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Don't care for Xbox Music? Here's a sneak peek at OneMusic coming to Windows Phone

Microsoft and Xbox Music team are hard at work on improving the app experience for Windows Phone 8.1, but judging some of the comments from last night's update, many of you are still not satisfied with the current level or progress.

Developer Philippe Maes, who makes the popular app Cal, is stepping in to offer his solution dubbed 'OneMusic.' The app is due in the coming weeks, but I managed to get my hands on a release-candidate and I have been using the app for a few weeks now. Here is a quick hands on tour of what to expect.

If you use Cal for your calendar, then you'll see where Maes got his inspiration for the design. It's very similar to that app, and that's a good thing, as I like the clean, minimalist look of Cal.

One Music is has the familiar categories, including:

  • Playlists (plus creation)
  • Artist
  • Albums
  • Songs

Upon initial launch of the app after installation, the app will scan your entire music collection, which could take some time. After that though, the app is very quick to launch, and it will only need to re index if you add new music or the app gets updated.

Users can use the player controls to repeat the songs, repeat the current song and randomize tracks. OneMusic also supports swiping tracks left or right to change to the next song (sorry I forgot to demo that in the video, but it's there).

One Music

If you're using OneMusic to play your tunes, when the app is running the background, and you bring up the volume/player controls, tapping it will bring you right back to the app as expected. And it's quick. There's no lag, no black screens, no issues.

Perhaps the one and only drawback could be a deal killer for some of you: it obviously cannot play Xbox Music DRM protected files. In that sense, OneMusic can't completely replace Xbox Music on your phone if you use a monthly pass option through Xbox. If, however, you just use your own purchased music on your phone or SD card, OneMusic works perfectly, and it is probably the best alternative yet.

OneMusic is due to land very soon, and I'll of course let you know when that happens, including pricing, etc. My initial impressions though should be clear, OneMusic is an app to watch if you're looking for a fast, clean alternative to the Xbox Music app for Windows Phone 8.1

One Music

Watch the hands on video above and let me know in comments what you think the app may be missing, and overall what you think. The developer will be watching and considering your requests!

And if you haven't tried Cal yet, you can grab that app here in the Store.

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.

