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Next Xbox Music update for Windows Phone 8.1 delayed until next week

Xbox Music

Microsoft's Xbox Music app team has been trying to post updates every two weeks for the Windows Phone 8.1 version ever since it made its debut in April. Today, it looks like the fourth update for the app will be a few days later than planned.

Microsoft announced today:

Our fourth update to the Windows Phone 8.1 Xbox Music app is almost ready. We have a few tweaks we want to get in this one, so expect it early next week. This next release will continue to deliver on feature requests you are providing through the User Voice forum. So please, keep the feedback coming.

Microsoft has already released a list of features and improvements it plans to put into future versions of Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8.1. They include:

  • Continued focus on stability and performance improvements
  • Initial sync of local and cloud content happens in the background
  • Support for greater than 100 songs in Now Playing queue
  • Faster loading of long lists
  • Transparent Tile support
  • Live Tile support
  • Kid's Corner support
  • General UX improvements

Hopefully the delay means that next week's release will see a ton of new changes and additions to the app.

Source: Xbox Music User Voice

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Reader comments

Next Xbox Music update for Windows Phone 8.1 delayed until next week

260 Comments

Complaint#1:
Whenever I tell Cortana to play a soundtrack, album, or playlist, it plays the streaming version or a 30-sec sample instead of my downloaded version.

I've noticed it does that with songs I've purchased through XBM but others it goes straight to the song I have on file.

Yep. I've noticed this problem whenever I tell Cortana to play an artist. Wonder it play the 30 second online sample when I've clearly disabled streaming in the Xbox Music app.

Complaint #2:  Get the back button to consistently go back to what you were looking at previously. That was one of the best features of Windows Phone, consistently going back to what was there previously. With Xbox music, I feel like I'm using Android. I need to tap back to figure out where it will take me without quite being sure about the result beforehand.  I try to remember which screen has which result from hitting the back button, but there are many to remember. What is the point of this? To be more like Android?

Someone needs to be strung up for this, their wife and children exterminated as well. An example must be made.

The beatings have to continue until morale and productivity improve and the deadlines are met.

Yes, I'm American, and I know he's joking, but it's going a little too far... There's nothing you can perceive that I can't.. Just remember that....

At least MS was courteous enough to announce that the app would be delayed till next week. People don't have to keep checking the store for updates.

This is SuCh BS!!! How could Microsoft Freakin Pisses Me Off!
Screw This I'm Switching To BlackBerry!!!
Lol Ok I'm Seriously kidding.
I'd rather them take their time to polish than send out broken updates. :)

Man, Ima a big proponent of XBOX MUSIC. But i think it would be nice to sync music somehow without having a million duplicates. I love it as a streaming service, but they really need to figure out how to sync my music so i can play it offline. That is my biggest gripe with the service at the moment.

I'm still waiting for the XBM or Zune style artist screensaver on lock screen when music is playing.

It doesn't work. I used to use that feature. :P

 

Of course, all of my artist images are messed up anyway so I wouldn't even want to use it anymore.. :-)

Hope it fixes the issue with their playlists. I don't create or use playlists at all because it duplicates them hundreds times over, for no apparent reason.

Microsoft should differentiate between their xbox service and music app for OS. Give both apps separatly. Dont mix your service and music player.

Yeah, true Microsoft love delay. Meh. But really hoping they will stick with bi-weekly update for the future time.

Thanks for the tip on this.  I have a XBox music pass and generally think the music app is OK, but there's definitely a lot to be desired.  I was looking at Style Jukebox's site and had a question.  Is this like server side software, meaning that if I play a song on my phone does my home computer that has my music have to be on?  Also, with it being able to watch a folder, if I download a song with my XBox music pass which has DRM, will this app be able to play that as long as it goes into the watch folder?

Well I haven't checked out that app, but there are a couple of 3rd party apps that will play DRM protected music. Heydj comes to mind. Ever since Microsoft released the xbox music API, there have been a couple of apps that can play music off the music pass

The app is like Dropbox, but for music.

All your music is synced on Style Jukebox servers and it's available for streaming and downloading on all your devices. You don't have to keep your PC online to access your music.

