Don't expect Xbox One background music playback until the summer

An inquiring fan asked for an update on the long-awaited feature, requested by over 20,000 people on the Xbox One UserVoice feedback site. Phil Spencer's reply will dash hopes of getting the feature before the summer.

Phil Spencer tweeted the following response:

..."Won't be before summer sorry to say."...

At present, music apps like Groove Music can only deliver audio if they're snapped, taking up a large portion of screen real estate in the process. The ability to listen to background music has been promised for some time, as noted by platform head Mike Ybarra in our interview with him back in November:

..."[Background music] is on the backlog and Phil reminds me almost every day about it (laughing). The great thing about Windows 10 on Xbox One is that it really allows us to increase the efficiency of the system, other tasks that take resources to run become easier for us to implement. Background music is something we know our fans want, it's on our list, and we're definitely looking at it."...

The fact that we're still waiting for background music is hopefully a matter of priorities. Mike Ybarra previously noted that the studio is working on two or three backwards compatibility-tier features in terms of complexity. With that in mind, the reason background music could be taking so long is because the team is working on something even more grand. Although that could also be a case of wishful thinking.

Mike Ybarra tweeted to say that we'll hear something about February's Xbox One update "soon", and we know that it'll at least include the ability to view a party's participants without joining.

How important is background music to you? Let us know in the comments, or drop a vote on the Xbox One UserVoice page.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • I think they need to change snapped apps, so they appear on the menu bar, and therefore can be hidden, or made persistent. I hate having to have things snapped to record, play music, etc
  • Dude, you are onto something there
  • Indeed!
  • This is a big feature that is missing, sooner it's added the better.
  • Yep
  • I missed this feature the most while playing magic online but my workaround was to use mix radio on my phone and use BT headphones
  • Yup. Especially since it was already possible with the 360
  • On XBOX One? Absolutely no value to me. ZERO.
  • Many find value in it, though I am not one of them. If i am gaming I want game audio. I use Groove often on the One, but while gaming is not a need for me. Again though, many find value.
  • I certainly do! I want apps like MixRadio to work on my Xbox, is that too much to ask?
  • Yup, for example I always enjoyed playing Diablo 3 on my PC with some Rob Zombie on (it's the best combo, hands down) and now as I bought an Xbox One, I wanna do the same thing.
  • Your comment? Absolutely no value to me. ZERO.
  • Ditto :P
  • It is not bad. It does lack features and it is not as powerful as the PS4 BUT it IS more silent than 360/PS4, has better controls, a nice kinect system (that now seems dead btw) etc. What’s frustrating that it is like a normal Microsoft product, it is half baked and inconsistent and with a focus from the company behind it that changes from month to month... It is sold as “the center of the living room” but has in some areas less functionality than what we had in the 360… Music w/o Spotify or any decent way to play music is a joke for such a system.
  • Soon*tm, now on Xbox.
    Did MS not realize how loved this was when making the One?
  • I'm sure they do (especially since it pretty much says that in the article), but I'd rather bugs be fixed, and things streamlined. I can always listen to music through other sources. It's certainly a hinderence, but it's much less of a pain than say, my Xbox crashing.
  • This is happening? I never had that kind of problem :-o
  • It's also a problem with UWP apps on Windows 10 desktop. For example, the "Voice Recorder" universal app pauses recording when it is minimized.
  • That could be a legal thing. Imagine setting it up and then leaving the room hoping to get some juicy audio from people that are unaware it's recording. That's a law suit waiting to happen.
  • You could do that with the built-in Windows Sound Recorder programs in all previous releases of Windows. Don't make excuses for it, it's a current limitation of UWP. Hopefully they will fix it.
  • I don't think that's a limitation of UWP.. It was either left out intentionally or just not coded properly, those are my guesses.
  • All uwp apps are paused when they are minimized. Things that should work in that mode should be put in a background task (which is a bit harder to work with).
  • This works on PS4 with Spotify which is pretty neat. Hopefully Xbone gets it as soon as possible Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • And to not even have Spotify is really bad for something that should be "the centre of the living room"...
  • All in one...apart from the most popular music app not in this particular One...
  • I asked Spotify once about a Xbox app, they told me that they have an exclusive agreement with Sony currently.
  • I have high hopes that someone will make a SoundCloud app as soon as people can publish apps for the one
  • This should have not even been an issue. Xbox was able to do this back when the 360 came out. Why couldnt they just have added with the normal release of XBOXONE. Now they are running windows 10. Cmon.
  • The xbox one was rushed to the market. Same with PS4. They both have such fatal errors ...
  • I really wish they would hurry up with this feature. Believe it or not, being able to play your own music in the background is enough to add a decent chunk of replayability to many games.
  • Yeah, man. You can only deal with so many replays of the NBA 2K soundtrack.
  • Xbox 360 has this and ONE don't... my god.
  • The ORIGINAL Xbox had this and the One doesn't. Inexcusable.  
  • How about our proper bloody Miracast support? That's really been a long time coming!
  • Isn't there already an app that can do this?
  • An app on the Xbox One?
  • I think so, yes. It came with some of the preview-dashboard apps ... I thought they might have released it to the public now ... but maybe that is not the case ...
  • I think that's only for the Preview Program version of the dashboard.
