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Microsoft publishes Xbox Music app for Windows Phone 8, focused on the cloud

Hot on the heels of Xbox Video coming to Windows Phone 8 today, Microsoft has also pushed out a separate app for Xbox Music. While we’ve known about the Video app coming, a separate one for Music was not expected this early.

Heading to the Windows Phone Store, you can find the app resting at just 6 MB in size. It does require a Xbox Music Pass account to log in, as this app seems more focused on the cloud (though it can access your local music as well). In addition, Microsoft has added back Radio and editable playlist support with the app, giving it a slight edge over the native version.

Xbox Music

"Want the latest and greatest Xbox Music features on your phone?  With the Xbox Music app and your Xbox Music Pass you can explore, stream and download millions of songs on your device.  It’s the best way to get all the music you love on your Windows Phone."

  • See artist details with pictures, bios, album lists, and related artists
  • Manage your personal music collection, shared across all of your devices
  • Explore top songs, featured artists, and recommended albums to easily discover new music
  • Download songs for offline playback
  • Create and manage playlists that automatically sync across your pc, tablet, Xbox, and the web
  • Radio instantly creates playlists based on your favorite artists
  • Stream ad-free music from a catalog of tens of millions of songs

Once again, by having a separate app, Microsoft can dynamically update the Xbox Music service on the fly as opposed to having to roll them out in an OS update. For now, users can have two versions loaded on their phone, but in the future (Windows Phone 8.1) we envision Xbox Video and Music being separate apps all together and not baked in.

From the official post (opens in new tab) about the app: "Xbox Music Preview is available in all 22 markets where Xbox Music is available today... The full release will roll out in 2014. "

Regional availability: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States

We’ll follow up with a video and more info later, but for now, you can head into the Store to pick up Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8 (Music Pass required).

Thanks, WPScoops, for the tip! 

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.

