Just about an hour ago Microsoft finally talked publicly about its plans for Xbox Music. As I write this, “Xbox Music” is trending worldwide on Twitter. Tech websites are working themselves into a tizzy to wrap their brains around how Xbox Music will fit into Microsoft’s ecosystem. I can’t blame them. It’s the Zune user equivalent of getting news users of the service should joyously welcome, after all we haven’t had any in about two years.

As I sit at my desk at enConnected Headquarters on a Sunday night, in the middle of October, I’ve felt my mind finally start to process Microsoft’s press release and I can’t help but notice just how many questions and functional loopholes Xbox Music users will be confronted with Day One.

For starters we should immediately tamper your launch expectations. While I’ve seen no less than three headlines stating otherwise, only the Xbox 360 version of Xbox Music will launch this Tuesday. Does that mean we’ll finally see the new Xbox 360 Dashboard pushed out to all users to accommodate the new app?

The statement also goes to great lengths to highlight new differentiating features like cloud music storage, and native applications for iOS, Android, and the web but also notes that we won’t see these features until “next year”. Why next year? Better yet, how do they think talking about them today, when they have nothing to show us helps their case?

Will Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7 users will have to wait it out with the current iteration of the Zune PC Software and Zune on Windows Phone? No mention is made on how those people using Microsoft’s platforms of today, will enjoy any of these features. Will there be some kind of update to the Zune Software to bring it up to code with its Windows 8 counterpart?

Microsoft also seems to be making a big deal out of unlimited music streaming –but only for those of us who want to enjoy them on our Xbox 360s. Did these guys really just nuke the music video library and turn off access to their music video customers who didn’t have an Xbox just so they could offer it up for free on that singular device?

And finally, what of the Zune Podcast Marketplace? As it stands the Zune Desktop software and Zune.net are the only ways to actually interface with it on a device running Windows 8. Will there be some access to it in the final version Xbox Music for Windows 8 at least?

I ask all of this because with just twenty-four hours left until Xbox Music goes live on the Xbox, and two weeks until people are able to take advantage of its free ad-supported streaming on Windows 8 and Windows RT devices I’m left with more questions than a second grader watching an episode of The Magic School Bus and interpreting it literally.

Yep, it’s midnight in Redmond.

One Comment on “And now, Tough Questions about Xbox Music”

  1. Well, I had my big scare on this just yesterday.

    1) actually tried the music feature on Bing search on my phone for the first time. Worked flawlessly, and it set up the download of the song. 2) Suddenly, it tells me there was an “issue” with my Zune Pass ID. I could play the song, but trying to set up a DJ play list from the file failed. 3) Went home and opened my Zune software on the desktop. Searched for, found, and tried to download the same artist. Usage rights error. Searched for something totally unrelated. Same. Clicked on an artist the Marketplace was suggesting for me. Same. 4) Followed their advice and logged into Xbox Live. An account billing notice flashed at the top of the screen. Told me there was a problem with trying to purchase through Paypal which would only be available on Xbox. 5) Opened the Metro Music app and found the artist. At first, it was not available to do anything other than play. No download, no purchase option, etc. 6) A few minutes later, I was able to add it to my music or purchase as I should have been. Later in the evening, I opened the Zune software again, and no issues with downloading tunes or albums.

    I am thinking this was a brief problem with a service at the time, possibly related to the changing over taking place behind the scenes for Windows 8 etc. But scared the dickens out of me. My Zune pass is good to February 2013. When I upgrade in just a few days, I may very well have to completely re install much of my software, something I am fully aware of. I just do not want a crippled Zune HD or WP7.5 in the process.

    Anyone else have any issues entering this crazy week?

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