- 12-25-2012, 12:34 AM #1
So, I used to have the Zune Pass $150/yr for unlimited downloads and 10 song credits a month.
I dropped this in favor of the $99 XBOX Music plan for a few reasons:
A) Windows Phone 8 uses Xbox Music, not Zune and its credits.
B) XBOX Music is current software, Zune is legacy software
C) XBOX Music PC software cannot cash the Zune song credits, and I do have Windows 8 + XBOX music
D) I was starting to top out on my Zune Pass credit "must buys"... Meaning I was starting to buy obscure trance with my credits, I was actively having to seek stuff out to buy because I already bought everything I wanted. Thus I felt I was essentially spending the $50 in credit in stuff I didn't need, which had to be done as the credits expire each month.
E) Often was able to find the same album cheaper elsewhere, or sometimes even when bought outright, than the equivalent of using the credits. If albums were more than 10 songs, it exacerbated the issue.
I started using XBOX Music and pretty much decided that it is not too great in its current form. It has the ability to be great but there are a huge amount of problems:
A) Utter failure at media management and sorting. Zune did it right, XBOX Music does not (in fact it barely does much of anything). It is often difficult to find the albums I want to listen to. No sync abilities. No transcode abilities. Basically, none of the tools you need to manage a media library. It clearly focuses on streaming in the spotlight and everything else is an afterthought.
B) Odd bugs such as duplicate song listings especially if the album is found in the "cloud." don't know the technical reason behind why it is happening but it shouldn't.
C) It looks ugly and boring compared to Zune. I know this may be preference, but I opened Zune and saw splashes of color, beautiful visualizations, and all my album art. I open XBOX Music and see drab gray (opposite of WP8 style cues), ugly visualization (album art + triangles, how exciting!). How did Microsoft go from the most stylish media player to the least stylish, that simultaneously fails to match the colorful cues of its hardware?
D) No way to sync to Zune hardware, SD card, Windows Phone, or any hardware for that matter that I can see. Would it REALLY be that hard to port over their Zune sync code, even if it remains hidden until a Zune is connected? As it stands, I have to use two media management programs. Let's not forget also WP7 devices with Zune-hardware interfaces by Nokia are still being released, even if they are the minority - should people have to use two totally different programs if their household has both a WP7 and WP8 phone like mine? If someone bought a Nokia 900 three months ago, do you really want them using Zune software instead of XBOX Music for the next 1.5years? That is assuming sometime in the future XBOX Music syncs to WP8...
E) The marketplace layout is confusing, unintuitive, and fails to highlight promotions. Take a look at Amazon MP3 and you'll see a great way to promote what is on sale, deals, etc. XBOX Music does not concern itself with this, only the streaming subscription service.
F) There is still no family pass. I should be able to connect say 5 devices to XBOX Music for $99/yr over 2 accounts by default, then add an addt'l 2device/1account for $10/yr or something. As it stands, $200/yr for a family of two or $400/yr for a family of four is highway robbery. The header of this bullet point is also the grade I would assign XBOX Music thus far compared to other modern media programs.
G) Microsoft has not released a standalone media player for XBOX Music. Let's say you to want to listen to your playlists at the gym. You probably don't want to be running around with your expensive new Lumia 920 in your pocket. What are your options then? iPod? Has MS really given up this subset of the market entirely, and if so isn't it possible that subset will never even bother trying XBOX Music as they have no way to listen to it? To be a comprehensive success, XBOX Music must address the standalone market even if it is a small chunk of it. And if they don't, add yet another piece of needed media mgmt. software, iTunes.
IF YOU DO ANYTHING EXCEPT STREAM YOUR MUSIC TO ONLY 1 PERSON IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD *YOU WILL NOT LIKE XBOX MUSIC*. If you want to play a media library you have, there are not enough options to find the music you want. And, even if you only stream your music, it still disappoints as your spouse and/or children can't use your pass, not even for a small additional fee. Finally, if you want to sync/transcode to a media player, SD card, or even a windows phone (how novel) you plain CAN'T.
