Alternatives to Xbox Music

Hoku001

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I have an XBM Pass subscription and WP8 and I hate it. Zune and WP7 was great, but XBM is a step back in time about 20 years in terms of features. Sure, for some people a cloud-only based music service like XBM may work well, but for some of us (read old farts) with a large collection of personally owned ripped MP3s, XBM is flat out terrible.

I'm looking for the best alternative to XBM on WP8. In order of priority I want a service that will work like Zune did with WP7:

1) A service that uses software like iTunes or Zune on my PC... where I can create a playlist of music from my collection and sync it to my phone so that the music files that make up that playlist, are copied to my phone. (For those uniformed, XBM doesn't do this at all, seriously). Yes, XBM does have the cloud matching feature, but a lot of my music is Asian - no cloud matching.

2) Enables management of podcasts (also not available in XBM).

3) Can steam ala Pandora; Zune had SmartDJ, XBM does have a "Radio" function.

These are the 3 priorities I would have in a service. If you can buy songs from within the service, great, but it's no that important to me.

If you're saying I should just keep using the Zune software, because it does most of this. Yes, it does most of this and it still works great. My problem is the amateurish "Windows Phone App for Desktop" crap that MS put out so that you can connect your WP8 to Zune. For me, that connector app is barely functional. Using this "app", I see 3 copies of every playlist I have in Zune, including playlists that I've long since deleted. Most of the time when I hit the "sync" button, the app freezes. Sometimes it works but doesn't copy all the songs. Other times it copies the titles of the songs but not the actual files (this is ALL non DRM music). It won't off load photos or videos from my phone at all - even though it's supposed to. Still, using this app, I have been able to get a least some of my music onto my phone. Xbox Music can't even do that. For my photos and videos, I copy them off via Windows Explorer as the App for Desktop crap doesn't work.

I know there's Spotify and Rdio. Anything else out there? Anyone use either of these services and know how they'd work with what I'd like to do?
 

Sayyid Shoaib

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I use both 7digital and amazon mp3 cloud service. The former is on WP8 marketplace and you can stream and download music as well purchase tracks from as little as 0.79p (i'm in the UK so probably $0.99 cents in the US). I prefer the latter on amazon but still waiting for an app to be approved for WP8 phones.

Ive never used Spotify and Radio but i've read about Spotify being a good service. Theres also shazam

Check out the links below:

7digital United Kingdom | High quality DRM-free MP3 music downloads and app 7digital Music Store app for Windows in the Windows Store

https://www.spotify.com/ and app Spotify | Windows Phone Apps+Games Store (United Kingdom)

Welcome to Shazam and Shazam | Windows Phone Apps+Games Store (United Kingdom)

Hope that helps in finding a good music service

:smile:
 

Hoku001

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@dgr_874: I never heard of Music Bee, but I'll check it out. It looks like you're able to sync directly from MusicBee to your phone - no Windows Phone App for Desktop crapware. From your experience, any downsides/limitations?

Anyone know if good old Winamp can sync with Windows Phone? I was looking at their site and I didn't see any mention of WP8 (only android).
 

dgr_874

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I only used it for a little while so I really can't give an in-depth review of it. Media management was so horrible on my Lumia that I went back to my iPhone until WP 8.1 hits.

Good luck.
 

hs k

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I have been using media monkey for a couple of days now. It seems to sync music and videos pretty perfectly. Podcasts I'm not sure.
 

Hoku001

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I have been using media monkey for a couple of days now. It seems to sync music and videos pretty perfectly. Podcasts I'm not sure.

Thanks, I'll take a look at this one too. What kind of phone are you using?

Just downloaded MusicBee and started playing with it. It loaded up the music from my NAS without a hitch, unlike XBM which can't find a non-MS NAS. I was test syncing it with my old Samsung Focus (WP7), and it works fine. I've yet to plugin my current WP8 handset. MusicBee and Media Monkey look a lot like iTunes (a fancy spreadsheet). Functional, but boring. Still, after trying to get Xbox Music to work with WP8, I'll take boring and functional over nothing.

After living in Zune for a number of years, I've grown to appreciate just how beautiful and elegant that software is; the nicest thing every put out by Microsoft IMO. Just wish they had rebranded the Zune software to Xbox Music and added cloud matching. Would have been a winner.
 

hs k

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I've been using Lumia 720 (can't afford the higher ends :( ). I don't have a NAS so don't know where the problem might be. Do you use Foobar? Can you load up the upnp plugin and check if Foobar can be used for DLNA?