The app supports DRM files. It also supports lossless formats. No song is transcoded or streamed at a lower quality.

And yes, the PC app can watch multiple folders for changes and automatically sync them.

Check out the free app! Let me know what you think about it.

How I wish they could give an option of old music hub and this Xbox music for us to choose !

Why cant they include the equalizer within the music player?

No, they shouldn't, if they did that then people would expect updates for it, and then all of the uninformed people would be complaining about how xbox music gets updatres all the time and the music hub hasnt got updated since x.xx update

Why can't they make the hubs as an app? If the only thing that's the problem with not having is that it cant be updated just make it an app. Should not be so hard. The hubs is the heart of WP. And why oh why is there not a messaging hub yet?

That's exactly what Xbox Music is supposed to be, same goes for messaging. I just don't know how you could miss them!!!

So forcing a software update out the door a few days before it's ready is going to instill confidence and reliability?  It's a few days (most of which is the weekend), not a few months.  Get a grip.

Ah, someone who never used WP7. If you had then you'd know just how good it was on WP7 with the Zune desktop software a well!!!!

I had a Lumia 710, and even with the great piece of software Zune is, the player on WP 7 was barely basic. Yes, it was better than the WP 8 player and of course it was better than the garbage that Xbox Music is, nut still it was basic, at least compared to the competence. No lyrics (ios player have them), poor design (without mpatool you just get a grey screen wit a little album thumbnail, again, ios player wins), etc, etc, etc. And that didn't change with WP 8. Same basic player, but worst (no Zune for music management, horrible synchronization, videos can't be tagged by series or movies, they are all together in a section called "all"). Now with Xbox Music things only get worse.

As I said, we went from a poor to an awful-shitty-frustrating music experience (only on Windows phone, not the Zune players, I never had one).

indeed, that's what I think. Yet, you know what would be really good? That all the changes that have been introduced to the shit*y new music app were cooked into the old app's core. That would be legendary !

Would explain this PoS music app we have...wouldn't it? I just cant wait until they backpedal on this like the xbox one and just put the native player back. :P

It probably won't happen like that.. Microsoft was faced with losing a VERY valuable asset, and they made a business decision and didn't. WP has barely any marketshare, and isn't very profitable, so there's little incentive to holding back from forcing a service down our throats...

Maybe if they had 20% internationally instead of ~5%, but it really doesn't matter too much to them.. Their iOS and Android apps get more love than ours.. :,(

Good. Just started using Xbox Music again. Hope they'll make it easier to browse for music in the store thou, and fix an issue I'm having with downloads constantly failing and unable to remove them from the downloads list. Only happened with a full album from Arch Enemy and another full album from Megadeth. Downloading single songs from that album works great thou :-o

Before the last update I had issues with canceled downloads too, though they were removed from downloads list as well. Haven't seen it much since then. They noticeably changed the way downloads are started (before they'd all go into "Pending" state right away, now they do it one by one) so I think they are messing around with that.

Can't wait to download the new Arch Enemy album on Tuesday, by the way (I really hope Xbox Music gets it right away)! I love their new vocalist... didn't notice much difference from before, to be honest, but many people seem to not be too happy. 

 

Darkane actually has a great presence for their size (in XBM).

 

Many of the bands I love have no artist images, (Skeletonwitch, Crimson Shadows, hell even Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Accept!) and most won't be matched with the XBM servers.. but Darkane has the bio, AND the image.. :D

 

Sorry, got off topic.. Hope you have a better experience than I! :D

Wish MS gave us option to disable this. Hate how some picture being rendered/ deformed to fit the layout.

I still can't believe they dropped live tile and lock screen integration with the new version. Glad to see live tile coming back soon.

They didn't "drop" those features... The new music app isn't completed yet, it's still a preview for developers version. It's a completely new app so they need to rewrite the code from scratch, making it impossible for all the features to be available right from the start of the preview version. They need to time to add those features to the new app.

