Microsoft's Cortana loses song ID ability in Windows as Groove ends too

Microsoft ending its Groove music streaming service has been known for awhile now with the ax finally coming down over the last few days, but another repercussion has now been confirmed: Cortana's song recognition capability first introduced in 2014.

In the past, tapping the music icon on Cortana's UI let the artificial intelligence service act like a glorified Shazam identifying any music playing. The link would then take users to the Microsoft Store to view the album or optionally buy it. Without the music store, however, there is no real next step for the user unless Microsoft wants to feed customers to Amazon, Apple, or Google, who all maintain music stores (for now).

What users now see when they try to ID a song in Windows 10.

What users now see when they try to ID a song in Windows 10.

With the elimination of Groove tapping the icon now results in an error with "Song unrecognized" and Microsoft slipping in a not-so-subtle "this service has been retired."

Jason Deakins, who works on Cortana and search at Microsoft confirmed the end of the service in a tweet responding to myself and @faltermayer:

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Considering Shazam pulled its Windows Store app back in March 2017 – an app once promoted as a success of UWP – Microsoft is left with virtually no song identification applications. Granted, most song identification is performed by users of Android or iOS phones using Shazam (now owned by Apple), and without a dog in the smartphone race, the service is likely used infrequently on the desktop.

Still, Cortana's song recognition ability was an excellent demonstration of Microsoft bundling in services into the OS for a more native experience. Those days appear to be over.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • 😢
  • WTH, Microsoft! They better be on the phone with Shazam right now!!!
    Well, they'd probably just give Cortana Shazam integration on iDroid only.... Lol😂😂😂. It's sad, but true.
  • Isn't Shazaam being acquired by Apple?
  • It has 2 a's?.... 😆
  • How petty rodney,  even for you.  And YES....SHAZAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMM is now own by apple.  So,  no dice thats coming to windows.   Nadella strikes again!
  • Shazam already has (had?) a Windows (Metro) app.
  • There is SoundHound!
  • Crashes constantly and doesn't work as well for me.
  • Lol iDroid 🤣🤣🤣 I'm going to use that one... Having said that do people really use AI assistants? I tried them all, and I mean except for Alexa, and I never found use to any of them.
  • Damn! I use that feature almost everyday. What a useless platform Windows is now!!
  • So, now that this feature is gone Windows is useless to you?
    Sounds like for you Windows was overkill in the first place.
  • It's the drip drip effect of MS gradually stripping consumer features from their platform though, isn't it? I mean, each service/feature alone isn't likely the sole reason people use an entire platform, but eventually the removal of these things mounts up to a platform that no longer cuts the mustard. I think you're misunderstanding a lot of recent posts if you're viewing them from the narrow perspective of single issues rather than as a response to a pattern of behaviour from MS.
  • 🙄🙄🙄 Please. My post stemmed from utter condescendanc, and sarcasm.... Never think for one second I don't see why you see.
  • Dude windows phone had this ever since ..wp7 i think....the Trophy on Verizon. I got an iPhone 6s a couple years ago and just got the X. Until MS gets their sh.. together i refuse to spend my $$$$$ on anything other than a PC and/or Xbox! And this is coming from a MS fan!
  • I really liked that feature too. It's actually better than Shazam and way faster to activate.
  • Windows; the operating system where features and services come to die. :-(
  • SoundHound, I keep saying!
  • SoundHound is not on Windows 10 for PC, just for Mobile...and it's quite old.
  • Shazam app even outdated still works great on my Lumia 950
  • Recognizes only English language songs. Hate Microsoft
  • What other kinds of songs are there?   
  • hahahha, you stupid!
  • Soundhound doesn't recognize local music, only English music.
  • Didn't google just release the auto display of music playing on their pixel 2. And ms kills any type of music ID. Come on MS get with the program. WTF. Another disappointment.
  • Shazam is owned by Apple now
  • Things only die over here
  • Wow... Very disappointed
  • This sucks. Why can't they keep it and have Cortana just show us the song using Bing?
  • Well, nobody said they weren't working on a solution.. Fact is that this feature was most likely used most by WM devices so there's no rush. Would be nice by the end of the year, if you know what I mean😉
  • Or they could have worked on a solution before ending Groove?
  • Exactly. No excuses.
  • Once again, what's the rush?
  • Might make Windows look a little less like an OS heading for the sunset, perhaps?
  • Patience, man. Stop panicking
  • Rodney you're that dog in the burning house drinking tea
  • How?... Explain.
    I use a Lenovo Windows Laptop, a Surface 3, a Lumia 950, and my next two devices will be a Galaxy Note whatever, and a Andromeda whatever.......
    You're assuming I'm naive because ONE of my devices lacks support, and because I'm still using it the best I can?.... What, do you think I'm not aware of the state of WM10?
    Do you think I need to replace my 950 prematurely just because everyone else is, when it's working fine for me?
    Or, are you saying that Windows 10 is a burning platform?
    If you think Windows 10 is done for why are you still here?
    Answer those 5 questions.
  • Windows 10 (PC) is still here and in the cloud... burning Bright but mobile, music, AI(Cortana), ... is very much a slow go!
  • Rod I've been waiting along time and still waiting. I hope they can rise from the ashes that is 1990. Seems like there's no REAL direction....except for the cloud.
  • Yes coz this is the most requested "Enterprise" feature right!
  • The first thing that comes to mind is they would give link store to purchase it. but yes should show the song in bing
  • Could connect it to Bing Rewards
  • I downloaded soundhound
