Windows Phone 8.1 Xbox Music

Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8.1 receiving first update next week; here are the changes

We've previously looked at how bad Xbox Music is on Windows Phone 8.1 (in the Preview for Developers, anyway), but the experience has never been flawless on Windows Phone. Microsoft evidently knows this as the company is looking to roll out an update next week (April 22nd), which will kick off bi-weekly releases for the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview client.

This is superb news for Xbox Music Pass holders who wish to have a decent experience on the phone.

Joe Belfiore even tweeted that a new app will be released for those who are using the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview, but it's good to see an actual change log be present over on Microsoft Answers. If you're interested to know what's on the way, here's what Microsoft is looking to include in the April 22nd update:

  • Numerous stability fixes, including many of the reported black screens
  • Cortana integration is complete and now supports playing playlists by name
  • UI polish to improve animations and transitions between UI views
  • Improved messaging for encountered errors, such as unplayable content in collections
  • Background initial sync of local and cloud content

Xbox Music

That's all well and dandy, but what about some of the things you're all desperately asking from the team? As noted above, there will be bi-weekly releases after the first update has rolled out, which are set to include the following:

  • Continued focus on Stability and Performance
  • Live Tile integration
  • Quickplay improvements, including “recent” lists
  • Kids Corner Support
  • UX improvements (Search result grouping, creating new Radio Stations, improved Network status messages, Blue UI language alignment, now playing improvements and more)

Have some suggestions for the Xbox Music app on Windows Phone? Sound them off over on the User Voice website.

Source: Microsoft Answer; Thanks, Al_2, for the tip!


Reader comments

Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8.1 receiving first update next week; here are the changes



+1 Hey DJ great while driving. Sounds like Xbox/Cortana might have it covered though. Gonna wait and see.

Hey DJ is great! I used to use it all the time when I was driving. It doesn't work in 8.1, but Cortana picks up the slack.

Well this is good news. They should please say something about the game hubs too. As a gamer, that forms part of my life .

I am still waiting for the Spotify update that they said were comming in spring... might switch to Xbox Music again if the app gets a UI revamp.

yeah, after trying-out nearly every related app i landed on listen as well. its so quick to launch compared to everything else (not sure how it does it), and has been perfectly stable for me thusfar.

it also looks quite nice, though the ui takes a bit of getting used to. depending on how updates come (its noted as getting a big update for increased wp8.1 support this summer), i may stick to it as my daily-driver over whatever xbox music evolves into.

on a related note, apparently the old hub is still around in wp8.1, just hidden: ..would love to see a dev find a way to launch it from a tile as i really liked it.

Thank god for bi weekly stuff. Anyway, it'll take them ages to sort out the mess, and another few months to bring it to Zune ear magnificence.

Sadly, the Xbox Music app has been a pretty poor experience for those of us who had extensive music collections & playlists BEFORE Xbox Music service arrived.  Playlists are often missing or mangled or missing songs.  Playlists often show up twice... and are empty.

Honestly, it seems like a music app would be one of the the easiest apps to make awesome.  I mean, Apple's been doing it for about 15 years... and Microsoft has had WMP for ages.  It's puzzling that Microsoft can't

figure it out.

In Windows 8.1 they even screwed up WMP since it cannot display Album Art if your music is on an SD card.


I moved to Nokia MixRadio; I am sick of Xbox music not even being able to display correct album and artist art; until that it fixed MS can keep their Xbox Music cr-app.


nokia mix radio is awesome , but the problem with it , is the music  quality s not the best one can get!
64 kbps or some are even as down as 32kbps

I hope they bring in log in support since I can't get my moms device to use my account in music on 8.1 like I could in 8 :/

Yeah they seriously need this, I should be able to log into my account on other devices! Or maybe I use two Microsoft accounts.

As nice as that was on 8, the Xbox music site make it very clear that music pass is not intended to be shared.

Will it wouldn't go totally against what Microsoft is doing especially with how their doing the family Xbox live gold deal with one gold account so maybe they will idk though

oh no, you made a well deserved negative comment about a MSFT product, prepared to be called an android fanboy

This is my biggest gripe too! I can't find music in the new Store update either so we're basically screwed when it comes to new releases...

Sh*t up Android fanboy.



Just to note: that's not serious ment, but neonspark litterly asked for it. :p Through I agree, the current state of the Xbox Music app in Windows Phone 8.1 is not verry well.

Yup. Dynamic playlists was my most used feature. I haven't found anything that replicates the experience.f

I've switched over to Beats Music until Xbox Music comes up to standard.

