Xbox Music is pretty terrible on Windows Phone 8.1, but an update is near
Despite the fact Windows Phone 8.1 has been garnering some fantastic reviews from both tech pundits and the masses, it’s not all roses and ponies. I was reminded of this last night when playing with the Xbox Music app that comes with 8.1.
On the surface, the app looks decent. It’s a continuation of the new app structure started late last year by Microsoft, which replaces the ‘built in’ Music + Video hubs of the past. Microsoft is changing the architecture so that the Windows Phone Team can quickly add new features and fix bugs, all without an OS update.
But let’s not mince words: the music experience on Windows Phone 8.1 is subpar, and it has become worse since 8.0. In fact, it sits with a pathetic 2.5 stars (out of 5) on the Store, which is awful for a Microsoft app.
Here are a few complaints of the 'new' Xbox Music app, many of which are extensively documented in our help forums:
- Slow loading, sometimes glitchy, bad scrolling
- No recent music
- Can’t swipe between tracks
- No look ahead for forthcoming tracks in now playing (used to be dimmed)
- No album title data when playing
- Favorite/heart icon is gone
- Confusing playlist support, with doubling of lists, no way to delete
- The now playing drop down screen (when tapping the volume controls) is a shortcut to a blank, black screen instead of the Now Playing section in the app
- The Tile is no longer live (on the Hub version, it showed the currently playing artist on the Tile)
We’re sure there are more bugs that you have experienced, some of which you can share with us below in comments. The point is, it’s a terrible experience, and it’s leaving a lot of users not particularly pleased.
New 8.1 app inbound
Now for the caveats. The app we now have in the 8.1 Preview for Developers is, in fact, basically the old beta version released late last year. It has not been optimized for 8.1, and it obviously needs some polish. That’s good news in the sense that Microsoft is not ‘shipping’ this as the final product.
Last night, Microsoft head Joe Belfiore even tweeted that a new Xbox Music app was on the way:
Actually, the bigger news is perhaps that 8.1 optimized apps for Facebook, Skype and Twitter are also forthcoming.
The question is, how much of an improvement will the new Xbox Music app be over this current buggy beta build? That remains to be seen, though considering how good the OS for 8.1 is, we at least have some faith that the refreshed Music app will also be much better.
Let’s hope so, because the Music experience has been steadily declining since the good old Zune days, and Windows Phone 8.1 certainly deserves – and needs- better in 2014.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
Doesn't really help if they can get out by pressing power button
It looks a bit weird, icon is orange and screenshot is green with orange corner.
Here is the link to store: http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=50a6aef0-4f35-434b-9308-cb3251303ae4
I don't understand why this is not working...
I just want the new lock screen thing so I can scroll through the podcast from the lock screen. Joe Belfiore tweeted that the custom lock screen would be coming - but presumably wasn't ready for initial release
I can't remember the last time I delved into my personal music collection - there's about 50GB in there...but I prefer music discovery these days (then saving those discovered songs either in Spotify Free, or caching the music for offline playback in Metrotube).
Hopefully MS will pull their finger out and give us a proper cloud service for our music so I can *forget* about my hard drive copies.
I want my Artist Backgrounds back ! Since we are talking Media, I'm not particularly fond of Photos app either .... The old one was better.
On that note, I agree completely that the Xbox Music app is absolutely terrible. I really hope this update comes soon because it's embarrassing showing off a beautiful new OS with a less than incredible music experience.
Yeah I hijacked this thread....
Since its dev prev. version of sftwre i'm not complaining much ! Hope the final version to be a better 1 ...with a integrated fully functional File Manager ! and many other functions enabled..! Btwn Cortana s fun.. ;) !
The best thing in WP8.1 ! followed by action center ! :)
But hey, say what you like about Samsung - they've just updated their Folders app to support 8.1.
But why is xbox music green when pc is orange. The biggest bug is games hub.
The xbox games were never listed in app list before. Hope they fix that
*In 8.1 show artist on lock screen is broken
*scrolling song/artist/album titles so you can actually see the damn things
*In 8.1 songs should show up in the regular store instead of just in app because the new search doesnt show album thumbnails on the side (or add album thumbnails)
*add a place to view downloads
*add a draggable bar thing (whatever they are called) to get to a point in a song easier
*fix auto download to Windows 8.1 (never worked for me)
Damn I miss Zune.
For all the pain that I have gone through with Xbox Music, they ought to give me a year free, especially since I've been a customer for almost 6 years straight. If there was one team I would run like a champion at Microsoft it would be this team, they have sat on a huge potential revenue stream and continued to dissapoint in an experience that is core to the human experience.
"okay, launching Xbox Music"
All of my bonus tracks from the original European CDs are omitted and now I have only the album tracks with no bonuses. All of the original artworks were replaced with the American covers. How is that even possible!?!?
Half of my music is not playable while riding the subway to work...for some reasons cannot play the music without LTE.
Very, very strange. Where are my bonus tracks and original artworks Microsoft!?!?!
I love Cortana, but I used it once today. I spend three hours listen music. Basically, please take Cortana back and fix the music app...