Over the weekend, Microsoft shipped a small update to the Xbox Music application installed on every PC running Windows 8.

According to Xbox Wire, Xbox Music on Windows 1.4 includes just a few enhancements to make the lives of Xbox Music users a little easier. For starters, those who aren’t signed into a Windows 8 device with their Microsoft Account will now be able to stream “15 free songs” before being prompted to log-in. Microsoft also says that users who are taking advantage of the free streaming offer have “unlimited skips”, though as we understood it, they already did even if they were limited to just 10 hours of streaming a month.

Microsoft also seems to want to make things a little more obvious for people who are new to the Window 8 style apps in general. With this update Xbox Music now has a small Search icon on the top, right hand corner, making it easier for users to find the Search function that’s not eluded to in the user interface of the current application. Clicking the button will immediately trigger the same search functionality that’s part of the Charms Bar in Windows 8 already.

This is the first official iteration of Xbox Music to change the name of SmartDJ to just “Radio”. While we’re sure Microsoft made the move after examining the offerings of the competition and thinking “we need to compete with these guys”, the name change seems to be a move in the wrong direction. After all, Xbox Music surfaces SmartDJ on the Zune Software client, Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 and the Xbox 360 all of which aren’t likely to get updates soon, likely keeping that branding for some time.

Xbox Music on Windows 8 is available right now from the Windows Store. Those who have the application already installed will be prompted to update the app sometime soon.

One Comment on “Xbox Music Gets Updated”

  1. We know Zune, including the Desktop application are not getting any updates. Period. I actually read somewhere it stated clearly this would be the case.

    So essentially, on everything else, we will see a painting over of the Zune name and logo. That doesn’t worry me, though it makes me sad. Even the renaming of the SmartDJ feature is really meaningless in the greater scheme of things.

    What is worrisome is any lag in the momentum of these changes and I sometimes question their ordering of things and perhaps this is what is leading to the soon-to-come-down restructuring at Redmond.

    Windows Phone Team doesn’t seem to talk to the Xbox team which clearly doesn’t talk to the Windows Team which Doesn’t speak to the software team which is ignorant of the Surface and other devices team which doesn’t speak to….

    I think we all get it, and it is a huge problem – Example…

    Skype – Skype is multi-platform. Has been Windows friendly as long as it has existed. We are all expecting more integration with Windows Phone 8. Yet this week, full video messaging came to all mobile platforms except Windows Phone 8. If (and this is yet a BIG if) there is more tight integration with WP8 coming, you would think the other platforms would have been forced to wait until a general roll-out of all or until after the WP8+ launch. So while WP8 is moving forward a bit, the Skype team stabbed them in the back.

    Example: The announcement that Xbox games will be coming to iOS through Android. Again, isn’t there a better time for this than just before Windows Blue and Amber update?

    And don’t get me talking about rumors of potential hostile take overs of Nokia.

    So, I think there are far bigger fish to fry, and hopefully Ballmer will pull one of his angry tirades and help the teams get their collective $#%# together

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