the old version.

it's just a comment, neither does Daniel need you to tell Aashish13 he doesn't have to chill for him

It wouldn't be an ISSUE, if MS did updates on WP as they do updates on Surface and Windows; I really hope they start doing that on Lumia hardware now that they control the Lumia line. Just push out OS and Firmware updates on a monthly bases in on Surface.

Other WP OEMs can have their own schedule, since they need to make their own firmware.


"It wouldn't be an ISSUE, if MS did updates on WP as they do updates on Surface and Windows"

Microsoft would love to do more frequent updates, it's the carriers and OEMs that are the roadblock here, which is why you have 8.1 on your phone, the Preview was made to bypass those barriers.

They can't and won't do what you say because carriers won't let their phones on their networks if they did.

Bro I told u to chill and further didn't mentioned. Now I mentioning that lets c what the other update will bring for us. Sorry for the incomplete statement.

Hasnt been a problem for the Nexus series from google, people buy the phones and use them on the network of theiri choice. This is what Microsoft needs to emulate, a nexus-like program for those who want it rather than letting the carriers hold us all hostage.

The Verizon Galaxy Nexus comes to mind ... It got better, because the recent ones are not Carrier-Branded phones ... They are just unlocked GSM phones.

^^exactly this. Carriers can't block phones from their network, something called anti-trust [competition (EU)] law forbids that, so Microsoft is perfectly free to make Lumia phones that do not need to pass carrier scrutiny; if the carriers refuse to sell them Microsoft can just sell them and cut out the middleman and make the phones cheaper.



Actually, that's not true everywhere. Here in Sweden the carriers don't give a rats ass about any updates for windowsphone, it's still too small. They don't even lock them to their own networks. All sold are unlocked to be used on any carrier.

"They can't and won't do what you say because carriers won't let their phones on their networks if they did."

Actually carriers can't block phones, that would put them in legal trouble.

They could possibly refuse to sell all WP devices, but that could potentially put them at odds with antitrust statutes as it could potentially be seen as an abuse of a dominant position, especially if one of the big carriers tried to do it.



Gotta wonder what Microsoft are playing at with this mess. If they screw up app development on their own platform, they should outsource it to someone that can build it properly.

8.1 is a big update. We can expect that, and we can expect a big update for the music player. iOS receives Music player updates about once or twice every year. It keeps its speed and functionality.

Daniel, is there any reason that you know of that a separate app should be so slow? I'm confused over whether the WP team have really managed to make something that performs so terribly, or whether they are working at a massive disadvantage from the outset by not being "part of the OS"

What music can't you sync? Every option available on WP8.1 is cloud based and syncs via its appropriate cloud. Xbox Music, MixRadio, Pandora, Spotify, etc.

No its not, you can listen to individual songs but you cant listen to playlists, albums, songs by an artists, genres etc and you cant store them on your phone so you need a data connection... what your saying is not syncing, its just streaming single songs

Think it depends on the source. I have Xbox Music Pass and whatever i add on devices is synched across all. Which is sweet.

Not on the old Xbox Music app, this is why I've been using the new app since it first came out because adding songs in it from the store actually shows up in my other devices.

Useless to me, I like having a local collection, not binding my music to an account, and not paying a subscription.

What's stopping you from going back now instead of complaining here? Even if you have to pay a fee, the choice is still yours. Or did you just want us to know how upset you were?

You guys are never satisfied. You bitch and bitch about wanting updates so Microsoft separates everything while giving them the OS level option if integrating so they can update more frequently & its a problem

Maybe its a request for better quality of the updates so they will be more functional? But as this is Prev for Devs there is time for updates before public release. Hope the comments here help to achieve better function.

It's quality vs. quantity. We want updates for apps that aren't even up-to-date. Having one big update is better than having a million small and useless updates (See: Facebook). Included in a system update like 8.1, it would have been no issue at all.

It's because some of their changes weren't good! We aren't sheep like ios fanboys and just praise everything they do. MS screwed up with some of their choices. Let us have a voice.

Ditto, I have owned or do own every ATT Windows Phone (Samsung, HTC, Nokia) through the 1020 and love the 8.1 update.
It has some issues, and the new Xbox Music app is near useless for discovering and downloading music, but overall, MS seems to be going forward more than backwards.
Unlike Google who updates 4-6x a year and subsequently rewrites their code and more importantly breaks their own APIs, MS seems to be taking their time developing deep level API into the OS FIRST, so they and their developers can write an app once.

Sweet! I just wish the old player had the ability to add songs to your collection without downloading them. That's been 8.1 Music's saving grace for me.

