Join the beta for Sleeve. A new Windows Phone 8 app for music lovers

Windows Phone has always been one of the better mobile operating systems with a superb music experience builtin. They may have taken a few steps back with Xbox Music, but you can attribute that to growing pains from building a new music platform. That said, you can always improve the music experience and that’s why we’ve got great options in the Windows Phone Store to keep your tunes fresh. Apps like Pandora, Audiocloud, Rdio, Beem, and others help to give you new sources of music.

Newcomer Sleeve for Windows Phone 8 hopes to do something a little different from other music apps. Let’s check it out.

For most, music is a fairly passive experience. You mostly just listen to your favorite artist or genre. But it’s fairly easy to miss new content or concerts from your favorites. Sleeve is an app that will help you not miss new releases, shows, and more. Orange Tribes is the team behind Sleeve, they make beautiful apps. You’ll recognize a weather app from them we’ve covered in the past – Simply Weather.

Launch the app for the first time and you’ll be asked to signin with Facebook or continue without loggin in. If you’ve “liked” any artists on Facebook I’d advise signing in. Sleeve will give you a lists of artists that you’re friends with or like. Then you can choose to quickly select them to follow in Sleeve. Otherwise you can follow artists by searching for them within the application.

Sleeve SC 1

What’s new

After you’ve added some favorites you’ll see the app becoming useful. The “What’s new” section will show the latest from artists that you follow in Sleeve. Right now the new content is pulled in from both Soundcloud and YouTube. It’s a nice way to get music that typically may not be found on a studio album from your artists.

Mix & Match

The section right next to What’s New, Mix & Match recommends artist for you to follow based off the ones you currently follow in Sleeve. Tapping their name will launch you into the artist view.

Artist Profile

Sleeve SC 2

This is where you’ll get the big overview for your favorite artists. You can get here by tapping a name in the Mix & Match, under artists in your collection, or by searching. You’ll see their name, the different genres they belong to, a mini biography, and links to their various homes on the internet – Wikipedia, official homepage, Myspace, Facebook, Soundcloud, and more. Swipe to the right and you’ll see their albums, Souncloud, videos, photos, and upcoming shows. It’s a nice way to get aggregrated information about anyone you’re interested enough in.

MusicBrainz and doing your part to help. Join the beta.

If you’re checking out an artist and notice something missing from their profile you can help to correct. The backend system powering Sleeve is MusicBrainz. What’s that? MusicBrainz is a “community-maintained open source encyclopedia of music information.” In English that means you can easily join the MusicBrainz community and correct or add information about your favorite artists. Make a correction on MusicBrainz and then launch Sleeve. The correction will appear in the app. For example I noticed the artist profile for Benga didn’t link to his Souncloud, which is a problem since you’ll be missing out on tracks from him in the Soundcloud part of his artist profile.  Boom. Added. I’ve done my part, now do yours.


Super easy to contribute to MusicBrainz, Sleeve, and the community at large

That means the success of Sleeve is both dependent on the developers and the community using the app. It’s a fairly cool relationship for an app that is both free, functional, and beautiful.

The app is currently in beta and the developers want your help in fleshing it out. The purpose of the beta is to find and squash bugs, but even more importantly the devs want you to give feedback on what you want in a music app. They’ve created a UserVoice for features that should be added or removed in Sleeve.

Sleeve Music Beta

Sleeve is currently only available for Windows Phone 8. Go to Sleeve Music if you’d like to join the beta.

