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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
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

221 Comments
  • 😢
  • 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.
  • On the same day we learn Kinect adapters are gone. Microsoft just really sucks at this as of late. Doesn't feel like it's worth trusting them with any consumer facing product.
  • I actually used it pretty often curating playlists for Salsa and Bachata dancing classes I give. Very useful on PC and Mobile in my scenarios.
  • I was using this on a regular basis.  Walk into a store and hear a song I didn't know who sang it I used it on my phone.  At home watching a show and hear a song, used it.  I mean there are lots of people who used these features. 
  • And some of the folks think that the surface unicorn is the nxt n evolved mobile strategy. 
  • How many people are using feature X is a very dangerous path to go down... How many use X? 1%... How many use Y? 0.7%... etc. How many use at least one of the 200 features... 80%... But now they've all been discontinued due to each being a small part of the overall usage individually, and 80% of users find their experience utterly crippled. These are absurdly insane decisions long term for Microsoft.
  • Did u ever get a chance to ask the MS leaders as to what if the paradigm change they wait for never comes?
  • Well there was a time not too long ago when Windows was thought to be a tablet OS as well and such use cases were VERY realistic -- but that appears to be increasingly a lost prospect as well with the abandonment of mobile... 
  • I used it just 2 days ago on Mobile.
  • Daniel,   Do you think that there is NO vision for future mobile?   They are just done?   The move of all services to android and apple sure makes it seem like that.  Hell they even approved their apps to work on Chrome.   I think the consumer space for MS is now winding down and they are moving to enterprise only.  
  • @daniel I worry about the long term implications too. Under the previous leadership, they might not have been very good at the consumer side off things either, but dang it, they tried. And even if they also did abandon a number of things, those were mostly already colossal failures, at least in the eyes of the public. However, there were certain products and services that they did stick with, because of long term viability and being core to their strategy, even if people were saying they should kill or sell them. Two of those were Xbox and Bing, which later enabled Cortana. At this stage it seems to me like Microsoft is a little too quick on the trigger when it comes to killing off things. Not because those things were necessarily huge successes, but because they weren’t necessarily huge failures either - and because it seems like they are not eyeing the bigger picture. Just today, I read an article that said the Xbox is now the best set top box out there, because of Kodi support. That’s great, mostly because of perception, but having a great set top box for the living room and then not having a music service... doesn’t match what Microsoft’s competitors in the space are doing. To get the consumer space, you need to go all in, if you are as big a player as Microsoft, and you need to keep expanding, not the opposite. Build on your successes more, too. I mean, Rocky is expanding now. Instead it seems like Microsoft is half hearted and that doesn’t instill confidence among consumers that Microsoft will stick with the next thing they release, thus continuing a negative spiral of not being able to penetrate the consumer market. Now, we may all be wrong and we don’t have the data that Microsoft has to base their decisions on, but these are the kinds of perceptions I am making, from the outside.
  • How many were using this in 2018 Dan? None. It was closed. In 2017 however, I always used it via desktop PC when something came on the radio I wanted to check. I imagine this was not an uncommon use of the service. More likely than needing the service on a mobile for, say, tunes encountered on a high street or other transition location where you can just ask the busker (can't use it safely in a car of course).
  • Daniel the only people who were using it are the people still running W10m. You know the ones who MS keeps taking a dump on.
  • 😪
  • 🚬
  • Lame. Do better Microsoft
  • Not part of Ol' Nads' strategy I'm afraid.
  • Seriously? I should have flipped a coin when buying my first smartphone, Lumia 928. My high was quickly brought down with one disappointment after another. Now I need to learn a new OS. Sad.
  • I think they should leverage their partnership with Spotify to add the skill back to Cortana and expand the feature to Cortana on iOS and Android. They really have no excuse since she can ID Spotify songs on the Invoke.