  • yay!!!
  • Pshhh, it doesn't even animate the tile while playing music. It's also missing the album art. The cloud would be fine but that also uses my data.
  • +920 All it needs is the live tile...
  • I don't get it!!?? Microsoft owns Windows so is it asking too much if I want the "Live Tile" feature??!!
    The Xbox Music & Xbox Vodeo apps just sit there...not flipping not updating, just "Android Looking". I'm sorry I love Microsoft but dislike some of their design choices. Btw, same for the Xbox Glass App.
  • Yeah. WP7 at least had a tile that showed the picture of the last artist being played, that was much nicer. Don't know why they can't have that in WP8.
  • They did with the hub...
  • Ya, that is disappointing, but I would be surprised if that feature wasn't added in a future update.
  • It's weird how the live tile doesn't work. It also seems to show missing art for albums and artist which display just fine in the old app.  
  • I am so sick and tired of this app not having any support for cover art, even when all my music on the phone is tagged. Actually, it did show the coverart before i signed in but after sign in.... GREAY TILES! Great!   Seriously MS! Now fix this!
  • Too bad it looks nothing like the Xbox music app for windows 8.1
  • I will never get though why the tile and splashscreen of the Windows 8.1 app is orange, while the app is green. Same with Xbox Videos. Why not make it green like on WP?! If Xbox is the brand for everything related to entertainment, then everything related to entertainment should be green.
  • Yea it still animates the original music&video tile, it it nice for syncing stations with Xbox and windows 8 plus the ability to make playlist
  • This app is so beta that it should not have been released yet.
  • Microsoft didn't force anyone to download this app nor are they forcing anyone to use the app.
  • When they remove "music + videos" they will be lol
  • +920
  • I'm pretty sure at that time it won't be beta and will at least have current functionality along with some new tricks
  • This, FFS, THIS! That orange/red tile + splash screen are disgusting. I wonder who is in charge of these decisions, he/she needs to be fired ASAP.
  • i waas the first!!region issues???
  • For your kind information, neither Xbox Music nor Xbox Video services are available in India, so you won't be able to download these apps. Microsoft is not willing to comment on the availability of the same, which leaves us in a completely hopeless situation. I doubt if these services are ever going to be released in India at all.
  • Why ?? India me log music nai sunte kya ?? Gawaar Microsoft..
  • Atleast we have Nokia Mix Radio.. But this sucks :(
  • I know, it sucks without the Nokia MixRadio+ subscription, which again isn't available in India.
  • just change your region to USA and download it easily without proxy trick
  • Changing my region and downloading apps isn't a big deal. Are you going to buy me an Xbox Music Pass from the US or from any of the other countries where this service is available?
  • For everyone who is saying you need an Xbox Music pass to play locally stored songs, I don't have an Xbox Music pass and I'm using the app right now to play my locally stored songs. If I open the app and go to my collection, some songs have a radio signal next to them (indicating they are part of my collection but not on this device) and some don't (indicating they are a part of my collection and on my device). Without an Xbox music pass I can play the latter on my phone, but not the former.
  • No, you can't. I've tried it already, all it displays is a message stating "You need an Xbox Music Pass to use this app on your phone." with only two options "sign up" and "cancel". Cancel closes the app and sign up takes you to the Xbox Music webpage to sign up for a 30 day trial.
  • Use the hardware return button ;D
  • Oh, okay, you're right. I'm not doing that, except that I am, right now. Don't tell me that I can't do something that I just said I was doing. It makes you look obnoxious. Meanwhile, KarmaEcrivain94 figured out the trick all by himself and even managed to use a smiley face in his reply. Nice guy.
  • Regardless, going by the first line on the app description it's pretty clear you're not supposed to be able to use the app without a subscription.
  • Which is exactly why I came here and posted earlier that that isn't actually the case (at least for now, anyway).
  • Here is the trick... when you launch Xbox Music app, quickly tap on artist, albums, songs, genres or anything on the Collection section before the Xbox Music Pass sign up message pop up and you will be able to use the app.
  • Clearly Anshul doesn't understand how music licensing works. Just because you pirate everything doesn't mean a company can do the same. If the licensing gets worked out in India, they will make the music service available. Sumkay kya?
  • FAIL on thinking you was first haha
  • Wow, lots of Xbox apps now: music, video, music and video, games. I feel sorry for new adopters and the confusion that will cause. I'm assuming they will kill off the music and video hub to avoid duplication.
  • The builtin music and Video will probably disappear once WP8.1 comes out and Xbox Video and Music app will come pre-installed with the update.
  • Don't see that happening as the Xbox music app requires a subscription, not even Microsoft is stupid enough to think people will pay a monthly fee to play music they already own.
  • Obviously they would drop that requirement...
  • I've download Xbox music and see that my current play (via music+video) is carried over. So it should be able to play offline content. The only hindrance is the requirement of music pass is absolute. Until this dropped, I don't see music+video will be removed.
  • They will probably drop it. This is only a preview. Full app is coming in 2014. Probably with WP8.1
  • I assume they would integrate this into the current hub in much the same way music works now except they'll have the ability to update it seperately . 