Can somebody confirm if the artist background and album art still appear with the ones we attached using MPAtool?

yeah ..mpatool is bak in business . just updated my new songs ...... besides the llockscreen is showing artists properly now .... 

Yeah, that's working for me with this App, however the livetile doesn't work on the green tile at least.

The old 8.0 Music Hub was pretty bad when downloading XBM content, too. Frequently flaked out or crashed.

Do you have an XBM Pass? Because that's when the bugs arose. Meanwhile my Zune HD worked flawlessly.

I have an XBM pass that used to be a Zune pass and never had this issue. I just stopped adding music because the old app never synced back to the cloud to show up on other devices.

Nope. I had that problem just a minute ago. Uninstall and reinstall fixed it for me. Lumia 1020.

Microsoft never really needed to 'fix' and 'remove' the old music, photos and games hub. I didn't see anyone complain about those other than former wp7 users who loved the old music hub.

But if you had used the Music hub back in the days of WP7, you would've hated the current implementation too. It was flawless.

They needed to IMPROVE things, like adding playlist editing but instead they decided to go back to square one and release a buggy, slow, immature app. Now its all loading screens and sluggish performance, its a poor copy of the Zune client on the desktop as well, the entire xbox music team should be fired.

You guys just don't get it, keeping the hubs required OS level updates in order to fix or add features meaning you would hardly get any updates if at all. Moving them to actual apps allows MS to update them as often as they want.

We freaking get it mate. We just don't agree with you. Id rather a working app they update every 2 years than this POS. Apple get by just FINE having their music player baked in the OS (because they don't suck at it) so that excuse I call BS on mate. Can polish a turd but its still a turd.

I understand decoupling these apps from the OS makes it possible for quicker updates. But I really miss the old hub concept. They could've created separate apps with the exact same layout. These separate apps don't have the animated live tiles that many people liked. It showed artists and Xbox avatar peeking through the sides.

How often do you need to update a music player? How often? Just get things done right, polish it, and release it in a system update like 8.1 and you probably wouldn't even have to touch it in a few years, if ever.

This. I don't need to be sold on how "good" it is that the app has been separated so it gets faster updates. Its a freaking music app for a phone. It doesn't need updates every week, just get it right the first time. Or fire your current xbox music devs and get some competent ones. :P

No I do get it, but a well thought, well designed app doesn't need to be updated that often, particularly with something as basic as music, photos, and video playback and management. And Microsoft has now increased the speed at which they update the various platforms. WP8 has only been out since November 2012, and we already got 2 GDR's prior to 8.1 and now 8.1 (which is a major update). I'm not happy with how the People Hub now works, but if decoupling that from the base code allows for quicker updates to support new providers or services from exisiting providers then I'm ok with it. But I don't like how the people hub needs another ap to do even the most basic function. Why have it when I have to have 4 other aps to do what the previous one ap could do? It was great. And like I already said, the Photo Hub now makes it difficult to find a picture I took. I don't need it grouped by date a picture was taken. Just give me a scrollable panel. The game hub is still there, showing all my games installed, but adding my games into my installed ap list is just stupid. If I have a hub, why do I need an over crowded ap list? But more importantly, and specific to this conversation is that the Music Hub still does not support DNLA on my local network. Why should I waste bandwidth streaming from the cloud when I have my music stored on a DLNA NAS attached to my network?

Can't they make the new app part of the OS like the old one was so it's faster and doesn't have to reload your music collection every time you open the app but make it so it can be updated whenever they want like a standard app? It's their OS, i'm sure there is a way they can do that. Because whatever they change to the new app in the next updates, it'll be pretty much impossible to make it as fast as the old app was if they keep it as a standard app... It's their freakin' system, they should just modify it to make their own apps part of the system but updatable, without needing a full OS update every time...

The reason it's slow is because it's an 8.0 app and it's poorly made. If they made it an 8.1 app then it would be better. All they need to do is take the Windows 8 tablet app and port it to phone which will allow them to use nearly all the same code!

The Windows 8 version is indeed better, but it's still not as fast as the Windows Phone version was... I'm using it on a Surface Pro and I still see the artists images loading one by one, on the old Windows Phone version I NEVER saw any loading. I opened the app and every album cover was already there! I could scroll as fast as I wanted, everything was already there, there wasn't any loading! Now, my phone as a lot less power than my Surface Pro does, so whatever they do, as long as they keep it as a standard app, there will be loading time everytime you open the app. A music app is one of the basic components of a smartphone, people have gotten used to not have to wait for the music app to load or display their music collection, I don't think now is the time to go back to it being as slow as any other app.