Well not necessarily, reason for this is to be able to update the app at will. Everyone complained about the old Xbox app, so now they did somethingto help in the long run

So you say...i don't buy that its gonne get better in the long run. Its always gonna be slow and the store rating is going to stay at 2 stars. Those are my predictions. lets wait and see who is right :P

I don't like to be so negative, but I agree..  They were saying the same thing last year: "Oh, don't worry, the Facebook app is going to be updated.." and it never happened.. :P

As somewhat of a programmer myself, I'm really curious what is preventing them from using the WP7 Zune hub skeleton code. I understand that everything is rebranded as Xbox Music, but that's a cosmetic change. I'm sure there are other changes as well, but the underlying functionality of simply playing a track and normal music player functions is so slow in Xbox Music. Zune had it down. Microsoft should be able to just use similar code.

+1, although I don't understand the rebranding either. Xbox Music? Really? I understand MS is now trying to push the Xbox One as an all-in-one entertainment box, but I still associate the Xbox name with gaming, as I'm sure most people do.

I think you don't understand it. Music player app is one of the most complicated software in the world - if not the most complicated. It consumes way more resources than, say, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows combined. Even for a multi billion dollar company like Microsoft, the trillions of lines of codes across hundreds of programming languages and platforms are very difficult to maintain and improve - so you would not expect them to take the old codes - look at how new comers like Google Music stumble to make even playing music work.

Right, I get that it's more complicated than writing most other content apps. But I'm talking solely music playing functionality here (playing a song, making a playlist, etc...). These features were done and working well in Zune. They should have the code base for playing songs and stuff whether it's Zune or Xbox Music. For example, skipping a track in Zune was fast. If I have a large playlist in Xbox Music (1000+ songs), the track skipping and animations take a second. Nothing needed to change there.

On WP7 the music hub wasn't an app, it was part of the OS, which made it faster since everything was loaded with the OS. Now they are making it as an app to make it possible to update without updating the whole OS. They need to find out how to make it as good and as fast as it was with the limitations of standard apps, and coded as standard apps. I'm pretty sure an app is coded differently than an OS. The principles stay the same, but it's most certainly not the same code. (although I'm not an expert at coding so I might be wrong)

Do non-system-apps (standard apps) necessarily have to be slower than system-apps? Can't you just optimize the app so it is as fast as it is when integrated in the system?
Also, apps coded completely for WP8.1 are said to be 30% faster than WP8 apps. Why can't you fell that?

Same here, I get them everytime I open the app but closing and reopening a second time works.
It sucks sure but its not the end of the world for me.
I know the team has got their work cut out for them and overall this app has been improving in every area making for a enjoyable overall experience. Lumia1520

You must have ZERO cloud collection. They most certainly have NOT dissapeared, sir! Good DAY!

Yip its driving me insane. Everytime I reopen the app and everything is just super slow. I'm glad they notified us of the delay but if they don't get this right in the next 2 updates I'm buying a curry

Xbox Music in current state is good enough for me to wait a bit more. They delivered basic features.

If delay means better polish for new and old features - I am perfectly okay with that.

Every time I open xbox music it slaps me in a new way..
And it force me to think that my lovely phone and that lovely OS can't satisfy me with its music playing capability.

Doesn't matter, they aren't working on the things that actually matter anyway. All this streaming stuff is nonsense and the local sync is so poor.

Although a transparent live tile is probably not that hard to code, they still have a lot to fix so I'm pretty sure it's not that high in their priorities right now, or at least I hope it's not that high. First they need to fix what's not working and make it faster, than they can look into adding visual stuff like live tiles.

After the latest improvements in reliability, navigation (especially scrubbing and swiping to switch tracks) I am actually very happy with Xbox Music. I've gotten used to the changes, and actually find some of them very good. Looking forward to the coming updates, especially when it comes to the look and feel of the app, but functionally I am now largely satisfied (there is of course always room for more features :)).

I use the paid Xbox Music service though, and I think that is where this app is (now) better than the old Music hub. Not sure if I'd be as happy if I only used my own MP3s.

I:

1) Use my own MP3s that I go back and give ID3 tags to.

2) Or play loseless (.wav) direct rips from CDs. The service is absolutely horrid for me.. :S

 

Not being able to match your songs with XBM, usually means no artwork (yes, even if I put it in the folder of the album like most players..) and no artist image (with no MPAtool to save you..)

But honestly: I'm glad to hear someone having a good experience with it. It's become "cool" (trendy) to bash the app.