  • This is cool! But why do we need a pass :'( it looks so clean and sexy I want naow! Can't wait for WP8.1, it's shaping up pretty nicely
  • One reason I like it baked into the OS is that it launches/resumes quickly, not a big fan of the app plans, but if it means quicker updates, that's good. Can you find out if they will be allowing Play To Xbox One on WP within Apps, it's someting I use a lot on my Surface(via Charms bar), but absent on the phone.
  • Radio!!
    Now we just need cloud collection management.
    Off topic: Anyone know of an app that keeps you in the loop for new hits based on artists in your collection?
  • Click and hold to add new song to collection...oh boy! The simple things.
  • You can play music from the Xbox music app in 8.1 to Xbox One? How? I haven't been able to figure it out.
  • Swipe to charms bar, devices, play to, Xbox one
  • It is even more useful for playing videos from your PC on your Xbox One. Love that feature.
  • Also works from Windows 7 via "Play To" in Explorer or Windows Media Player and also works from one PC to another, as long Media Player or XBMC is running on the receiver. Im using this feature to stream music to my HTPC (which runs XBMC).
  • Nokia Mix Radio. There's no need for anything else.
  • @ CJ look into Sleeve or Nokia Mix Radio if you have the artist on your favorites.
  • [please delete this. Wrong comment]
  • I thought the "PlayTo" app could do that? Or are you an unfortunate soul with a non-Nokia device?
  • No that doesnt work, but you can play music on your Xbox and sontrol it using the Smartglass app.
  • It shouldn't make any difference for launch/resume. Baked into the OS only means it is an App that is included in the OS. If it is slower it is likely that due to it being a preview there is a bunch of debug code still present. It may also be due to the cloud integration parts.
  • I need to run a few more tests but this seems to have fixed the most annoying issue in the world-duplicate songs.  I have the old unlimited pass and would download songs to my surface, connect my phone and put them on the phone's storage.  I also had the music collection turned on so if I downloaded songs on the phone it would put them on my Surface.  What ended up happening was I'd have duplicates on my phone- a song in my collection and a song that would stream.  You can imagine how annoying that was, and costly.  In my limited testing it seems to be fixed, but time will tell.
  • I can confirm this problem is fixed.  I've attached two screenshots, one from the original music app and one from the new app.
  • The 'X' in my app list was empty and lonely. Now I have two apps. Yay!
  • This!
  • I said the same thing.  I finally have "X" apps :)
  • Xbox Smartglass can make it 3! Get an Xbox One. It's boss.
  • +920
  • Very nice surprise. Just need cloud locker (like Google Music) and this will be a huge win.
  • THIS would keep me with the MS ecosystem. THIS would bring them up to speed with competitors. THIS is what they need to do.
  • THAT
  • THIS.
  • THESE.
  • THEM
  • Sorry for being a div...but what's cloud locker?
  • They do have a very similar service to Cloud Locker. From a Windows 8 PC you can cloud match the music from your own music collection and then play it from any Windows 8 or Windows Phone device. Even the built in WP8 app supports this functionality.
  • And just like Spotify, this requires a paid subscription. So, useless.
    They better keep the current Video and Music app baked in the OS. For all those of us who don't want to pay for "passes" we won't use but can still have a central hub for media content we, ourselves, put on the phone.
  • "Useless"?  Maybe for you, but not generally.  I have lots of "use" for this.
  • I explained why I called it "useless". All you had to do was read the entire comment.
  • Right there with you on this one. Something people are missing however is that this is a preview. SO I am HOPING to baby jesus that by mid-January this app catches up to the windows 8.1 version. Currently I can stream brand new albums ad supported of course, AND I still have my full music library like I did on iTunes. So lets see how MS handles this, either keep a music+video hub for personal libraries' or join that with their music services WITHOUT requiring a music pass.
  • Yep, I download mu music from amazon or Rio my cd's so this app is useless to me.
  • While I agree that the subscription requirement is stupid you shouldn't tar everyone with the same brush. Separating the Music and Video Hubs means that each hub can focus on what it does best.
  • Yes. But if that pass requirements does not dropped in the future, I don't see music+video hub going anywhere in the future. How can we play music if we don't have music app that can run without paying anything?
  • I hope they ditch the baked-in app and make the Xbox Music app work without a pass.
  • Right now you can trick it and use it without a pass.
    As soon as the app opens, slide over to the screen with the list showing music, playlist, etc. Click on music before the sign in pops up, and you are in.
  • I cant have xbox music,not available in my region,Hell!
  • Me too ...and what is this music pass every one is talking about
  • Funny how it doesn't have a live tile.
  • It sucks! I can't get it in my country, this is where apple beats WP :(
  • So... buy an iPhone. Problem solved.
  • And a dozen more created. GTFO, overpriced, restrictive iPhone.
  • Yes I agree with you totally
  • They say in the article that its just a preview and it will be released in 2014 with WP8.1 for all countries. For poeple without a pass (like me) its useless anyway.
  • Requires a pass???  Why can't they give us the same streaming music on the phone that they do on the PC, without a pass?