You can set the default storage for music/videos for SD card on mediamonkey, then sync your stuff!
 

anony_mouse

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Spotify is great, strongly recommend it. It can play back local files, syncs playlists and music with your PC, etc, etc. (*)

(*): at least, it does this on Android. Don't know about Windows Phone version.
 

odoggyfresh

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windows media player isn't bad. I use it to sync playlists to my phone via USB. I'm able to sync it to the SD card thats in my phone as well which is nice. the only thing I wish I could do is sync my entire collection quickly and easily (plug it in and it adds any files that aren't on the phone). any help would be nice. I, like many others, am just looking for an iTunes/Zune experience. why they didn't just keep the Zune software and change the name is beyond me. this is the most backwards way to go about rebranding something. They have had at least a year now of no solid music syncing program, dumb. Shoulda just let Zune bridge the gap.
 

Hoku001

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windows media player isn't bad. I use it to sync playlists to my phone via USB. I'm able to sync it to the SD card thats in my phone as well which is nice. the only thing I wish I could do is sync my entire collection quickly and easily (plug it in and it adds any files that aren't on the phone). any help would be nice. I, like many others, am just looking for an iTunes/Zune experience. why they didn't just keep the Zune software and change the name is beyond me. this is the most backwards way to go about rebranding something. They have had at least a year now of no solid music syncing program, dumb. Shoulda just let Zune bridge the gap.

I think most of us WP7/Zune converts say the exact same thing...why not rebrand the Zune software, add cloud matching, and call it Xbox Music. So simple. But I picked up in another thread that reason for the start over from scratch XBM experience was because the Zune desktop software was written in Silverlight, which is being discontinued as a development platform. This MS insider said that XBM team had to move on to something new. Still, I don't understand why they didn't take the feature set, or functional blueprint if you will, of what they had in Zune and start from there. Frankly, I'd be embarrassed if I was part of the team that came up with this mess. It would be a great piece of work for a high school computer lab, but for a fortune 500 company, the XBM experience and the "Window Phone App for Desktop" garbage is inexcusable. What's worse, it's been a year, and while they've improved it a little, it's still garbage. But hey, they launched XBM for IOS and Android. I guess we can see where MS has been focusing their development resources. Unfortunately, not to the WP ecosystem.
 

Hoku001

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To answer my own thread....

I've been playing with MusicBee. It's a pretty powerful media manager, not the slickest looking thing, but it has all the bells and whistles you could want if you dig around. I'm able to create static and dynamic playlists and SYNC to both WP7 and WP8 handsets with no problems. I can sync music! Feels like 1999 again!

Also started using Songza to get my fix for curated playlists that we used to get in Zune but no longer get in XBM. Songza is awesome if you've not tried it.

I guess I can just go back to buying new music from MP3Panda for $.15 a song.

At this point, why the hell am I still an XBM subscriber? Seems like a waste of money.
 

hs k

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Hoku001

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I've had time to settle in with MusicBee. I'm syncing playlists of non-DRM music to both my 920 and my son's 520. It works flawlessly. Very happy to have this seemingly basic functionality back between my music collection and my phone.
 

odoggyfresh

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I've had time to settle in with MusicBee. I'm syncing playlists of non-DRM music to both my 920 and my son's 520. It works flawlessly. Very happy to have this seemingly basic functionality back between my music collection and my phone.

have you had any luck syncing your entire music collection to the phone? or do you just do playlists? I have MusicBee but it always tries to add more copies of the same song when I try to sync
 

Hoku001

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have you had any luck syncing your entire music collection to the phone? or do you just do playlists? I have MusicBee but it always tries to add more copies of the same song when I try to sync

I've not tried to sync my whole collection - it's over 80 GB and won't fit on my phone even if I wanted to. I just do playlists, and restrict the sync process to only the playlists I created and not the default MusicBee playlists. The process works perfectly. If I add songs to the playlist on MusicBee and plug in my phone, those songs are added to the playlist on my phone. If I delete songs from my playlist on MusicBee, those files are removed from my phone on the next sync as well. I've not seen the duplicate file problem you're talking about.
 

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