  • Not the same. Cortana doesn't ID songs on the Invoke like here with AI. Cortana merely matches what is playing on Spotify e.g. "looks it up". Cortana can always "see" what is playing on Spotify, which is why it shows you the play list in Cortana. No need to AI it when Cortana has the info. That's why it's so fast on the Invoke. It's not sampling itself.
  • You would think that Microsoft would have deals with the likes of Soundhound and Musixmatch to identify songs, it doesn't need to link to a store but just identify the song.
  • @Daniel Soundhound works with me. Did you forget Soundhound?
  • If you could provide the PC link to this app that would be helpful. It doesn't pop up in the store for me at all.
  • Noo this sucks! This is one of the things I used Cortana for on my Lumias. Song ID is very important for me for any phone I use. I get why but this is another thing that killed the dream for me. :(
  • Retrench!
  • If I didn't know better I would say there's a smidgeon of sarcasm in your tone.
  • Reset!!
  • Shocked...../s
  • How shocked?
  • NOT SHOCKED.
  • Lol
  • So Cortana is pretty much useless to me now. I dont use her for anything else but that lol!
  • Same here. Cortana was invaluable to me less than a year ago. Now I rarely use it except maybe the occasional desktop search.
  • 🎈
  • Nice 80s reference there.
  • Lol.... How do you know it's not an "it" reference?
  • Was I dreaming?  Didn't Bing on Windows Phone 7 have the option to identify music?  Maybe Windows Phone 8?  Long before Groove came around.  
  • Yes, it did.
    Bing on WP7.5 was awesome. Even the terrific WP8.1 never reached the functionality of what you could address from hitting that search button.
  • I would be happy with windows 10 mobile if MS backed it!  but they jump off the titanic YEARS AGO!
  • That is so ****. One of the best features of Cortana. I'm seriously upset
  • Sh*t!! I used that feature a lot. I was kinda anticipating this, though...
  • Keep on “standing your ground”, folks.   Keep on being a “loyal Microsoft customer”.   There is more of this coming, guaranteed.  More services killed, more products dropped.  More crocodile tears shed here over being “shocked - SHOCKED - to find that gambling is going on in here!”
  • Hey Cortana, what the hell can Cortana still do?
  • LMAO. Why in all hell are they sticking with Nutella? Absolute idiot. Just kill Cortana at this point also.
  • I am no fan of Natella (I miss Steve Ballmer), but Natella is shareholder's dream: knows to get the stock price up.  That usually happens by killing lots of products and laying off LOTS of people.  Ballmer threw money at everything until it was beyond obvious that there was no future (Zune).  He gave things on the consumer side a chance.  Remember the red ring of death?  Natella would have killed Xbox right then and there.  Not Ballmer; Microsoft has so much money in the bank, he kept throwing money at it until it stuck.  Oh and worked ;)
  • I miss Ballmer as well as he at least gave products a chance to be successful.
  • I don't understand it either, more to the point I don't understand why the shareholders seem to love his strategy of "Hit Reset... all the way back to being enterprise only".
  • Shareholders love all strategies which bring them money. They wouldn't even care if Microsoft starts selling shoes tomorrow.
  • LMAO. This guy again. Nadella has been great for Microsoft. No amount of butthurt from you is going to change that.
  • Ha, found one of the stockholder here. Karma will get you and Satya sooner than you ever imagine.
  • Nutella has been great for the suits, he's been awful for the people who actually use MS products. Soon enough there won't be many using MS products, then lets see how the suits feel.
  • Someone in Microsoft, I am sure is working undercover to destroy the company...
  • It sounds like grounds for a class action... It seems reminiscent of apples' slow-gate
  • No, no it does not. And no lawyer will agree with you. Not everything in life is solved by suing. Americans think this, but we're also very lazy people who whine a lot.
  • Geez I don't know what Americans you're talking about but the family I'm from we're not.
  • Daniel, it's it fair to say "we're"?
  • Apple slow-gate is not even going to make it through the court systems....so this def. will not.