Microsoft opens Xbox Music to all developers with full access to catalog, streaming and more

The Xbox Music team made a big announcement today, releasing new APIs designed to let third-party developers build apps around Microsoft's music service. Microsoft previously piloted such a program back in December, but today's announcement opens it for the rest of the world without needing to apply.

The announcement post gives even more details of the new API, including complete information on how to implement many new features. Developers have full access to Xbox Music's 38 million track catalog available in 23 countries. Furthermore, there is an affiliate program whereby developers can earn a 5 percent share on purchases and a massive 10 percent on all music pass payments for the lifetime of the subscription.

The new API will give open access to the following features:

  • 38 million songs
  • Artist and album images
  • Search the catalog for artists, albums and tracks
  • Full access to 30 second MP3 previews for entire catalog
  • Access to full track streaming for Xbox Music Pass subscribers
  • Single sign-in integration with Microsoft Account or access key via Azure Data Market
  • User authenticated features of Xbox Music: Read the subscriber's music library and playlists, add new music content or create new playlists (Pilot program only)

Microsoft's opening of the Xbox Music API is a significant step for the company to combat Amazon, Google and Apple, whose music stores are much more accessible. In order to read a subscriber's music library or to add new content, developers still need to apply to the Pilot Program. All other features of the API though are now open.

Assuming developers begin to implement Xbox Music in apps for Windows Phone, Windows and competing platforms it could make Xbox Music a more powerful service. Clearly Microsoft is betting a lot on Xbox Music. Hopefully, we'll see developers adopt this API and release more robust music apps for users.

Source: Xbox Music for Developers; Thanks, MA7mgte#WP, for the tip!


Reader comments

Microsoft opens Xbox Music to all developers with full access to catalog, streaming and more



Great. Finally some good news for the day ! :)

Looks like MS devs got frustrated with so much of negative feedback that they finally decided to take this step and open it up to other developers. :P

Seems that way. For 2 years now it just seems they can't be bothered with the music app. Now they wont have to. Such a shame.

Omg the sly buggers. This just may have saved the day. Now someone develop an epic app and I got 10 hot ones here for them

This is EXCELLENT news!  This means some talented developer can make a Zune-like music player for WP8.1, Windows 8.1 (and even a desktop sync client!).   But, I almost feel like this is them giving up on their own app.  Which I hope is not the case.

With ads because developers have to support themselves too...

But with a pay to remove ads like all of his other apps.

Only problem is ads dont for for music apps unless they require you to interact with it to get rid of the ad witch is inconvenient for most people

I think he's one of those foil-hat wearing people that think anything with the number 6 in it is somehow evil. 666 AMGZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!

Seriously. This is great news for Xbox Music (which I'm a subscriber of).


I guarantee Rudy Huyn could make an Xbox Music app 10x better in 1/10th the time. Now we just need to integrate either Google Music or have MS finally release this "OneDrive Music Locker" thing that there were whispers of... Lets make it happen!

Yea OneDrive Music would be sick. Google Music is a great service. Great way to have an entire collection in the cloud. But I wondered if it's because they don't to combat sales of Xbox Music.

I sure hope that's not their reasoning as it has no basis in my book. It's music people already own. Why the hell would I get Xbox Music just to listen to music I already own? I have Xbox Music for music that I don't already own. I want to be able to listen to music I already own where ever I am like you can with Google Music. Google Music is the perfect solution for me but alas I'm a dumb sheepish MS follower... Google Music - 20,000 songs that you own, hosted in the cloud and you can pay the same $9.99 monthly fee as Xbox Music and get access to Google Play's music collection. It's exactly what Xbox Music needs to be.

Does that mean that they have given up on there native music app?! Or they have got less interest in it now?!

Actually there are plenty and more talented developers out there...
Apps like 6tag are buggy and slow (still better than official Instagram).
And lately he's done few or nothing.
I still love his work but even other developers deserve his fame

I agree 100% there are shit loads of talented devs who are better than Rudy, not saying Rudy is bad or anything but he is soooo overrated. Respect other devs too..

I'd rather see myTubes developer make an app. Rudy keeps drifting further away from Windows Phone's design-language. Especially with 6cloud.