  • Make Cal free for a day to celebrate! Lol
  • Interesting...people still buy music?
  • Nope lol :D
  • Which is why new music sucks.
  • ^This.
  • I think you might have the cause and effect backwards.  Music doesn't suck because people quit buying it. People quit buying music because the music sucks.
  • And music shouldn't cost money. Concerts and performances should.
  • I suppose you shouldn't be paid for your work either unless you do it in front of an audience.  I'm glad I'm not a professional musician.
  • Well.. music is only a paying product since 100 years... Actually, since a physical support was created to store it. Before that, intellectual products such as music were free. You want money from doing music ? It's only logical that you're being paid for showing the performance rather than fatten yourself of money every damn time someone buys your "one-time" recorded performance. A lot of artists would agree with that btw, only the ones who product music for big money would say otherwise.  
  • So a person shouldn't be compensated for a product they put and money into?
  • Music can be easily made in head and shouldn't be sold. :D music videos and other performances should.
  • @Savinati:  Good thing it's not up to you.
  • Yeaaaa :)
  • And you expect to pay for recording cost with what?
  • We see what generation you're from...
  • its somebody's works and also their living source. If u can not  buy music than never mentioned it. What will u do when somebody hire u and not pay u a single dime?
  • I kind of have the opinion that newer music has gone down in quality because so much of it is played on crappy earbuds from compressed MP3 by devices with mediocre DACs.   Also, people 'shouldn't' tell peole that the product of their labor 'shouldn't' cost anything.  That's both silly and tyranical.
  • Top 40 quality sucks... Venture out to indie artist and you'll find some gems...and u can buy from them directly or semi-directly...
  • I do.
  • I do too.  Quite a bit of it, as CDs have far better audio quality than mp3s, or any of this streaming mess that passes for music these days.  I guess streaming is okay for your mobile device.  But when I get back to the house, it is all about CDs, DVD-As and SACDs.  Neil Young's Pono Music project launching this fall, should prove interesting.  Bringing the quality of the master recordings directly to the consumer, may prove to be the biggest game changer in music, since Napster. With that (higher resolution music) in mind, I would dearly love to see an app like One Music, but with a companion "server" app that ran on your Windows 8.1 machine at home. You could store music collection in high res on your home computer, and stream/manage it while away from home on your Windows phone. You'd have the option of streaming your music at full resolution, or downsampling it in realtime to a lower [more friendly to your data cap] resolution.  All the downsampling would be done by the Win 8.1 machine, freeing up your phone to just play the stream at your end.  Add in a few social features, like the ability to share the meta for a playlist, or the song you are listening to over Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Back link that social network posting to the Pono Music Store (for DRM-free high resolution purchase), and/or the Amazon Music Store (for DRM-free MP3 purchase).  And you'd actually have a far better music "service" app, than anything currently residing on Windows Phone. That really would be a great starting point for a great music player, and if I actually had the skills, I'd program it myself.
  • I like the fact that we are actually discussing music quality on this site. Esp. since MS with it's mobile platform doesn't seem like to give a sh*t about music quality. A music player which is more broken than functional with every update, no EQ function what so ever on windows phone.. No support for higher quality codecs like flac.. I have a phone with a fairly decent DAC (the Samsung Ativ S) but the lack of software to actually *use* it is kind of frustrating..
  • Any music I own is either from ripped cds or torrents. The fact that Xbox music can't/won't play any music other than the select few that I've actually bought when it was Zune, is stupid. This is why I've kept my Zune HD, which has all my music on it and 2x the space as my L925.
  • I've never heard of Zune until last year. :( if only I experienced it to see what the hype was about
  • The best Media device that nobody knows about.  I still use my 32g Zune HD to workout and in my car.
  • Dude, Not sure what you are doing, but the Xbox Music App plays all my torrents, ripped and amazon music with no problem.  My brother converted from an iSuck product and his muisc works fine too.   Side note, I still think the Music apps stinks, and wish they let the Zune team back at it.
  • Makes more sense than renting and being under rules that say your access to your rented music can be revoked at any time.
  • I buy FLAC when I want.  That brings up a question... will this support FLAC?
  • Yes, all the time.
  • What about folder play? Or genres? Can't see it on pics...
  • Yes I still buy music. I just stay away from mainstream garbage.
  • Wow, that seems so mew-zi-cal !!
  • Please
  • Your name :D