Wtf you want old music player!!!!come on man wats da used of Update if dey give you same like 8.1..Welcome Xbox Music

Delay....not delay. It's irrelevant. The app is STRUCTURALLY unsound, no matter how much they tweak it. Looking at the current app and then going back to the "Music Hub Tile/WP8" version just shows how and why.

There's no real storefront for Xbox Music Store anymore. So good luck seeing what albums are new in each genre. Just a single "Featured Music" tile with five artists and 8 albums that refreshes each Tuesday. This devalues the Xbox Music Pass and standalone purchases because users must now find everything for themselves. Then, when they get search results back, there's no longer album art to help guide them and the font is too small.

Worse yet......Microsoft is apparently incapable of creating an app not integrated into the OS that can load music instantly upon startup. We've been through several updates, and it still takes forever to find music. This ALSO depresses new downloads. I downloaded an album through Xbox Music a day or so ago and forgot about it. When I opened the app to play it today, it didn't have the album anywhere in its listing. 2 minutes later, it had 5 of the 6 songs loaded, but the 6th took another 90 seconds. Of course, that was the song I wanted to hear. Try exiting the app and re-entering...you get a "resuming....." that also takes forever to resolve.

While I'm somewhat excited about the new McClaren handset, if they don't create a viable music app to accompany my Xbox Music Pass, I won't renew my subscription and I'll leave this platform behind. I'll take the visually drab, functionally instantaneous "music player" of my work iPhone 4S ANYDAY over the hodgepodge of nonsense that is Windows Phone 8.1's music player situation.

There's no real storefront for Xbox Music Store anymore. So good luck seeing what albums are new in each genre. Just a single "Featured Music" tile with five artists and 8 albums that refreshes each Tuesday. This devalues the Xbox Music Pass and standalone purchases because users must now find everything for themselves. Then, when they get search results back, there's no longer album art to help guide them and the font is too small.

As an Xbox Music subscriber, these things bug me as well.

+(everything I've got)

I will forever be bitter about them scrapping Zune like they did. The least they could have done is kept the same functionalities before releasing Xbox Music...but of course, MS had to screw that up beyond belief.

Its becoming one of the biggest fuckups I've ever come across in my years as a developer. Been on this platform since WP7, massive music user and this is making me think of switching once iphone6 comes out. I really have to pinch myself some days. We are on the cusp of almost catching up and yet we don't have a fuckin music player that works.

Agreed...although I'd still rather go back to my Optimus 7 and just use it as my music player. Or I should just get myself a Zune HD.. lol

Agreed.  And not just on WP.  Xbox Music as a whole is a gigantic steamy pile of shit, regardless of the platform being used.  I bought into Windows 8 when it was released specifically because of XBox Music and the promises that came with it (because I was/am a HUGE Zune fan).  I've finally dumped all Pass downloads and fired up Zune and redownloaded my music--you know because the dumbasses changed the licensing and Zune can't play Xbox Music downloads.  As bad as the Win8 app is, the WP8.1 app is even worse.  Can anyone honestly sit down with an Android and Iphone user and say 'hey, you should switch to WP8.1, check out Xbox Music!'.  Then wait for this POS app to load?  It's an embarrassment and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. 

Expected nothing less. "Bi-monthly updates for now on to fix out three year mistake"

• First update - Two weeks
• Second Update - Two weeks
• Third - delayed

Get ready to see a lot of delays if the past three years are any indication.

Also sick of seeing Xbox Video updates that add NOTHING. All if our complaints center around the disastrous way it handles our own non-Microsoft owned TV shows and movies....yet we get 50 updates to fix purchasing...jesus Christ already.

I'd say "updating" is a bit pushing the term because they started with fully functional player, then crippled it to the ground. And now they are adding those pieces back in.
In this current version I have two playlists, both with some 20+ songs in them. Now when I check the playlists, the other has 96 songs and the other 300+ songs. So yea, update all you like but get rid of bugs also. Or better yet, give us the old Zune back and be done with it.

Does anyone know if this will fix my problem? I rip a CD to my PC and it auto loaded to the could and to me phone. But on my phone I click on the album and it says download. When I try to download it say I need an Xbox Music pass. I e-mail xbox about it and they just keep saying the same thing, Why would I pay $100 for a pass for something I already own?