Sam Sabri
  • I wouldn't necessarily call Windows Phone's music experience superb. In fact, it is mediocre compared to Android and iOS. That out of the way, it's always a good thing to see apps like this hit the store. We need more of these. 
  • Music is at least better than video support, because there is pretty such none.
  • I can see iOS, but it's worse than Android?
  • Because it's really not that bad. It took a hit with Xbox Music. But Zune + WP7 was amazing. It will get there again and beat  it.  But back on topic... Sleeve is a cool app. Join the beta. Have a great weekend. 
  • Mediocre? Please elaborate. I'm honestly curious, as I have limited experience with those two platforms.
  • No gapless playback. This is a HUGE drawback. Consider Spotify, for example, the Windows Phone app is clearly subpar compared to iOS and Android. You can't say something is "superb" unless you're insinuating some sort of comparison, and side-by-side its competitors, I wouldn't say the music experience is superb, it's just not. Anyone who tells you the music experience is "superb" compared to the others either hasn't used other platforms is being just being downright dishonest.
  • Spot on
  • So not agreeing with you makes one a liar? B.S. My Zune Pass experience was/is SUPERB. My subscription gets me all I can consume music downloads. The PC software was/is excellent and everything just works. Granted they've devolved with XBox Music, but Zune is best in class regardless if there is room for improvement. The other features trump gapless playback...for me. Then again, I don't expect to have everyone want or need the same things as me or I question their integrity.
  • There is a difference between lying and being mistaken. Lying is an intentional falshood and that is not what I read here.
    Btw....I agree with you completely about Zune Pass.
  • Spotiwho? I moved from a Spotify subscription over to Zune Music Pass (now Xbox Music Pass) and haven't looked back. Nokia Music gives you free music if you have a Nokia phone. Pandora gives you free commercial-free streaming till the end of the year.
    Yeah... so all you have in that initial list is gapless playback which doesn't even feature on my priority list since I listen to playlists and not full albums. Insinuating that everyone listens to music like you is somewhat ignorant.
  • I've used all three. Was not a fan of Android. ITunes is still tops for me. WP is fine if I don't happen to have my iPod near by. But otherwise, it wouldn't be my number one device for music consumption
  • I've never liked the UI of anything Apple's made. I went Zune without ever seeing iTunes, and after seeing iTunes for the first time, I was really glad I did. I hated the "wheel" on the original iPods, and I just think the overall interface unimpressive and bland, and not in the good, minimalistic way I tend to prefer. Music's one of the few aspects where I prefer a bit of flash in the presentation, and I just didn't see it with my limited itunes experience, at least compared to Zune.
    Now, compared to Xbox Music? Zune's better, and Xbox Music on the PC is crap, but I find the Windows Phone experience with Xbox Music to be mostly-identical to that of the Zune HD, as far as labeling and such go. I use the Zune desktop software on my PC and Xbox Music on my phone, because I prefer both to what Apple offers.
    Oh, and Android? Worst music player experience ever.
  • I guess its a matter of first impressions and what your used to. For the way I use iTunes (manually adding music), it works. I plug in iPod, add a song and then I'm off. Again, I don't think WP is that bad. I just wish basic functions like easily making a playlist within the app existed. Way to involved and convoluted
  • iTunes is the worst. The shittiness of that interface made it easier for me to move from and iPod Touch + iPhone (low capacity) combination to just a Windows Phone.
  • No
  • ZUNE (Windows & WinPhone) was exceptional, especially compared to the convoluted iTunes, however I have lost all hope that the xBox crapware, and lets call it what it is, will ever come close, and that's not even taking its limited sync, podcasting, and video capabilities... The Cloud doesn't begin to make up for it as its as flawed as the rest of it. Hard for me to believe a division didnt get fired for this mess. Most embarrassing thing I ever did was recommend friends get a winphone for Zune... Long Live Zune....
  • Is gapless playback still missing from Windows Phone? This is one of the few things still holding me back from moving to the platform. 
  • Yes, still missing. Even more annoying is Microsoft's nonchallance about this. Head over to Microsoft's Windows Phone forum and see numerous conplaints about this, but of course, Microsoft continues to ignore this. 