  • Please make the release 'faster'!! ;-)
  • Lol +1520
  • Sounds good. I'll have to give it a try.
  • And they should launch update for games app too like music as with wp8 games opened instantly but in wp8.1 it takes 15sec to open in my l520 whereas video app does not work.
  • I don't really care. I mainly use Spotify.
  • Fascinating.
  • I love your sarcastic replies.
  • Lol
  • I don't really care for Spotify
  • I don't care either I'm using Nokia Mix Radio
  • Haha I didn't know tapping the volume bar brought you back to the xbox app either, nice one !!!
  • Yeah, this is something that'll keep bringing you there no what what music app you use. 
  • Not really. Try do the same with Nokia Mix Radio
  • Nice app but I don't think that you willb be able to access your online collection. I may be wrong but this was not an option showed on the overview. Microsoft is not allowing access to the cloud collection althoug that should be over wiht the rumored change to OneDrive.
  • I'm pretty reliant on DRM. But this is good for those who actually own their music.
  • Gotta check this out. Too bad it doesn't work with Xbox Music. Awesome selection of music for the walkthrough by the way. One of my all time favorite albums.
  • I have been using that app for a while and it's great. This is for all these people who think only Jesus Rudy can make Windows Phone apps.
  • It's not that he's the only one but he is one of the greats brought much need changes to windows phone - as an aspiring dev his story is great, went from a single dev to a studio to working with Microsoft bringing exclusive features like -lock screen app - But kudos to all WP devs yall make WP great. App is great but too far invested into zune/xbox music, not that I can get the music but all my music is set up, playlist, collection, cloud, and all I do now is check new releases, or download a mix tape or two easier just to pay my 9.99
  • can't they just make this the official Xbox Music App with streaming capabilities for Xbox Music built in? Saves Microsoft a whole lot of work
  • If you have your own purchased mp3's, this is the best option imho. Very clean app.
  • Xbox music is so enoying! I copied 650 songs to my phone yesterday and when i play random it only plays like 60-70 songs and then it repeats the same songs. What is wrong with microsoft why the f! Can'nt they just make easy things like apple and google? No wonder they aren't successful
  • They just fixed this in yesterdays update, now plays full playlist instead of the 100 song limit - it wasn't 60-70
  • So it's not just me then..I always get the same 30 songs though. I can't understand it.
  • Not sure the number it is for me but yeah it never played all of my songs when on random. I guess i'll appreciate the update more after i finish catching up on my podcasts.
  • It's been like that since the Zune days. It made me think why don't they put a flag to the played songs until all songs are played. They keep playing the same song over and over, I mean it's like listening to KIIS FM.
  • Someone keeps rebooting things at MSFT. The Music app worked great before the 8.1 changes. Zune was the best music software on the planet but they got rid of that for a name change. I hope they don't redesign the app again for WP9 and fuck us all again. As a paying customer of a Xbox Music pass for years now this is not acceptable, I am stuck in this music ecosystem because I gave up on CD's and torrents for the convenience legality of a subscription service. Do better Microsoft, the performance of the app is still unacceptable.
  • looks real nice
  • Does it support livetile like the old Music app in WP8? It would be great if the app can connect to too
  • Hopefully it'll be easy to maintain and edit already existing playlists right? Prevent track duplication in playlists should be included as well. And since you mentioned feature requests, could the developer actually make smart playlists? Such as recently added, recently played, favorites (to actually have some use of that heart icon from old music player). I'd buy it right away if it had those features. Favorites playlists is a must for me.
  • Not sure how I feel about the UI.
    Goddamit, the layout was already there for the music player since Zune--why did you have to mess that up Microsoft?
  • Because they're Microsoft, that's what they do.
  • Yeah. Zune was a great platform--it just wasn't successful as it could have been because in seemingly typical fashion Microsoft was late to a market which Apple swallowed up with their iPods. Interestingly enough, the design of Zune obviously shows in the appearance of WP.
  • Even with the iPod success they could have made Zune great as a service. It should have been available from day one on all platforms, Zune Pass was ahead of its time and should have had Spotify for breakfast.
  • Wow love this!!! I cant wait
  • I wish this could have a great animated live tile of Music + Video of WP8 while playing music, support for artist background in the app and on lockscreen.
  • The guys whose phone is on the picture has a great taste in music
  • +RiseAgainst
  • Seems fast and reliable but design wise it kind of sucks. It's my opinion. What sucks even further it's our need to look somewhere else outside WP's Music app which I loved back in 8.0