People are never happy. 1st. "Yes! Updates comes fast now, keep it going Microsoft" Now, 1 delay and its "Microsoft loves delays" a bit too much drama people.

The "app" is simply horrible, it is in such a low state that its below unprofessional. Its no more, no less. If it was useable then people wouldn't complain. MSFT is trying to sell us the idea of the cloud, yet there product is not functioning correct to there own service, people buying music have lost there collections, got large music archives destroyed etc, and you think people will happily sit silent? This may be but a dev preview, but its so far behind the XBM team have no chanse of fixing it before official release. And meanwhile customers are the one suffering.

The only thing I care about is the album art support. I used to use MPATool in my Mp3's in Windows phone 8. But now MPATool is not supported.

This is the internet. People will bitch about everything, since there's no repercussions.. :P

 

That being said, I mostly use my phone for music, and this app alone has made me want to get an Android, flash a light-weight ROM to it, and leave WP without turning back..

 

If it isn't a big deal to you, good. But, I spend hours listening to music each day, and it's very unpleasant.. Now Microsoft, (after releasing a couple updates that did very little for my experience)  is saying, "Oh sorry guys! We promise, we'll have it next week!" It makes them look bad. I'm not saying that as a "troll" or butthurt keyboard warrior, but they aren't keeping their promise. Ever studied human behavior? Whenever someone doesn't keep a promise, they lose credibility in the eyes of their peers. Good intentions or not, Microsoft is losing credibility..

Totally agree! I actually don't care what is called! Just bring back the software that worked absolutely fine and put the Xbox music logo on top of it! Please! XBM is a shame!

As many of you know i have ripped this music app, deservedly so, but i will say the ui improvements are welcomed. Again, im going to cancel my xbox music at end of the year (after 7 years)unless i see these features...

1-Ability to buy more than one song at a time.

2-Sorting by what im subscribing to

3-Heart to mark songs or whole albums to buy later

4-Ability to store personal collection in pne drive

5- SCREENSAVER FUNCTIONALITY, This is 2014....

 

 

I take it you've suggested these features in the appropriate place rather than moaning here like most of the others on this thread?

Its loads better than it was and the 100 songs improvement was much needed. If people keep feeding back they will keep improving. Live tile will be back, lock screen will too.

Next big thing bar those two is improving the store. I'll be it'll be better than ever by the end of the year.

Yes for the last 2+ years...you sound like a paid employee so take this back to the office, YOUR MUSIC APP IS GARBAGE, WHY DID YOU GUYS BREAK SOMETHING THAT WASNT BROKE, ZUNE SOFTWARE? WHOEVER AT YOUR COMPANY MADE THIS DECISION SHOULD BE FIRED, IM TALKING TO YOU JOE BELIFAIL. EVERY TIME I TRY TO BELIEVE YOU GUYS WILL GET IT TOGETHER YOU DONT. YOU SAY YOU'RE COMMITTED TO THE LISTENER BUT THEN YOU DONT FUCKING LISTEN. EVERY TIME I SEE A THREAD ABOUT THIS APP OR UPDATE I GET ENRAGED BECAUSE YOUR COMPANY HAS HAD OVER TWO YEARS TO MAKE A PROPER MUSIC APP, A BASIC FEATURE OF EVERY SMARHPNE OS AND YOU SCREW THE POOCH. AGAIN, HAVE YOUR COMPANY ACTUALLY USE YOUR MUSIC APP. IDIOTS.

YES YOU ARE. You must not have any personal music or ever used zune. Or are using it on the xbox which is pretty good. Tablet/phone apps are way friggin behind.

They did update the "Music" App this week. Fixed some cloud/local sync issues. There's an article about it on microsoftproductreviews.com
I tipped you guys about it, so what, no love for anything except the XBox music app here at WPCentral?

