Xbox Music- What is it anyway?

Doohickie

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I am brand new to smart phones, have never bought music online (okay, I've ordered music CDs from Amazon, but that's not the same thing, is it?) and I don't know anything about Xbox.

But I have called Xbox music on my phone. What is it? Do you need an account to do anything with it? Can you manage music that you bought as hard copies (CDs) with it? Just trying to figure out if I should even touch it.
 

iamtim

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To put it simply, it's Microsoft's merger of iTunes, the iTunes Music Store and Google Music.

Basically, it's a player for MP3 files you've synced to your phone (or Surface/RT/8 tablet, or Windows 8 computer), it's a music store where you can buy songs and albums, and it's an app which plays music you've synced to the cloud from the cloud, so you don't have to cable-sync your MP3s.

You don't need a separate account, it works through your Microsoft account if you have one. If not, then yes, you need a Microsoft account. Seeing as you use Windows Phone, I'm assuming you have a Microsoft account.
 

Doohickie

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Thanks for the answer and this is gonna sound dumb, but I don't know anything about iTunes, the iTunes Music Store and Google Music. I still buy CDs.

Does the account cost anything?

I poked around a bit on the Wiki for Xbox Music and I found this:

Features
The service provides a variety of methods to access content: via Free Streaming, via subscription (Xbox Music Pass) and through an online store for permanent purchases.[5] The service offers 30 million tracks.

Free Streaming- Xbox Music offers ad-supported Free streaming on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices (computers, laptops, tablets) in 15 countries. There are no duration restrictions during the first 6 months of Free streaming. After that there will be a limit on the number of hours of free streaming allowed per month. (free)

Xbox Music Pass- It also offers the Xbox Music Pass which is a pay subscription service (similar to that of Zune Music Pass) that allows users to listen to their subscription music on any Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone, and Xbox 360 device. The pricing in US includes $9.99 per-month and $99.99 annual subscriptions. A one-month trial offer is available. (paid)

Xbox Music Store- For those who prefer to own their music the Xbox Music Store offers a comprehensive MP3 marketplace giving the opportunity to purchase single tracks or entire albums. (paid)

Catalog- The service offers 30 million tracks from majors as well independent labels. The number of tracks as well as the ways in which they can be used (free streaming vs subscription streaming vs purchase) differs per market depending on label agreements. Users can find music by searching an artist, album or song. They can also browse per genre featured new releases as well top artist, album and songs on the service. (don't know what this means in terms of something I have to pay for versus free)

Cloud Collection- Xbox Music lets users create a collection of songs and playlists that roam through the cloud on all the supported devices. The songs can be either added from the Xbox Music marketplace or they are local songs on the user's machine that have been matched within the Xbox Music Catalog for the country the user is in. (huh? so is this free or not?)

Radio- Xbox Music enables discovery of new music with Smart DJ which creates custom stations based starting from a user chosen artist and navigating through related and popular artists. The user can also create a station with the top songs of any given artist. Users can enjoy unlimited skipping when listening to any of the stations. (sounds like Pandora; don't need it)

Offline listening- Xbox Music Pass allows you to download DRM protected songs from the Xbox Music Catalog to your device. (what does DRM mean?)

A lot of that stuff I don't understand really. Some of it is clearly free, some of it costs money. What I DON'T want to do is use some service that requires a monthly subscription, or online purchase
 

iamtim

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Too wordy?

Sorry! Didn't see your reply. :)

Doohickie said:
Does the account cost anything?

Yes, and no. The Microsoft account is free... and you probably already have it. That alone allows you to match your music collection to the Xbox Music Cloud and stream from there to any number of PCs. If you want to stream to your phone or Xbox, you have to get the Xbox Music Pass which costs, uh, $9.95/month, if memory serves. You do not have to have the Xbox Music Pass if you're just going to import CDs or cable sync existing files and use the Xbox Music app as an MP3 player.

SO! If you want to import your CDs, play your MP3 files, or cloud-match your music collection and stream to your Windows 8/RT machines, you do not need to pay a dime. If you want to do all of that PLUS stream to your Windows Phone and/or Xbox, then you must pay $9.95/month.

Does that help? :)
 

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