  • Didn't you know, according to all the Microsoft apologists on this site, that Microsoft is busy working to provide gapless playback and other missing features in the next update? And, didn't you know that all the basic things that are missing from the OS will be available in the next version, that is if you're just patient and keep applying the term "next version" to the next calendar year? Oh, and btw... even though Microsoft has developed more mobile OS versions than Apple and Google put together, you need to give MS a break because it took years for iOS and Android to have such features. /s
    So, yes, gapless playback will be in the next update from Microsoft (wink, wink).
  • How many years did it take for IOS and Android to have a people hub?
    Oh wait, they dont have it yet.
    The OSes  are pretty distinct from each other. While WP does lack a few features as compared to others, the others also lack some very neat features that WP provides. How about you accept that a lot of people dont care about the same things as you do and keep that WP bashing a little toned down? This is a WP site, if you cant stand the heat (or cold), get out of the kitchen. (no winks, sorry)
  • Thank you for this.
  • That was (wipes tear), beautiful
  • The difference is that gapless playback is a normal feature to have in a music player. You don't need to try to come up with excuses as to why WP is missing some of the most basic features.
    I don’t recall, on joining the community, being forced to sign a site policy that requires fan-worship of Microsoft, adherence to a manifesto requiring no criticism of the product I use, or requiring that I have exactly the same opinion as all other members. Don’t know what part of the world you’re from, but where I am, there’s still the freedom to hold and express an opinion, even if unpopular. So, unless you’re the owner of Mobile Nations or one of the editors, I’ll stay in the kitchen, thank you.
    All SmartPhone OS have different feature set, but all at least aim to provide the same basic set of features. Advanced/distinguishing product features are different. Windows Phone 8 is missing BASIC Smartphone features, some of these like independent volume control or custom SMS were available in prior Microsoft OS such as Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7.  Microsoft, at least with mobile OS development, has a history of dropping features from OS version to OS version and then taking years to put them back in. They don’t do the same with the desktop OS. They don’t for example leave out the ability to do a file search or to adjust audio volume as they move from Windows 95 to Vista. GM doesn’t build cars for years and then when starting a new car line (Saturn) leave off suspensions and power steering. No, they understand what the basic feature set of a car is and ensure that all cars are built with those features.
    Your argument about people hub for iOS and Android is lacking since people hub is not a basic feature one expects in a SmartPhone, and btw.. Microsoft came out with Windows Mobile (pocket pc) in 2000 while iOS came out in 2007 and Android in 2008 so Microsoft by far has the most years and experience developing and selling a mobile device. I can also make a safe bet that at least 50% of the top ten user requested features will NOT be provided by Microsoft in the next Windows Phone update, but that instead they will dribble these features into the OS over many many years, disappointing consumers as is their history. You’re not required to get out of the kitchen if you don’t agree with my opinion. 
  • I never denied your rights, nor did I ever claim that WP has all the basic features.. It doesnt. But do remember that it can make phone calls and send messages like any other mobile phone. It has a crappy volume control, but it also has a compulsory Camera button. My comment was solely directed at your patronizing tone. You don't know if the next version of WP has these niggles fixed or not, neither do I. As such your particular assertion stands out as not true, yet. You are free to complain all you want. I'll stand by your right to do that. But I can't accept those comments you made above.
    Customer A expects a lag free operation when buying a smartphone; does android provide that? Customer B expects all sorts of customizations when he buys a smartphone .. Do WP or IOS provide that ?
    You see, no OS is perfect. You may have found some OS suits your needs perfectly, in this case say android with its gapless playback. But some other guy like me thinks that the people's hub is a big deal and doesnt give a shit about gapless playback or instagram. Your *basic* necessity is my *dont care* and mine, yours. Get the point ?