  • Although it's a feature I have been wishing for, I am hoping it's done right so that it does not impact gaming. It should also be done so it's easy to switch on/off without needing to jump out of another app, such as a certain button press. If needed, tie it into the Chatpad, if necessary - although this would be an issue for many, I'm sure. But because I have one...hehe!
  • If they built it into the chat pad, they could also build it into a little $5-$10 device that is dedicated to skip/pause and mute of your mic.
  • It's really a shame that we stay so far behind the competition in these kinds of features... It's always one step forward 6 steps back with Microsoft. Zune music to Xbox music.... Placeholders in 8 gone in 10.... Background music on the OG Xbox and the 360 are absent on the One.... Getting tired of your **** Microsoft, but damn those tiles and UI got me hooked.
  • At least with the new uservoice approach one can do something about it
  • When i bought xbox at2003 i think was able to do that and at xbox360 too so why people cant do that at xboxOne???I really love xbox series more than ps and nitendo but the xbox one is really bad.
  • I thought background music playback was in the Xbox 360? I'm not sure on that one I've never used the Xbox 360 for music playback. I used to listen to Van Halen's 1984 while playing Madden '06 and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 on the original Xbox.
  • It was on the 360. I used it for background music on some of my games during gameplay.
  • Same, basically any open world game I cracked my own music, it was blissful.
  • It comes when it comes.
  • Could care less about background music.  But I REALLY don't want backward compatibility to fizzle out like it did with the 360, where we get a few games and a lot of fanfare and then a couple more games and then "nothing to report at this time."  I'd much rather they spend their time on that and on fixing the bugs that are already there :-P
  • Never wanted it. But I. Know a lot do. Predictive text input is far more important to me.
  • Not even sure why you would want background music. Anything I'm using my XBox for has audio that I want hear. If I just want music the Xbox is one of my options. What I want is Cortana and some better Kinect functionality.
  • There's a thousand reasons. If you can't think of one either you aren't a gamer or don't have a very big imagination.
  • It's simple, open world games. Playing saints row on the 360 I would always listen to my own music, during cutscenes the music would stop, so you wouldn't actually miss any story info, and resume once the scene was complete.
  • Wow I can't believe it's taken this long. Something the 360 can do no problem. They really did not plan the OS well at all if it's this difficult to add bgm. MS has really been slipping lately. Hope they can do better with Xbox at least since WP is clearly dead.
  • The one was a giant mess from the start. This console was rushed (just like the PS4). And you can feel it in every inch of the OS. However I am pleased to see, that development is at a fast pace and the xbox one has already changed that much from when it started.
  • I don't get it. They had background music on the Xbox 360 forever, without any problems. And now they are replicating their older console at a really slow pace. More than 2 years later and Xbox 360 has features the Xbox One does not.
  • "Don't expect the Xbox One OS to be as feature-complete as its decade-old predecessor until almost 3 years into its life cycle." Man, this is stupid. It's bad enough we can't locally store our music on the console, rip CDs, or plug our phones in to read music, instead behind funneled into their trashball Groove Music software and awkward OneDrive (whose free storage they're cutting) storage solution.
  • I would like to be able to use the music from my phone on the Xbox I mean I have the Xbox music pass for crying out loud
  • It's very important to me because I like playing my racing game forza with background music.
  • that's just embarrassing
  • So I assume Xbox is essentially beta as well as Win10PC/Win10mobile?
  • Yep. Gives the fanboys a perpetual defense anytime something doesnt work right.
  • Very reminiscent of Dr Dre dropping Detox. The fans waited so long, just to be let down. Come on MS folks...its okay to come with the haymaker to win a fight. A lot of times you end up with more body damage and still get the win but them combo shots then the haymaker, makes for better and more enjoyable entertainment! "Are you not entertained?!!" Uuuh, NO!!
  • WinRT10, a.k.a. UWP, strikes again. A trivial Win32 task requires six months of core work to replicate in the new Wunderkind.
  • Well, win32 wasn't finished in one day either
  • Yes we needed this all along. But we also need it to replace in game music as well if we wanted. Custom station on GTAV, you're favorite sports team coming out to custom tracks (NHL 16).. Just like the original Xbox
  • Consider also that the feature has to ruin behind everything
  • not as important. stability is what i want and consistancy across the os.
  • Was just thinking about it today, highest on my wish list.
  • Spotify?
  • When Ms confirmed the design of a new xbox ( i remember some guys named it 720) i thought the best console xbox360 with new system no red ring more powerfull and better graphics+more abillyties and aps.
    And what MS do for that???
    They kill xbox 360 devs eat them and they hire stoned monkeys for xbox one to make DDR3ram instead DDR5,900p resolution.When PS4 runs 1080 and pc 1444p.
    Im an xbox user from 2003 and this is the 1st time that i want to delete from my mind xbox console
    HOPE next time Ms bring back our glorius xbox pc killer!!!
  • Why did the last couple of "updates" actually feel like downgrades to me.... I'm sorry but I'm one of those people that loved the original dashboard layout and gesture controlls... And after the most recent bug fixing update my voice controlls seem to also be broken.... It makes me think... Mmmm ok so they will add background music, what are they going to remove to achieve this? As tge Xbox one seems to be grossly underpowered for all microsoft wants it to do.... Maybe we will lose the kinect mic for chat... Or auto sign in (which also worked flawlesly until the NXOE update..... Sigh :(
  • Speaking of backround music.... Pandora on my SP3 randomly starts playing music when its not even opened lol
  • People game while listening to music? I don't think that there are people who can concentrate on both at the same time
  • I will never use it but do understand why others might.
  • So considering it's the middle of Summer for me, it should be released soon? :P