When I read the push notification on my phone I thought Microsoft opened up Xbox music for all countries, and got excited. But then, I read this. :'(

I might be the only one who is satisfied with xbm. It's not the best player ever, and does have it's shortcomings, but its not the worst one also. It works for me and I plan on sticking to it in the future.

I've been subscribed since it was Zune Pass. The apps are a bit of a letdown in comparison to how the Zune software worked. However the app on my Surface 2 works great now and has pretty much since I got it around release; the WP has gotten progressively better and has never never unuseable for me; and I use it on my Xbox and it all syncs up pretty good. I'm almost completely satisfied with it.

Yeah. I love waiting up to 3 minutes for my "artists" list to load completely. (I have a huge cloud collection). Its a joke.

Try having your huge download collection break and need to be downloaded again. Best part was I did it while I was driving so torched a months worth of data in 10 minutes.

Then we can expect better integration between Xbox Music and MixRadio now. Maybe MixRadio could support DRM also!

MixRadio probably could have done it earlier if they wanted via the pilot program; but yeah, hopefully that'll still happen

We shouldn't trouble him everytime. He works hard for us just because companies don't want to make apps for us coz they are bribbed and lazy.

Genuinely interested, why wouldn't you want Rudy to make an Xbox Music app?

Is it because you don't want a new app? If so, why? 

Or because you'd want someone else to build it? And if so, who? :)

Doesn't matter who. Just tired of some respectable music players opening with the disclaimer that "unfortunately we can't play Xbox DMR tunes." I would imagine there will be a slew of apps that already exist getting the treatment as we speak.

It's like they are giving up their own app. Lets hope others can give it a more visual and stunning look. And faster!!!

I don't see it that way at all. Think of how apps like Shazam work that let you look up songs on Xbox Music to buy. That is now open to all developers.

It's not just for music players, but any type of app that is music orientated. Make a fan app for your favorite band? Tie into Xbox Music., etc.

Agree, for example Shazam is still currently sending allot of traffic/links outside the Microsoft ecosystem, it event forwards links to iTunes! On a RT or Windows Phone that is no good anyway, the further access should stop the likes of Shazam devs moaning and do some proper work as they did for iOS.

Yeah... But that part of the API already existed. That was the Xbox music API until today actually. With it you could look up information about the artist/album /song playing. In all sincerity, the news today is the ability to play back songs from the Xbox music library provided you have a subscription. I too think it's the devs giving up a little their own app.

I don't think they're giving up, but I assume that, as ever, with whatever HUGE CHANGES are happening to Windows (again!) next year some of the larger updates they were planning (such as the new Start menu and windowed modern apps in Windows 8.1, and Office Gemini) are being pushed back so their time and effort can be put into building them using whatever new stuff they have going on with Threshold.

Or I hope that's the reason, anyway, if what we have right now really is the best this team can do I would really dispair!

Opening it up to third parties gives them huge leeway to just continue to make the official app better in tiny increments, as they have been doing, while devoting their resources to what comes next (like what they did with the Windows Phone 8 GDRs) and allowing all the amazing community devs to build some really exciting and unique experiences.

Such as a wholesale ripping off of the ZuneHD experience, for example! PLEASE! ;)

It's not good, I mean both iOS and Google already have first class music experiences (and Android L? Jeez the music in that looks incredible!) and MS needs to do whatever they can to build that first class experience for its users asap.

At least the Windows 8.1 app is pretty good now, as is the web app.

As an aside, using this API could devs build desktop apps too?

I'm imagining an Xbox Music desktop app that runs on both Windows 7 and 8+ that will be able to connect with a modern app on a WP8 device to wirelessly sync music rather than only the cloud...

No please, but they should enable some kind of way to enable IMs to tie into the threads in messages, like you could do with FB and WLM before.

Thanks!  I could never figure out the right Google query to use to try and figure out what happened to that "feature".  

Daniel.. Will developers be able to make live tiles with graphics, like the old XBM tile?.. I know it's unrelated, but why don't developers have access to this?
It would be really helpful for users if we could get informative muzic tiles..

Just imagine if developers could make tiles like the WPC tile,, showing the current song, and upcoming songs in a short list... That's what we need❕❕

I like what you're thinking. A beautiful large tile showing your fav bands even when you're not playing anything (just like wp7), but then taken to the next level by showing useful info when you are listening to music! :D

Yes❕ Seriously? This is where WP could use a XL tile option like in W8.. I would seriously use it just for my music tile..