  • I"there's no lag". There's always lag. Give it some time
  • Does it have background artist images....because i can't stand sein nokia music player having a beautiful ui.....HtC 8X
  • Please integrate the Beats Music API. I'd like to have an alternative to the official app which is "meh" at best. You can still keep all the local playback features, but Beats provides an API for devs to use to play music and such.
  • Me too bro + on that request.....Beats Music please!
  • I still have hope for Xbox music, but this app looks really beautiful. 
  • I don't understand how the Xbox Music team is so hard at work making a music experience just to get back on par, not better, than the one available on 8.0. I just can't understand how you downgrade something that worked perfectly just to do all this "work" to try and get it at least as good as it was and then try to improve upon that. "If it ain't broke, leave it alone" Microsoft. That's the only gripe I have with their updates. They have a history of breaking/altering fully functional parts of the OS and then add them back later like they're doing us some kind of favor. But I digress, this looks awesome! Sorry for the
  • Couldn't agree more. Pick up a Zune HD or a WP7 phone and see the massive difference.
  • Hate to be that guy, but this goes back to Zune. Zune was legitimately good and competitive with iTunes. MS started from scratch to make Xbox music/Music+Videos for dubious reasons and never got back to par with Zune. Now they repeat that again with the phone app. All the while they've fallen behind on the service front to Spotify, Google Music and Beats and others. Mind boggling really.
  • Does it have a rating system? Give me that and you've got me.
  • Just what I need
    Will surely buy!
    I wish it has the option to see how many times you have played a track,editing the song information like name of the artist,etc. And missing album art download would be great too. :)
  • Looks too good to be true :P jk
  • Much as I dislike Xbox music this app looks to barren for me. I'll probably wait for VLC for an alternative, this looks fast and smooth but just dont like the look. Plus how will it handle playlists when you switch devices, would be nice to have a way to migrate them instread of having to be created from scratch.
  • Xbox music works fine for me I can't understand what people are still complaining about
  • My Xbox Music for Windows Phone showed blank just a moment ago when selecting song to play from the songs list. Really disappointed :(
    Looking forward for this app though :D
  • The only issue I have with Xbox music is the maddening way it handles music, i.e., missing songs, mislabeled artists and albums, etc. I don't stream with it, so I can't talk about that, but otherwise the app works other than what I described. Oh, and it also has an issue with taking double albums and merging then as one, which screws things up of it's a live album.
  • Thank you! This shows that it is definitely possible for a talented developer to write a decent music app using the SDK. I can't understand how MS is not able to produce an app that is as fast, fluid and beautiful!
  • given the constant downgrading we get i'd say bad (bad, bad, bad) management combined with a idgaf-attitude...
  • Does it work well with the backend Xbox music service to be able to work with the DRM music? No? Then, this app requires far less work than the official Xbox music and it should be obvious why a basic music player can be done faster than the entire service known as xbox music.
  • It still shouldn't be a problem to load local music though. We're speaking of a big company here, not an indie developer. Microsoft has the resources and should be able to implement a decent app. And they've been working on that app for almost a year now (or even longer).
  • Too busy building ios apps.
  • This should be perfect for me. Any word on a real live tile or lock screen art?
  • Xbox music should fully integrate album releases by Emyxsoft into their app, keep improving their own rubbish then they might win over (including me) the customers. It's so much easier accessing Xbox music via the album releases app rather than losing patience trying to open up the music app.
  • I care for Xbox Music, and I think it's still awesome, despite its quirks.
  • This guy needs to hire at least one designer.
  • I'd like to see the Xbox green as an accent color and have the accent colors be an option for the live tile as opposed to having a transparent tile.
  • Xbox green is emerald, right?
  • I honestly think Xbox music is the worst app/piece of software I have ever used in my life. Trying to create a playlist that doesn't include the current playing song is near impossible. You literally have to switch to playing a video or podcast then go back to your music and start creating your playlist again. The fact that the most basic option to "stop" what is playing is not available is pathetic and makes it worse. The volume warning indicator is going to make me stroke out if we don't get the option to turn it off soon. I don't need to be told what volume I should listen to my music and then have MS lower the volume for me. And for someone like me who uses the speakerphone everyday with the phone not right next to me, the warning and then the lowering of the volume is a pain in the ass. Hate Xbox music with a passion and cannot believe they would release something this awful.