    And you are welcome to stand in the kitchen or the living room or the bathroom or wherever you choose. I just got rather pissed at the patronisong tone of that comment which semmed to indicate that WP is the *only* OS that has some niggles which is not true.
  • My apology, when I made that initial comment, I did not as yet realize that you're in charge of policing sarcasm and "patronizing" comments on behalf of Windows Phone Central; I do now. My comments regarding missing basic smartphone features were also obviously out of line and not consistent with your views and those of Microsoft. Hope you can accept my apology. Won't happen again.
  • You BOTH are boring the sh*t out of me. What a bunch of worthless comments.  
  • Oh, thank you so much... Thank you sooo much for lettimg me find my purpose, find my mission in life. Dear sir, from now on I'll make it my ultimate mission to please you with every word I say. 
    We bored you ? 
    Dont read our comments then. Nobody forced you into it. 
  • Gapless playback:
    * 3 people worlwide who use Gapless Playback for the 2 albums cut that way
    * 3 million iOS and Android trolls to rag on WP for not having Gapless Playback
    Oh my gawd, a 1 secong silent gap between my music tracks ---- oh the pain, my world has ended. LOL
  • If I could like your comment, I would!!!!
  • Bless you. I shall consider myself liked. Here, have a free gap " "
  • I have a couple of albums that are gap less (pink Floyd)... because they are one track. Boom. Problem solved.
  • Not for albums....for playlists!
  • Xbox music is so buggy. Miss Zune
  • I miss it too brother...
  • I'm with you. I kept my Lumia 900 as an MP3 player b/c Zune is best in class.
  • I still have and use mine.
  • Is there a radio option? Like what spotify has on other platforms? That's all I want from any music app :(
  • So far this isn't a music app in that sense. It's more for staying up to date with your favorite artists and making sure you don't miss new content. Although that's a good idea and the devs will be reading this comments and whatever you add to the Uservoice. It's a beta! 
  • Pandora?
  • Not available to me.
  • Sorry, mate.
  • i love deadmau5 ;)
  • You like Professional Griefers???
  • YES! But I like the veldt more
  • No matter what goodness comes to the platform, there is always the standard visit from the Housewives Of Covet-Ville.
  • Hahaha...brilliant!
  • Cool, signed up, can't wait to give it a go!
  • So wen will it arrive in-store?? I signed on but.....
  • I can handle the music app, it doesn't bother that much. However, I really miss the video apps from Android. Playto doesn't really work that well for me, I miss imedia light for streaming.
  • Atleast will this have a seekbar  functional??
  • Great ideia!!! Love music!!!
    Now make this app available in the iOS as well and this have potential to become a new fever, just like Instagram did. And, let the Android users begging for this app a long long long time (1 year at least), just like was with Instagram.... :)
  • It's not hard to imagine them making it for iOS. Orange Tribes has experience in both Windows Phone / Windows 8 and iOS development. Making it available for both platforms would be a good move and help the app grow. But it's nice to see they chose to target Windows Phone first.  Wonder why? If only there was a website about Windows Phone that would interview them... ;)
  • Yes, Sleeve needs a iOS version to become popular. :) And, a interview is coming?? Great! Ask them if they will add another languages support in the future...  
  • I'm glad you redeemed yourself with the 2nd sentence, after touting the "superb music experience". Fix the playlists & shitty sync options PLEASE!!!! The 10,000 songs on my SD card suck without playlists!
  • Anybody been able to download this yet?
  • Yup. But I signed up for the beta a handful of days ago. 
  • So wot do u get tha app via push notification or via SMS???
  • Via patience. Check your email inbox. Make sure the email is the same as your Microsoft account.
  • How long does it take to send invitations? I signed up 3 days ago and I am wondering how long will I have to wait
  • This is YABWA  ( Yet Another Black & White App). I know it is beta but i doubt UI will change. At least the developer should try to make it look decent with more colors. 
    Just because VS 2012's default app template is Black/White does not means that you should keep it like that. 
  • Its not just black and white. There is a ton of color, and the gray tinted background is pretty nice with the artist picture behind.
  • I signed what???
  • I don't use such apps. I would prefer music-playing apps, where i think my 920 is clearly behind (both visually and functionally).
  • Can't believe nobody has mentioned Nokia Music. Sleeve just seems to offer a subset of features already available in the basic player (gigs, biogs, tweets, images etc). Plus Nokia music is also Pandora too. Guess there's a bunch of people on this thread who bought an 8X by mistake :P
