With the Windows Phone 8.1 update, Microsoft decoupled the music player experience from the operating system to allow frequent updates. While the Xbox Music app is not quite there yet, some independent apps like MusikPlayer have been able to fill the gap and offer a nice alternative to Windows Phone users.
Developed by independent developer from India, Shoban Kumar, MusikPlayer is a pretty good app to enjoy your music collection. The app cannot play the DRM'd Xbox Music Pass files, but works pretty well for your owned music or the ones downloaded from MixRadio.
In functionality, MusikPlayer is a pretty straightforward app. The music player is minimalistic, with the set of controls neatly lining at the bottom of a disc which displays the Album Art of the album playing. You can tap the Album Art to view your music collection categorized as albums, artists, and songs.
A quick search button at the top brings up a search bar where you can type a particular song you want to listen to, and look it up in your collection. One, it's a pretty handy feature when you quickly want to check out a certain song. Second, the search bar auto-completes as you type picking up songs from your collection.
After a recent update, the app now offers a transparent tile for your Start screen, which only has a faint logo of the app, and can be used at the spot where you'd want a nice peek of the background image. According to the app description on the Windows Phone Store, the developer is working to bring support for gestures and more features.
Download MusikPlayer for Windows Phone 8 devices from the Windows Phone Store. MusikPlayer costs $1.49, but that's only if you want to support the developer (which you should definitely consider if you like the app). The trial version is fully-functional, with no ads. If you like a no-frills music experience, try MusikPlayer and let us know how you like.
UPDATE: As we've gathered from the comments, the app actually does play Xbox Music Pass music. That's pretty good of the app, although a bad miss from me.