XBOX Music has a lot of potential in concept, and currently it is failing to meet even a quarter of that potential with all of its failures. It feels like an alpha product, not a finished product. It fails primarily on the software front, but also has some gaps on the hardware front. I am very seriously considering cancelling the music pass entirely for the first time in a while if there are no massive changes made.
BOTTOM LINE: FEATURE POOR, VALUE DEFICIENT, XBOX MUSIC IS A NON-STARTER IN ITS CURRENT INCEPTION. NO VISION, NO STYLE, NO HEART!
Last edited by Ruined; 12-25-2012 at 01:19 AM.
- 12-25-2012, 12:54 AM #3
And, Zune itself as a service did everything XBOX Music Pass did (including the streaming) with the exception of the cloud match. And it did it in a far superior fashion. The cloud match is nice as it reduces need to sync, but its not worth throwing out everything else for that.
I get that they had to make something for tablets, but this is so feature stripped it is borderline unusable!
But Windows Phone 8 no longer uses Zune. In fact, there is no comprehensive media management tool for WP8 I am aware of. The ability to drag and drop songs to device without needing media mgmt. software is great, but that should not be the only way to do it.
Last edited by Ruined; 12-25-2012 at 01:09 AM.
- 12-25-2012, 01:26 AM #4
Technically you can use any compliant media software, but Xbox Music has a long way to go. Needs a desktop client and a far better Metro one.
Your hardware complaint is interesting, phones are getting bigger and that does rule out some possibilities. I guess it's possible for a manufacturer to create a small 3.3" WVGA device or similar.
- 12-25-2012, 01:45 AM #5
In the Metro app, how is it possible that I can't list by artist, click on an artist, and then see that artist's songs subsorted by album (like Zune desktop)? Am I missing something? I can only see all the songs lumped together for a particular artist.
So if I go to Nine Inch Nails, I can't just play Pretty Hate Machine, I have to play all their songs. Or conversely, if I do want to play pretty hate machine, I HAVE to sort by album first. This is a problem if you know what artist you want to listen to but not what album. Big omission IMO unless I am failing to see some option.
- 12-25-2012, 02:30 AM #6
P.S. I agree with you. Xbox Music sucks. I have had to go through my entire music collection and fix it because Xbox Music sorted songs into wrong albums and added streaming versions of songs I already had if the song or album was named slightly different (especially in the case of symbols used in the titles). It needs a lot of work. I just hope it's something they've acknowledged as problematic.
- 12-25-2012, 06:32 AM #7
But, you are right that xBox Music is not as good as Zune. I think they just rushed it and will improve it with an update. As for syncing, you first have to make sure your MP3 tags and data is correct. I use Mp3tag on each album I have and fix up everything, including art. The Windows sync software is pretty bad. I clicked one album to add and it re-synced everthing that was checked. haha. I have found that Windows Media Player does a good job of syncing. I know ITunes is supposed to work to sync, but for some reason, don't see that many people using it. But with WMP, it works fine.
- 12-25-2012, 09:05 AM #8
Good to know about the way to sort by artist/album, but it still seems kind of backward not to have the option to have songs listed by album when searching by artist (as was the case with zune).
re: using Windows Media Player to sync, that is part of what I mean as a problem, XBOX Music should do everything. People should not have to use both XBOX Music plus WMP or a sync tool to sync their libraries.
12-26-2012, 03:49 AM #9
- 242 Posts
I'd rather just continue using the Zune desktop to sync my content, I didn't really have any major issues with it and the replacement tools (as mentioned) aren't fit for purpose. The amount of posts I've read that include workarounds for common features (syncing playlists) just shows that the product was rushed and ill thought. I agree with the OP that a family pass would be ideal, not sure why they wouldn't have created one already.
12-27-2012, 08:52 PM #10
- 108 Posts
When I first got my Omnia 7 back in 2010 I hated the fact that I had to use the Zune software to sync up my music. I just plain hated syncing software at the time thanks to my experience with iTunes.
It didn't take me long to warm up to Zune, and now after getting my Lumia 920 and dealing with the Windows Phone apps (both Metro and Desktop), I REALLY miss Zune! Windows Media Player is alright, but damn... I never thought I'd miss Zune :/
Also, is it just me or do the Windows Phone desktop apps screw with your songs' meta data? I've added Madeon's Icarus to my phone several times now and it keeps changing the artist to "Paul Winter Consort" or something. What the **** is the deal with that?! I really do miss Zune...