  • The Hub concept is gone now. I mean, we don't the app list like we did on the old Xbox Music + Video. I really like lots of the change they made but it seems like the app needs to sign in everytime you resume/launch it. Seems faster. Also the heart option to like a song has disappeared. I mean, I see nice improvement but the team also took out lot of neat feature. The xbox vidoe is good simply because I can access my paid TV shows on the phone now other than I really don't like the general layout of the app. Horizontal layout is not pratical on a small screen. It should be like the
  • I agree, they patched that requirement out of the Android and iOS apps. We should be allowed to play our locally stored music without an Xbox Music Pass.
  • I think there's still the music+video app, no? Or is that replaced by today's apps?
  • It's still there but with WP8.1 I think that will be removed so I'll carry on using that for the moment.
  • Yes
  • Yup...uninstalled. Sticking to Pandora for streaming. Though don't really like the streaming from Xbox music on PC. I must be able to thumb up and down music...not just skip it.
  • It is silly, some songs will play in music and video, but not Xbox Music.
  • I'm sticking to Deezer for streaming. Xbox video is nice and I may use Netflix from now on. Btw I'm getting a PS4
  • See ya
  • Why do people want to stream music through the cloud on a phone? I got my turned off cause it will eat into my limited data.
  • Not everyone has limited data, but do have limited space on their phones. 
  • Or WiFi at work, home, or gym.
  • Unlike other streaming subscriptions, you can download everything, and specifically play what you want.   I have a fairly large data plan, but I still download the majority of the music I want when I'm on WiFi.
  • In this new app you can choose to not use your data plan for streaming music.
  • Because I don't have limited data like you and I don't want to waste hours managing music on the phone.
  • Managing offline music shouldn't (and didn't used to be a chore with Zune). Unfortunately we are now left with the 'sync tool' (which should really be renamed 'sink tool' as its about as useful as a kitchen sink at managing music!).
  • +920
  • Maybe these are also people who don't ever travel on public transport or go to foreign countries where you have to pay extortionate roaming data charges. Or maybe MS doesn't consider these common use cases for listening to music!?! Mobile streaming should be an optional extra rather than the forced de-facto standard.
  • Question -
    It see that you need to sign in... if I sign in, will it sync my collection to the cloud?  I disabled the cloud locker in the baked in Music+Videos hub because I prefer having a local collection instead.  Also is it faster than the current music hub?  (which is already fast)
  • Faster - No
  • Stick to the hub for now. At least until this gets updated...hub is still far better.
  • Woo! Can create playlists!
  • I wonder how well it can do that.I guess I'm going to find out soon enough
  • Created the playlist since windows phone 7 era.
  • Yes, you can create a single playlist, on the fly, since WP7, but that's it.  It was worthless.   With XBox Music you can create a ton of playlists,  find a song, and pick what playlist to put it in and you can also remove a song from a playlist.
  • How about lastfm scrobble and can it play my loved songs? Two very important things for me.
  • Wwowe, they fixed so many things with the new Xbox music. I already u pinned the old one. So ungrateful but it is good and nice surprise. The team is not slow after all.
  • Wish they added "live" tile
  • i'm wondering if I can store content on my sd card using this app.
  • im sure you can store podcasts and songs on sdcard with the hub, i did with my 620. 
  • Podcasts are gone? You can't even search for podcasts. Type in Joe Rogan for instance and you only get his comedy albums not his podcast,,which being highly popular would surely be on the list.
    Also none of my music apps are in there. WTF?
    No tile animation with artist on this app, but tile animation on the Music+Video tile, though that tile does not show the current song playing, you have yo go back to the new Xbox music tile to see that. Crazy.
    Finally you can share what you are listening to with friends on Facebook, though getting to that is a little buried.
    No recently played or history. Also just noticed that if the song title is too long, it doesn't scroll or truncate, it just cuts it off. Weird setup.
  • Podcasts being gone is my concern too. If they remove the current music and video app and replace it with this I feel they should put out a podcast app. I've tried a couple of the podcast apps in the marketplace and I haven't found one I like.
  • Whoa really, I will stay away from this then currently. I need my podcasts.
  • They just published the Xbox video app. More of the same.
  • Anyway to overcome region issue????????
  • Both video and music not available in India...
  • I wish I could use it like the old Music + Video app. I'm lapping in apps, but can't use the new Music app. 
  • Fuck! In India nor XBox video nor XBox music available.. I changed region to US and downloaded the apps but when I chnge region to India back again these apps dont work :\
  • Android got it way before WP. Nice.
  • I'm assuming this is a joke.
  • Nice!   Kind of scared that this will replace the built in app in 8.1... There is no podcast support. Anyone know if 8.1 will drop podcast support from the built in app?
  • I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps they might do a separate app for podcasts (kind of like iOS).
  • It's not like the app is going to stay like this for the rest of time. There will be updates to this app, and I assume that if the plan is to remove the Music+Video hub in a future OS update, they'll make sure that this is equal to or greater than the hub by then.
  • Thats a pretty big assumption considering that when they removed/rebranded Zune and replaced it with Xbox Music many features were removed and are still not available.
  • Why is it saying not available ?? (Lumia 620 GDR3, India)
  • It's not available in india, sorry m8