Such a missed opportunity. Allowing Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, and others to link directly to a contact and the messaging app would have been incredible.

Finally! Now there can be a way better music app than Xbox Music. Specifically the store part sucks hugely compared to the old one. And I miss the music store integrated in the app store too... But devs, let the XBM app developing begin! Might try it out myself :D

Sounds like good news for all those music apps ya'll been mentioning. Being able to access my Xbox Music subscription though them would actually make me try them out.

The last music update this morning totally destroyed my ability to play music. The phone heats up and eats the battery.

That's not normal.. My music experience is better than ever with the last update..... Your update got botched... It's ok, but I'm sorry you're gonna have to hard reset, unless you can find a way to revert back to a previous update.

I'd like to see:
* MixRadio implement these capabilities.
* The Zune team to take this opportunity to do an after work project and bring back their old glory!
* The indie devs do what they do and maybe we'll have as many XBox Music apps as we have great weather apps! :)

Yeah. The Zune team really should get back into the glory. They had an amazing thing going before MS decided to kill it off. Good ol' days, it was.

When I got my first WP7 .. IT was so great to zinc my Zune HD and my phone using the Zune app .. Great UI .. So easy to use!

Praise the gods.  Now can we get rid of the unholy piece of crap that has become satans child -  "Xbox Music" -  from Microsoft?  Developers take note.....you have the opportunity to make a lot of cash here.  I will happily pay $4.99 or more for an outstanding app that does everything WELL!  Please can I have it by 5pm Eastern Time?

I'll pay that too...but only if they can build a quality video player like MX that allows all video codec to be used..

Opportunity to make a lot of cash from the minority who are willing to pay.

I'd be happy to pay if it's proven to be a great app but others might not.

Better to make the app free with ads and allow in-app purchases to get rid of them and add extra features.

I mean, devs still make money from ads and there's potential they could earn more over the app lifetime via ads than they would from a one-off fee...

Great Idea. BTW are you a Devoloper cause am looking for someone to help me with my new upcoming app. I guess you can understand why i asked YOU :)

Maybe at last we will be able to have an app like the old xbox music app *fingers crossed*

Aren't we (the ones using Preview for Developers) also kinda developers? Can we access all those 38 million songs? :D

That's awesome! Hopefully we can see "Play to" from Nokia utilize this and maybe, pretty please a Sonos app?

I was waiting for someone else to get excited about the possibility of Sonos integration. An official Sonos controller and Xbox music integration would be so sweet. Alas though after 2 years I've learned to not get too excited. Hope hurts.

Finally...someone with a large set of kahunas' got them to listen and get someone else to fix things..

Does this mean that we might possibly to get xbox music service in Sonos, sometime in the future?

Does this mean SOMEBODY is going to be able to create an app that works with our collection that DOESN'T screw with the metadata?  I painstakingly edit every bit of my collection, even freshly ripped or downloaded music, to get the metadata right.  Then Music on the phone and PC jack with it and plug songs into albums or artists that are not at all like my collection.  I want the apps to read MY metadata, NOT what is in Microsoft's often-inaccurate repository.

I don't know why Microsoft thinks they have to reinvent the wheel with their music player for every new Windows Phone software release. When something works they should stick with it.

Zune died off in WP7 (plus WP8 is on a new kernel), WP8 had a music app that could only be updated with OS updates, which leads to today's Music app. I think it makes sense as to why Microsoft remade the app so many times, now they're taking it a step forward and letting others developers take advantage of what they've collected, in terms of the catalog. Nice moves Microsoft, nice moves. :)

There was nothing wrong with the music player only updating with the OS. Get it right first time, and it loads shiploads faster than this new piece of Sh*t. iOS have it as part of the os and they do just fine. Separating the apps from the OS was Microsoft's dumbest decision yet from a performance standpoint.

So they gave up with the app and just decided to hand it to the developers to make an alternative music player... I'm ok with this

YES! This is amazing news. Now apps like OneMusic can add support for DRM-protected music support and I won't have to be stuck with Xbox Music's buggy app... It has improved immensely over time but whatever they're using to make that app isn't working.