  • This!!! Has anyone figured out when it decides to screw up your volume? I haven't tested it on WPDP but previously on my 920, after the warning would show my phone would not output the same dB at the top volume. I would have to reset the phone to get the same volume. Frustrating!!! Now, it "sounds" like they "fixed" that problem by not letting it get as loud in the first place. But again, I haven't tested that yet.
  • Wow I was so pumped for a second there. Oh well
  • I actually cheered loud when i saw this and registered only to comment on that - THANK YOU! Please make it quick, i need this so bad! Looks like everything i ever wished for except for one thing - please make an additional tab that shows "new Music", as in music recently added to the phone, or alternatively an auto-playlist with the option to choose "music added within 7,14, 30, xy days"! Do that and I'll buy it twice! :)  
  • Does it have recently added and most played like extreme music?? SIDENOTE: Windows phone lacks so much in terms of music apps like rocketmusic player and poweramp on android
  • wow MSFT really dropped by ball by not allowing WP to play protected content from their own music'd think the media API would let you deal with their own stuff.
  • I suppose not having Xbox Music available in my country comes as an advantage this time... No streaming issues since there's nothing to stream, and it works perfectly for me and my humble collection of albums I put on my device. Sure it's a bit slower than the 8.0 hub but it's satisfactory.
  • I'm subscribed to Xbox music, and Zune before that, and I don't have any issues. Like you said its a bit slower than it was before but it doesn't take long at all to launch the app and start playing music. My only complaint is that when continuously playing music it stutters at times, it's not the phone app and must be an issue with the service because it happens on my phone with downloaded music as well when I stream on my Surface or Xbox.
  • Amen. I hope it makes Microsoft look like the asses they have acted like in this three year mess they refer to as Xbox Music. More give me an app to organize and okay my movies and TV shows and ask will be well.
  • Seriously, I think the reason why Microsoft is not making a good Music app is because they want developpers to raise the number of apps in the Store, those apps should bring at the same time improvement to the Music app !
  • If It doesn't have live tile i don't even care
  • Took minimalistic for my liking.
  • Seriously, how pathetic would it be if a third party dev made a better music app before the Microsoft Team...
  •'s already shameful that this is the case,but I am grateful he stepped up and has a app that will work as it should've been.
  • Wow- that's great- exactly what I wanted for my local music collection. This is great and I would gladly pay for this app. Two things that seem missing for me would be songs not having track numbers when you select an album and the ability to sort by album artists not song artists.  Maybe Microsoft should just hire this guy.  Great work!  I was actually looking at Android phones today because of the Xbox Music app debacle and this resotres my faith now.
  • That's ok if u have space to keep your music on mobile. SD card please. . Deezer still better than Xbox music
  • Will this app stream or download your owned music from OneDrive?
  • Absolutely perfect!!! The best thing to happen to WP since 8.1 :)
  • I would like to see integration with Lyrics Wikia. I don't want to go through the effort of adding lyrics to all of my music and I have used players in the past that integrated with Lyrics Wikia and it worked great. I have been waiting for this sense moving from webOS to Windows Phone 7.
  • Lock screen support? I'd like to see album art instead of artist art. I really like that it goes to the app instead of just being a temp UI for music like others are (such as Listen).
  • Yes please....I'll second this request as well...
  • Should have mentioned that deal-killer first ;)
  • Just brilliant. I want this right now.
  • Will it allow download of your Onedrive music to your phone or SD? 
  • First off....a hearty Thank You... I've been waiting anxiously for this. If I were you I would petition Microsoft to include your app with every WP worldwide. Will transparencies be offered on the initial release? Do you have any plans on doing the same type of app for video playback,since there is just as much need? I would be glad to help with the beta testing if you are. Thanks Again
  • You know what I would want from a music client? Autoplaylists, based on artist, album, rating, play count, recent items, etc. At this point I don't care if it comes direct or from third parties, just get it in there already!
  • Rise Against: top choice.
  • It's cool.
  • Promising and humiliating to Microsoft music team, but I guess they deserve it... We need a good video, games and facebook app also, sadly
  • But does it have gapless audio?
  • I use "Listen" for over a year now :) it's a perfect app for me. REALLY fast. the app received a new update last week and n