As the resident Xbox Music guy, at enConnected, I felt it was important that I tackle the questions that people have about the Xbox Music service. I encourage you to send those questions to enConnected (Twitter, Facebook, Email) or to me directly (Email, Twitter) and I’ll address them here. Obviously, Xbox Music has become a hot topic amongst those in the Windows ecosystem, so allow me to help people navigate what’s going on.

With that, here’s a couple of questions people submitted to “Ask enConnected”

Q: (From Gregg): Is Xbox Music better on iPhone, Android or Windows Phone?

Currently, Xbox Music makes itself available on all three platforms. Obviously, because Xbox Music is a Microsoft product they want to make their service best on Windows platforms. In the same way that Apple loves to make iTunes better on Mac or that Google Play works best on Android devices. So the answer here is Windows Phone, but you have to give credit to Xbox Music for making their service available (in ANY capacity) on other platforms. One of the major knocks, against Zune, was that they wouldn’t make their stuff available on platforms. People felt that hindered the progress of the service.

Of course people look at the current version of the standalone Xbox Music app for Windows Phone and wonder if the service is even good on Microsoft’s own platform. It’s fair criticism, but I think Xbox Music has turned a huge corner since it first launched with Windows 8, and this year could be a breakout year for the service. We’ll see.

Q: (from Tim): What version of Xbox Music have we used to replace the Zune Software?

It’s an interesting question, because if you use Windows 7 right now, nothing has replaced Zune. if you’re a Windows 7 user, you still use Zune for your music management. If you use Zune’s software and have a Windows Phone 8 (8.1) device, then you need to use the Windows Phone Sync app tool to migrate music over from your PC to the device. It’s a convoluted setup, to be sure, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the works to address how Windows 7 users can elegantly connect their music to Windows Phone 8 (8.1) devices, especially if the Zune PC software has to remain in the mix.

If you’re on Windows 8.1 or Windows RT, then you’re expected to use the Xbox Music app. If you’re on Windows RT, especially, you really have no choice. Of course, many still find that this software is inadequate for their needs, especially around music management, and are hoping that it updates sooner rather than later.

So, to answer the question directly, Windows 7 has nothing really replaced, Windows 8.1/RT has the Xbox Music app (for better or worse).

One Comment on “Ask enConnected: What’s Going on with Xbox Music?”

  1. I have Windows 8.1 and still use Zune. Xbox Music has no music management features, but merely “looks” into your media library. For syncing to a device, there is the Windows Phone sync tool, available in both desktop and modern version with the desktop version being the most efficient.

    Another option is to use Media Player for Music Management (and does syncing too). Or even iTunes!

    The logic behind this is in fact, that you can use any music management software you prefer. And that might be a good thing, although the Zune software still is so complete and totally “I love music” oriented, that there is still no software that beats it.

    So if you are on anything other than RT, just keep on using Zune.

    We all wish that Xbox Music could evolve to become the new Zune, but I’m not sure that’s where MS wants to go.

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