- 12-27-2012, 09:29 PM #11
- 12-27-2012, 09:33 PM #12
After some time using it, I have to agree that Xbox Music on WP sorta sucks. My playlists (which were supposed to sync with my account) vanished, so when AT&T replaced my broken 920 with an 8X, all my streaming playlists had disappeared! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
The worst problem is that any update Microsoft does to fix Xbox Music will require carrier approval first. Considering that AT&T hasn't even announced (let alone acknowledged testing) Portico for my 8X, I'm not holding my breath.
This is part of the "focus on user experience" deficiency I was talking about earlier. Microsoft should have delivered something significantly better than Zune, not something significantly worse.
12-27-2012, 10:51 PM #13
- 108 Posts
Forcing me to disable a feature that's supposed to add value to their music service is just dumb if that's what's doing it. This NEVER happened on both my Omnia 7 and Lumia 900...
- 12-28-2012, 06:36 AM #14
As soon as Spotify arrives, I will throw my sub money at them.
EDIT: Rdio has just updated its app but it still lacks the same basic features, in particular managing playlists or being able to rate songs on the phone itself. Is this a WP8 limitation? Seems bizarre to me.
I have no idea if it will make any difference, but people should register their concerns/suggestions here:
Feature Suggestions: Hot (19993 ideas)
and Master List Of Issues With XBox Music On WP8 - Microsoft Community
Last edited by runam0k; 12-28-2012 at 07:38 AM.
12-28-2012, 11:00 AM #17
- 798 Posts
Hmm, that could be a region thing. I'm in the US. Rhapsody on WP is rather fantastic. I like the WP version better than the iOS version.
Nokia Music is also well done (as are many of the Nokia apps). It's a shame it's Nokia only. That hurts the Windows Phone market as a whole.
I did hear a rumor the Pandora will be available soon and offer up the premium service for free.
- 12-28-2012, 11:57 AM #18
Been using rhapsody for years and it had the great feature of downloading offline songs by playlist on android. The WP version is decent but hasn't been updated to support offline listening. It's also now on Xbox so is one WP feature away from being a fantastic '3 screens' solution to having universal access to your library and playlists. Oh, and the desktop app runs on Win7 (unlike Xbox music?! wtf) and I can sync rented and owned content to my gym mp3....also my wife and I can use ONE premium rhapsody account for access from both our win 8 phones and Xbox.
Still use amazon as my online storage locker though. Was so excited that MS was going to be the first to combine cloud locker with renting for a unified experience across all my devices. Wow are they far away...
Hopefully they will fix it or rhapsody will bring offline soon because my music experience has taken a big step backwards from android. I'm saddened to be hoping for amazon and rhapsody to match existing android apps rather than having me and my family all in with Xbox music.
03-08-2013, 01:22 PM #20
- 1 Posts
Totally agree that Xbox Music is not up to par with the Zune player. I would rather say that for me, Xbox Music is utterly useless and I installed the Zune player software on my Windows 8 pc.
I love the Zune player layout. Music management, sorting and searching options are easy in the Zune player:
In the left column I have got my 300+ artists, in the middle column I see my 450+ albums in 6 sub-colums (which a adjustable), and in the left column I see my selection. This is the perfect layout. In Xbox Music, I don't have any overview I have all my albums in a single column; hence 450+ rows which means scrolling a lot
Microsoft, why didn't you rename Zune to Xbox Music (and change some colours)...why?? Why did you have to program a new, but utterly useless music player???
This reminds me of the Gizmodo website redesign in 2011...which wasn't good either.
Last edited by VanPlaggen; 03-08-2013 at 01:32 PM.
- 03-08-2013, 01:32 PM #21IF YOU DO ANYTHING EXCEPT STREAM YOUR MUSIC TO ONLY 1 PERSON IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD *YOU WILL NOT LIKE XBOX MUSIC*.
It's not nearly as good as Zune, but there is no reason to only stream.
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