Thoughts on XBox Music

Since moving to Windows 8 and a Windows Phone I have also moved from Spotify to XBox Music as a result. It seemed like a logical move considering at the time Spotify did not exist on the Windows Phone (and to some degree still does not). So, how is the XBox Music experience? Let me tell you a few things about it.

Music Library
I listen to all types of music. I listen to a lot of punk, ska, techno, hip hop, etc. Almost anything to entertain my ears. With that said XBox Music’s library does fairly well surprisingly. It’s almost comparable to Spotify I have to say. There may be some bands that refuse to allow their music to be streamed (Metallica for example) but other than that I have all the music I need at my finger tips. It feels good to have that sort of capability.

XBox Music On Windows 8
I’ve used the XBox Music app/tile several times. It is not an easy app to maneuver through. It’s not 100% clear where to search initially or what you are going to play when you click on a link. It’s sort of a surprise with every click which gets kind of annoying.

Building playlists is also a pain tricky process. I’ve tried and I have done so all by mistake. But after you build a playlist good luck trying to find it in order to play it. This kinda of pain feeling frustrates me that I do not even bother creating them here.

I don’t listen to music much while I’m on my desktop at home luckily. The interface is nowhere as smooth and straight forward as the Spotify desktop client. But lets be honest, we’re familiar with the Spotify desktop interface as it mimics the interface of iTunes which almost everyone and their mother has used. Familiarity will most of the time win the majority. I give Spotify props for this!

XBox Music on Windows Phone
The interface may almost be similar to the Windows 8 interface it is a bit stripped down and easier to maneuver. Initially I was constantly getting confused as to where my local music was stored at and where I can go to stream music. After a few weeks I started to get the hang of it and now I feel pretty comfortable getting around. Though, took awhile to get to this point.

Offline mode is a big draw for me. I drive in areas where the signal is not so great. Spotify had it and it was an awesome feature. Well, so does XBox Music and it works just as good for me. I love the ability to download music to my phone through the XBox Music membership. Luckily my phone also has 32GB that I have dedicated most of it to music. This is a huge sell for me. Really big deal.

My only gripe with XBox Music on the Windows Phone are playlists (again!). You cannot add just a single track to a playlist. You have to add the entire album to the playlist. Excuse me? Why? This sort of defeats the purpose of creating a playlist. As a result, I don’t even bother to try…EVER.

XBox Music via Browser
I use the browser version mainly while at work. No client is needed. Just log into music.xbox.com and you have the ability to search for artists, song, or albums and stream it. So far no real issues with it and I prefer it versus the XBox Music app/tile on Windows 8. As a result of the playlists issue above I still do not bother trying. Overall, way better than I expected it be and way better than the Win8 app/tile.

So there it is. XBox Music is a decent replacement for Spotify in my opinion. It’s not as fluid if you will but it does get the job done. The majority of my usage is on my Windows Phone. Unfortunately the Spotify app has gotten very poor reviews that I just had to give them up. But like I said XBox Music is pretty decent. It’s not great by any means but adequate until something better rolls around. I just wish playlists were handled better. It’s almost non-existent to me.

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Author: Mike

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