That is going to be fixed on this update. It's the 100 songs issue the article said will be fixed. You can only put 100 songs in the now playing list so when you shuffle the library it's limited to 100 so you get the same songs repeatedly.

it decided not to work today, i had to use nokia mix radio, when i open it it stays on the green screen, or "loading" forever :/ ms should give us the option to reinstall it since it is not built in anymore

Perspective – it is a preview.  But grading the performance experienced as of today…

Two of the most used functions on my phone are XBOX Music and Podcasts.  They are frankly terrible. Buggy, unstable, inconsistent play - even on a home network connection.  Just terrible.  I love, love, love my Windows Phone and my Xbox Music Pass but the experience on the phone is a constant frustration.  I'm using a Nokia Icon and the 8.1 Preview but much of what I'll share happened on my HTC 8X prior.

I would have thought that a revamp of the apps from the hub model to stand alone apps would provide the opportunity for MS to provide stable apps and get it right.  I recognize we're in preview but this doesn't bode well. I wanted to assume that some secret team was working in the background on a rewrite of the apps and we would get a fantastic, fresh, functional suite of apps.

It is really my only gripe about the platform.  Every fiber of my being wants to have faith that MS will rise to the occasion but the MS music, podcast, and video apps have been the worst performing on this platform since I switched over from my windows Mobile 6.5 phone - hands down.  I sit silently and sigh. 

Problems observed this week and fairly consistently
- Songs freezing.
- App crashing and requiring a device reset to get back operational
- Black Screen
- Refusal of the app to start.  Required a reboot of the device to make the podcast app start.
- Dropouts of audio in songs and podcasts - this drives me absolutely nuts.

BTW, I know - preview.  It is a preview.  Yup, it's a preview.  Preview!
I'm keeping the faith but if my non preview HTC 8X was any indication, I'm also keeping my expectations low. 

Sorry MS if you read and take offense, I honestly believe you are trying to do well by us and I am still one of your biggest advocates.

Preview or not, how the fuck can we be in 2014 and Microsoft can't provide a functioning player for Windows Phone?  The smartphone we know today has been around for what, 7 years, and this was considered acceptable to release in any form?  Seriously, there is no excuse for it.  One has to understand, I've championed WP since it was released, and Zune long before that.  Fool me once MS, shame on you... 

I have no issue with the delay. IF it works after it. Right now it doesn't. Can't start it and am paying my subscription to nothing. So, delay it if that means you get it right. If it doesn't work after the upgrade, then I'm getting pissed.

The cloud interaction alone is complex and full of issues so I understand. Part of this is the business model getting in the way. The paradigm of matching to music available through the store has to give way soon. The feature most likely to drive many of the problems vs. the"locker" concept. Many of the complaints Stern from the way Music handles music we have ripped. This is not limited to Windows Phone, but is also a problem on PC and web. Albums that cannot be matched lose tracks or disappear completely or report they cannot be played. Verifying this content everytime adds complexity and delay. For all the other features we are waiting for, this is one of the most pressing. Considering the constant flow of updates to all systems and apps, I am willing to let these take their course. It is important to view even tweaks to the Modern app and the web as important to improved phone performance. Keep your eye on this as well.

EXACTLY, let me access purcahses through the cloud but opt me out of cloud matching, causes too many issues. also pne drive cloud storage for myersona' collection. YOU KNOW LIKE A REAL MODERN DAY MUSIC APP.

My music app crashes when i open songs it works fine when I open albums lumia 920 India.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

How is it difficult AT ALL to enable a transparent tile? Especially when, you know, they made the operating system?

Actually they broke their promise on the very first week. Then they went back and retroactively changed the post announcing the specific date of the first update to instead say "this week". That's what led us to Friday being the day of the week we have been getting these updates.

Does anyone have the problem of no album art when playing music from a playlist, specifically a playlist that contains music in a collection?

Almost all my songs have no album art in xbox music ... They never had! In windows media player on my pc it works just fine ...

Wondering why all of the sudden a particular playlist I've had for 3 weeks jumped from 126 songs to 622 songs...im so over XBM

Still waiting for the update that doesnt cause the app to crash to a black screen after resuming. That's most annoying to me than anything else. Followed by seeing all my synced playlists when I have sync turned off. 

I also have to connect via the alternate method in the Bluetooth advanced settings to hear my turn by turn directions from here+. After the directions are done, I have to press play again to resume the music...

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