  • Nokia music is not available in canada
  • Nokia Music is only available on Nokia devices, not everyone uses a Lumia!!!
  • What? Why?
  • Can't find it in the store here in canada
  • Sign up for the beta. Link above.
  • I'm still rocking my Zune HD until it breaks which I doubt it ever will. Hell my original brown Gen 1 Zune still works. But Xbox music on my 920 isn't half as bad as it is on win 8.
  • LOL yeah mine too, actually I haven't powered it up on a while but I'm sure it works.
  • Mines alive and strong.. use it at the gym for over 3 years and it's taken a beaten.  I'd love for them to refresh the hardware at some point. Not sure they'll ever will though
  • Hearing the situation others are going through makes me sad. I didn't have a problem problem syncing my playlists over from Zune through WMP but the situation for music purchased through the old Zune is looking pretty messy. I hope it gets fixed for the sake of all the audiophiles out there.
  • Completely disinterested in the social media elements of Sleeve but if it plays my music without glitching, throwing up random alerts claiming it can't play a track & then playing it, shows the album data correctly and lists the tracks in the correct order then it's a step up from "music + videos".
  • My HTC 8x has bad third-party apps sound quality. I had 8s too, it had the same problem. Have you experienced the same sound problems? Can it be that windows phone doesn't allow third party apps DAC processing sound, so instead CPU processes the sound? Tried to listen through may headphones and speakers.
  • Really do hope Microsoft redesign their music player app with well visualized album art
  • /sigh I just miss the Zune experience. Really, the sync part of it most. My music is pretty useless as I was accustomed to easier management. Windows Media Player works, but it is not Zune. This reminds me that I need to probably cancel my pass as playlist management is too tedious. Other streaming solutions will work fine now that we have options. This new app looks promising. Hope it will help me find more new music. I'll just have to collection until they fix the travesty of Xbox music.
  • I've never had a problem with windows phone sync. In fact, the drag and drop option (something conspicuously absent from apple products) is a wonderful feature. As for the music experience, wp8 just doesn't have the market share to get great apps out there. However, taking that into account, it is still pathetic that iOS doesn't have any sort of built-in graphic eq, and the eq's apple would have you use are worthless, if you're actually trying to tune your tunes. Windows, despite having so little software support and dedicated manpower at least has that. While it's not a great thing, it's better than some "rock" or "bass booster" eq that was obviously developed by someone with little to no sound engineering background.
    Spotify on iPhone is lacking, as well. Unable to edit playlists? Stupid oversight. windows phone needs better software, yes, but unless more people have wibdows phones, there won't be enough people working on windows software. So I like to support what little new software there is with constructive criticism. o don't care about hapless playback. I listen to music all the time. Hours and hours a day, and the lack of hapless playback really doesn't bother me. the only things that bother me on windows phone music experience are the inability to plays wav files. I'd also like to add that "genius" dies a horrid job of making relevant playlists for me. It seems to work only of I'm asking it to think around top 40s lists with crap like Gucci mane, skrillex, Justin beiber, Beyonce...etc. That kinda stuff. Thus, I find nothing new or interesting through iTunes. Not to mention they only offer 320kb/s, which is kind of a joke for the price they charge. To say one experience is vastly superior would be pretty inaccurate, imo.
  • I miss Zune for the wireless syncing! Man they need to bring it back.
  • Remember the key aspect of WP8 is that a mobile isn't mobile, it's wired. That's the unique feature microsoft worked that hard to be first to maket with such a thing. Joe Belfiore promissed much, and delivered next to nothing.
    Nokia did wireless charging. To compensate that Microsoft did wired syncing.
    Symbian hat wireless network integration of a phone into a SOHO network. Microsoft implemented cable USB connection.
    Sorry but the essentials are missing, perhaps thr skilled coders left Redmond or the board of directors never used a WP8 phone themselves since their secretaries does the sync for them.
  •  Waiting for the big announce on the beta.  Lets do it Sleeve.