Eg. A 'like' playlist is built from the ones you have liked, or ' new ' is ones you've downloaded in the last month, etc.

A playlist of conditions instead of specific tracks.

"Played less than X times" for example.

Separate app. This is how they're able to push out frequent updates vs waiting for a whole OS update.

That! It is the overall goal of MS to unlink the platform own apps from OS integration to enable faster updates, but also enable developers to tap into system features to expand them. The future is looking real bright. ⌒.⌒

The future might be looking bright but the present not so much. If I knew I'd lose the games, music and photos hub in exchange for the no Portuguese swipe keyboard, notification centre (which is very very very plain) and new start screen...

Well no, its not. Have you used this app? Takes 10 minutes to load my artist list and 5 minutes to DELETE an album. Its a joke. And its been like that for months. Doesn't look bright to me. :/

Kinda both, everyone's doing it these days including the pioneer Google. They just released a separate Camera App update for Android and iOS yesterday. I do believe this is the right approach.

Awesome. Right now Cortana doesn't even recognize that I have any music. I pay for Xbox music, and it is all there when I launch the music app. This is only slight, but any more additions to make everything more user friendly is fine by me.

My Cortana recognises all my songs, in fact, I use her to play my music as it's faster than opening the bloody music app, find my album / artist and play.


"Resuming..." grinds my nerves!

Well, I live in India, I don't have Cortana, and do not want to change my region to get it, I rather use Nokia MixRadio to play my music directory. Its way better than the current Xbox Music (Actually its just written Music here, no Xbox Music support in India)

Can the live tile do what the old integrated app did? Scroll the artist name and picture. Also its so hard to use the music marketplace...

So I didn't quite feel like the article was specific enough. Will the live tile actually be "active" once again even when no music is playing? (Like the Zune Tile in WP7?) It was a beauty seeing the last played artist.

It used to scroll artist pics even when no music was playing back on wp7. Would love to have that again, it was a cool tile.


Help me understand; when playing full albums not shuffled, one in every 30 artists might have a couple songs that do this.

A) More features are always welcome but how important is it really?
B) Who listens to music, by full albums, without shuffle anymore?

It IS a really niche feature, that only a few smartphone platforms support.  As far as I know, you can only get gapless music playback on Apple, Android, Blackberry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones - none of the others have implemented it.

THIS FFS! This Feature was requested on their Uservoice Page back in June, still nothing. Somehow I think the only purpose of this atrocious App, is to get as many xbox Music Passes as possible into consumers hands. Music experience on WP 8  is sadly a bad joke.

And the part that kills me is that if they would have just left the app alone and stuck with the player in WP7, they'd have a way better product.

The player in WP7 didn't support gapless.  (I totally agree that it was better than any of the subsequent "upgrades" to it, though.)

Wut... gapless playback is a basic feature for an application that was supossedly designed to listen to music.

Funny thing is xbox music on Android and iOS had this feature from the very beginning. I would really like to know why they did not include this feature in the WP app. This is pretty basic and common sense.

Started playing with the music app again and at least one annoying thing has been fixed. I can search for a song using Cortana and then add that ONE song to an EXISTING playlist. Used to be you had to add the entire album to a new playlist.

I liked the old one where it was shown which songs are next and we could change a song by flipping.

It plays until the end of the period. Yeah, I'd be flash if i could afford that. When the battery's flat I just buy a new phone, doesn't everyone do that? ;-)

Believe you me, it sucks to get a new phone out of the box with half a charge or less. Have to go to Verizon sometimes twice a day to get new phones.

Pressing the Play button from the Bluetooth headset no longer plays music automatically. Need to launch Music app unlike previously.

You must have a messed up bluetooth headset then becuase mine works fine with all my headset buttons


Not really. I am referring to when after connecting the headset, pressing Play will start the music where it previously left off or start the shuffled playlist of all songs without launching the app. All buttons are fine.

I get the same thing. I used to have my bluetooth able to automatically play as soon as I turned it on and hit play on my bluetooth device


This doesn't work anymore, I have to hit play on my WP THEN and only then I can I control my phone from my BT player. Its very very annoying.

That's good news. I guess it technically isn't a bug, but I really hope the playlists don't stay limited to 100 songs. =/

The hearts were useless- they literally did nothing. Unless you frequently forget that you like a song WHILE IT'S PLAYING.

Um..the hearts were not useless. You would use it to mark songs as favorites and then you could ask the app to play all your favorites. It was essentially a super easy way to create a playlist.

I want the live tile back from WP 7. Where it animates even when not playing music. Now it's boring and always static.