I constantly have to fight to keep my music the way I want it....i shouldn't have to, the music player should see my music and just play it not rearrange it, change the album art or take away album art because it can't find the matching one...or change my playlist! If that is something that works for you then I guess you can be happy with that but I'm not

He's got talent. He should open shops to train and share his secrets. He should also consider opening a firm dedicated to developing apps for companies. MS should fund it.

Soo TRUE its like a natural talent to some people and Rudy is one TALENTED person. Not saying that there arent others but right now he is in the Radar and everyone seems to know him in our Community


Developers..all eyes on you now...hope to rudy huyn..mix radio...& still hope that MS do better their own app...sad if it comes to know that MS give up...& hope best app come our way soon..

This still won't solve the dilema of non-baked apps launching slowly.  I still use the hidden Music Hub (now called Music Backstop), and it launches instantly with zero lag and I can control artist wallpaper via MPAtool.  Without an OS-level update to fix the hook-in integration for apps, no matter how amazing a developer is, we won't see a smooth baked-in-like experience.

I use MPATool all the time on the old music hub app and am running 8.1. No problems. Am hoping this function and the ability to integrate it with the live tile on the start screen is something they allow the devs to do.

It was a terrible idea to decouple just about every feature of WP8 just to have an app that can be updated as they see fit, it doesn't matter how many updates we get for these apps, like you mentioned earlier, WP8.1 runs like shit (not all the time, but the majority of time it does) and I blame it on all the apps that make up most of WP8.1. I can no longer say, "it runs so silky smooth, all day everyday"

This. I even tweeted Joe and told him the experiment is over, we all had our fun, now put the apps back in the OS before shit goes further down the drain...did he listen? Oh of course not. The team are delusional :P ha

Yes Sir. I personally had zero experience in programming. Tried other sites but couldn't get a hang of it. Then I was recommended to try this one and am now in the stages of releasing my first app. Regards btw sorry for the late reply

Does that mean, we will get third party music player app which has the functions of Xbox music but I'm a different UI with less bug?

Just looking for an app that will play MY (as in I already paid for it) music from OneDrive without insisting that I buy it again from Xbox.

Sounds more like Android L & Google's latest acquisition of Songza has the people at Redmond finally springing into action. 

No choice in the matter since Microsoft can't get it done....I guess the students can't figure these kind of issues out

Hey, I never care who makes the app. I want the BEST product. It's just these people wet themselves like a drunk cult whenever they get to utter the word "official" and its so desperate and needy.

NOW they are OK with "unofficial" XBox Music apps. Probably because it lacks the important iEnvy ingredient.

Does that mean we get a decent app for listening to locally stored songs. No not talking about the paid ones..something similar to old music and video with all features?
Is Microsoft separating locally stored music from streaming music?

not sure I care? the app is terrible in windows phone but surely MSFT will get it right around the time the next windows phone small revision ships, in probably 18 months :)

Don't know if this would solve my problem: I want to be able to use songs in other apps..meaning they can read the DRM and have full control of the song whether on or OFFline!!

I do DJing and the lack of ability to use a DJ tool with a service like this sucks.

From what I've read so far, yes.  But, the developers of your DJ tools will need to update them to utilize this new API in order to play those songs.  Now question is are they willing to do so.

Well, since they'll be getting a cut of people's sub and purchases, I hope someone makes an AWESOME FREE! app :-)

Noone purchases music on xbox music. We just stream or download using the monthly pass. So no. Cheapskates like you need to pay.

Someone call Johnny Westlake and tell them to fix their shit! Save us from Xbox Music Johnny! Also...do the same for the crap Xbox Video!

Microsoft dont let this be a sign that you are giving up on XBox Music app, it will not be good for the platform. I do like opening up the API though.

Well someone's gotta get the fucking thing right, since last update, I now have 2 lots of everything and even some of the albums have tracks missing.....pathetic...

Argh...so angry, writing twice now......I would regard this as a flagship/Premier app and MS are treating it like there've given up and cant figure out what's wrong with the damn app so their calling in 3rd party devs to come up with a better alternative because by Christ after these fortnightly updates this app should be flawless.....kinda.......

I only ask for Last.FM native scrobbling. For beloved heaven's sake, I've been waiting for this since 2010 with Windows Phone 7 Series.