For all of the pitchforks and torches that we point at Xbox Music, there are some things about the service that is very useful. Maybe, just maybe, if we took in the value of #XboxMusic — as a whole — we’d see that there’s good stuff going on; that there’s some value in the sum of its parts.
One of those pieces, in particular, deals with being able to create a playlist from Internet Explorer.
When you use the modern IE, on Windows 8.1, you have the option of sharing a webpage to Xbox Music. What that does is trigger a series of actions that results in a playlist you can listen to on Xbox Music. Plus, because Xbox Music is cloud powered and not central to just that one PC, you can open it up on any of your connected devices and listen to the playlist.
I was reminded of this feature, over the weekend, when I wanted to check out a list of some of the music festivals that had been happening over the course of the year. With ‘sharing’, I was able to quickly make playlists based upon the artists that were performing at these festivals. It’s a great way to create a sampler of what’s out there.
If you want to do this yourself, here’s how.
First, you need to find a website that lists artists. For the best experience, look for artist lineups for festivals (and make sure those artists are listed in a text form, and not some uber flashy way — the feature needs to be able to find and gather these artist names). I used this page for music festivals. It’s a great resource.
Bring up the share charm in Windows 8.1, and choose “Music”. The service will then bring up a dialog and crawl the page for artists. Don’t leave the page because this causes the feature to stop (after all there’s no page anymore).
After a few minutes, you’ll get a listing of artists. You can then whittle down the list of artists by removing the ones you don’t want. Then you give the playlist a name (Note that the default playlist name is the web page title, which is usually a jumbled mess of words, numbers, etc).
Once you’ve given a name, hit ‘create playlist’. After a few minutes, your PC will open up Xbox Music and your new playlist will be sitting there. For now, it seems that these playlists max at 100 songs, but that’s plenty I think to get a good sampling.
In the course of 15 minutes, I was able to create about 7 new playlists based upon Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Electric Zoo, Bumbershoot, Coachella, and more. I was even able to use it to create a playlist based upon what was hot at NPR Music.
So, for those of you who say that Xbox Music is not doing enough for music discovery maybe you should give this feature a try and use it on pages/festivals that are not within your immediate comfort zone. You might be surprised at what you…wait for it…discover….