Was awaiting for this article. I think they should provide this update with another update to the os again. As they did at the time of gdr3. They had provided 2 updates 2 dev preview at the time of gdr3

As MSFT struggles in mobile, I find it ironic the best support for some of their services is to not use their wonder they are where they are at.

They need cortana on xbox one asap! Ability to play a playlist by voice control would be awesome on that system.

I enjoyed the old feature where you could swipe left or right on the now playing screen to move to the next song. I'd like that back cause its easier to do that when ur in the car driving than it is to find and press a button

That feature actually annoyed me. It was counter intuitive for me. So many times I would want to go back to the artist list or some other part of the app while continuing to listen and instead it would change the song. Aaaargh!!

This app just needs to be re-done. Why they strip features is beyond me. Also where the eff is gapless playback!!???

They didn't strip features! We have a freaking preview build of Windows 8.1 and not the final version.

That means some apps/features are being rebuilt or built for the first time. Maybe MS shouldn't have made it so easy for the average joe to get if they can't understand simple things like that...

Let's both follow up to this post when 8.1 ships, and we can see what features are or aren't "stripped out," OK?  Setting my Cortana reminder now... :-)

How about returning my hub functionality? I had one wide live tile for music, this one, and I could launch music from my collection, Pandora, Nokia music, cloudmuzik, and even metrotube, all from my Xbox music app. Now the hub functionality is nearly gone from windows phone (except games and people), and its a big step back for the platform.

I agree, the hubs were the biggest selling point for the platform; now that it's on the way out, it's essentially just another mobile OS, like iOS or Android, but with a different UI or launcher.

I think the main reason for breaking things out as separate apps was to allow for quicker and easier updates. For example, the update that's coming mentioned in the article. Whereas previously we had to wait for system updates. I was perplexed at first when I updated to 8.1 and my podcasts weren't in the music app. But simply downloaded the podcasts app. Makes WP more agile and responsive ultimately.

Will this update allow Cortana to stream my music that is in the cloud? This would be infinitely more awesome if it could, since I only stream my music.

Ditto, I liked being able to "safely" swipe the screen to change the song. It's annoying that I now can't.

One of the things I miss they most from iTunes is to be able to have lyrics for the music. I wonder if they ever plan on adding that.

I really need a good reason to pick Xbox over Spotify.. Xbox doesn't have Spotify's custom playlists, right? Like soundtracks, mixes, etc..

Quest about Xbox music on windows 8.1, can you still swipe to switch songs or did they remove it?

Glad to hear this is being fixed, the loading is my main problem… I'm not bothered about the tile because I use it as the smallest tile size. But the constant file loading every time you opened it up bothered me.

Personally I'm wishing they fixed the loading with Nokia Mix radio when loading your library, as ever since xbox music has been rubbish I've started using that to play my library's music and it's really really good - I hadn't used it in a while and the recent updates have made it really neat.

Couldn't believe that I hold the call button on my hands free headset and I can ask to play music so cool.

It's a developer should expect these kinds of bugs. If you can't deal with them, wait for the official 8.1 release.

These releases ARE NOT meant for every day users.

come on stop this nonsense. This App should have already been ready. Since its release to the WP store(4 Months ago!) the Xbox Team did nothing to improve it, the opposite happened, it got worse/unuseable. What were they doing all the time?

I miss being able to look new releases. All they have is featured albums which doesn't necessarily include new releases. Used to be able to look at new releases by genre as well and that is gone

It would be great, but I doubt MS would remove this limitation. It's the only reason I would consider paying for Music Pass.

"Background initial sync of local and cloud content"

YAY.  Worst part of all the xbox music apps (WP/iOS/Android).  Syncing on load was/is a waste of time.

I wish there was a way to just get the original Zune HD interface on Windows Phone. It's still far superior to anything I've seen in a portable device since it launched.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

I really miss the custom artist artwork that were could use in WP 8 using MPA tool app, many of the Japanese artist I listen to don't have an artist background anymore.... Is really sad, also I don't know but if there are some audiophiles here can you confirm with me if you're having troubles with playing lossless WMA files? Like lags and stuff?

Yeah. Many of my movie score albums that i was able to fix with mpatool (itself an example of the broken music app in WP8) have strange foreign artwork now. Craptacular.

Seriously...I really want it back, I am a music freak and no matter how good the phone or the OS is, until the music experience is amazing I don't find anything amazing about the phone or the OS. I bought Windows Phone just because of the music experience because it was unique. But now its becoming crappy

MPAtool doesnt work anymore? Yikes.. Xbox Music is shit, and their track record doesnt inspire any confidence that these updates will be timely or fix the issues everyone is complaining about.