  • I just ate a Nestle Crunch bar.
    And! I paid my Porn Hub subscription.....
    Top that.
  • I ate taco bell and got a free Porn Hub subscription.
  • What is this about free subscriptions to cultural websites I hear
  • Rodneyej, reign it in a bit. Your comments here are starting to get grating.
  • I agree as well Daniel for him being an older gentleman I suppose.
  • Wait a minute... Older? That's a low blow, man🙁
  • 😏,,, sorry😌
  • LMAO...You actually pay!!!
  • I guess the wait for surface phone has taken too much toll on him.
  • Lol! 😂😂
  • Starting to?
  • It's been a thorn for many of us for a long (long...) time now.
  • I love you too, Andy😘
  • * rein not reign, though good point
  • Lol.
  • Here, there and everywhere Daniel.
  • I accept it. Microsoft no longer wants to be a consumer focused company. I am willing to bet that at some point Xbox will be sold. I don't see how it fits in with their cloud first objectives and since this company doesn't really care to be a jack of all trades like Amazon they really have no reason to keep it.
  • " I am willing to bet that at some point Xbox will be sold."
    People have been saying that for years. Just 4 months ago, they elevated the head of Xbox to a leadership position in the company, which is the exact opposite of what you're suggesting. Spencer/Xbox are now equals with Windows. I know it's hard to believe, but where Microsoft makes money and is successful, they invest. Where they aren't, they cut. It's really that simple. It's not about consumers vs. business, it's about what they are winning at vs. what they are losing at vs. what can they can do that's different. Xbox and PC gaming makes money. In fact, PC gaming has been the only consistent growth area for PCs over the last few years even during the great PC recession. Any further Freudian analysis than that is really missing the forest for the trees. The fact is, for many consumer lines they were never good/popular/successful. This is them finally acknowledging what everyone has known for some time.
  • SoundHound!
  • The Xbox staff role changes feed in to the idea of MS getting rid of Xbox though. Ideal moves if you're planning on bundling up a profit making division and selling it off as a going concern. I wonder if Facebook will buy it? They're looking to gain a more developed games and VR distribution system and platform I believe.
  • Problem is MS is playing a short game instead of looking at the big picture. Fifteen years ago, if Amazon had only focused on what made money, they would have only sold books and cut off everything else. By retreating instead of inovating, MS is going to become something like IBM--profitable, perhaps, but a shadow of what it once was and absolutely absent from the consumer mind.
  • @amy That is Exactly my thoughts!
  • I agree but, Just because you're losing at halftime doesn't mean you give up! Seems like that's what is happening a lot!
  • I agree Microsoft don't want to be customer facing apart from in gaming. The Xbox department is making them alot of £ now even though the PS4 is the better selling console Xbox gamers are spending more and also having it linked to window going forward fits in with them as you now have a choice a pc of your choice or an Xbox s or x depending on the type of gamer you are. I am gutted bout Microsoft pulling out phones though for me android is just not as good as what window mobile was even with more apps
  • What next?.
  • This wasn't "next".... It was a function of Groove. Just count it as 1 with Groove.
    But, honestly? Next will be the brick and mortar stores 🤦🏽🙎🏽 🤦🏽🤷🏽🤷🏽🤷🏽🤹🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽🏃🏽
  • There are brick and mortar stores???
  • Yes. In the US there are.
  • Another MS middle finger to it's dwindling cosumer base.
  • While I kind of agree, you have to ask the realistic question: how many people were actually using this feature in 2018? I can't think of the last time I used desktop Cortana to ID a song. Having said that, I do worry about long-term implications if Microsoft ever wants back in for mobile. I'm not sure what the solution is there.
  • I use it pretty frequently. I'm no the must up to date with music and i will hear a song i like but not know the name. Thus i use Cortana to help me.
    This feature is used on all voice assistants and just signals that yet again, Cortana if becoming further and further behind the competition.
  • Exactly this.
  • Though it might seem unbelievable and outdated I still love my L650 and used the Cortana music search very often so its another kick in the nuts, I`m reinstalling Soundhound.
  • It's a dangerous game they are playing. Discontinue features that have low use which in turn makes another feature much less useful. Discontinue the newly watered down feature and repeat. This is becoming a pattern.
  • I agree. This feels like another short sighted move that will be lamented moving forward. Any one of these decisions on its own can be justified but collectively, I fear these will add up and hurt any chance of new MS device(s) taking off. Consumers recommend products in the enterprise... I remember doing just that recommending Windows NT over OS/2. You can't pretend the consumer market doesn't matter.
  • Dan - What I'm curious about are the details of the deal made with Spotify. Is Microsoft investing in Spotify and thus a vibrant app ecosystem for Windows by trading customers from Groove, or did they simply cut cost? The end game here surely cannot be Windows and Windows Store out of the music streaming game for good.
  • I'd like to think this Spotify thing is much deeper than we know. Having said that, Microsoft is very good at killing things well before its replacement is here.
  • The problem with Spotify - it's available in just a few European countries. I can't get it, can't sing up at all, even if I change the region on my PC. So many people now just left without their playlists, I'm just one of them.  
  • Somewhat of a side track, but does the Spotify lawsuit highlight the reason Microsoft killed Groove in the first place? I wonder if it is possible to make money on a streaming service. I think consumers are all out of touch with reality on what streaming services need to cost for companies (and artists) to make money.