Xbox Music App and Libraries

Here’s another episode in my look at Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Preview. This time I’m looking at the Xbox Music App. I’ve found an inconsistency with how the App handles Libraries.

I now have two systems on which I am running the Windows 8.1 Preview. The first is my main Desktop PC, where I have set up 8.1 in a dual boot with Windows 8. A few days ago Microsoft released drivers that enabled the 8.1 Preview to be set up on systems using the Clover Trail Atom chipset, such as my Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. So that became the second of my systems. It’s probably of relevance to note that the 8.1 system on the Desktop was a clean install from a DVD, whilst on the tablet, it was an upgrade of the existing Windows 8 system to the 8.1 Preview, using the Installer in the Windows Store.

Both systems are set up to access music files held on my Windows Home Server 2011 system. The problem is, the Xbox Music Apps on the two systems do not see the same content, when by rights, they should.

Here’s a screenshot of the content of the music library as seen by the Xbox Music App on the Desktop PC:

Xbox Music issue 05

You will notice that it shows that I have 1,059 Albums in my music collection. Now here’s what I see in the Xbox Music App running on the tablet. Remember, it’s looking at the same music Library on the server:

Xbox Music issue 07

No albums at all…

Note that if I use the “open a file” function of the Xbox Music App, it will see the files and folders on the Windows Home Server:

Xbox Music issue 09

It just won’t add these files and folders into the music collection, despite them being linked to by an entry in the Music Library on the tablet.

If I search for an album that I know is in my music collection, then the Music App will only return results from the online music store. Here, for example is the result of a search for the album “Gaudi” by the Alan Parsons Project:

Xbox Music issue 14

Notice that here, the album is shown third in the list. This list is entirely made up of results from the online music store.

If I do the same search using the Search function of Windows 8.1 itself, then I see this:

Xbox Music issue 13

Here, you can see that Windows Search has found the tracks from the Gaudi album by searching through my music collection held of the Windows Home Server.

If I switch to the other Xbox Music App running on the Windows 8.1 on the Desktop PC, then searching within the App for Gaudi gives me this:

Xbox Music issue 16

The Gaudi album is now at the top of the list, and is the album contained in my music collection (signified by the musical notes icon on the right of the entry).

Here’s the entries of the Music Library on the Desktop PC:

Xbox Music issue 06

And here’s the content of the Music Library on the tablet:

Xbox Music issue 08

In both cases, there are entries in the respective music libraries pointing to the music files held in the entry point of Degas, the WHS2011 server.

The links defined for the Libraries on the tablet are the same as when it was running Windows 8. Then, the Windows 8 Music App happily accessed the music library on Degas. Now that the system has been upgraded to Windows 8.1 Preview, the 8.1 version of the Music App turns a blind eye. However, on the Desktop PC, the 8.1 version of the Music App sees the music library.

So why does one Music App see everything, and the other see nothing at all?

I have no idea; neither does Microsoft Support.

Addendum: Despite a couple of updates to the Xbox Music App, this issue is still present.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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9 Responses to Xbox Music App and Libraries

  1. Matt Healy says:

    My Windows 8 experience is very limited, so I have yet to form an opinion of it (I liked XP, hated Vista, like Win7, have mixed feelings about Office 2007/2010, have yet to try Office 2013).

    But wandering off the topic of MS Windows, that snapshot of your music collection looks both interesting and eclectic. My wife and I like some of the same artists.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      I do like the Windows 8 platform, and 8.1 refines it. However, most of the Modern UI Apps are pretty primitive as yet.

      Re the music, I tend to prefer “classical” (with a wide timespan from the middle ages to 21st century) over “pop”, but that’s about as definite as I get.

  2. Mark says:

    I tried the xbox music app and gave up on it. I think it has some potential but it is so unwieldy. Cant doubleclick to play a song. Try to skip forward 30 seconds, although you can see the play position at the bottom, you don’t get to change it, instead you have to click on the album picture at the bottom to enter the properties screen before you can do anything, then you get a slowly pulsing picture with strange squares moving around. And if you search for a song, the whole process works differently from that screen. And of course like all new apps you get zero options over how you want it to look

    That said, I do like that its a neutral grey background

  3. Mark says:

    I have several live albums that require gapless playback…sigh, and I have a lot of playlists, several “smart” playlists (i.e. 80’s music) so it would be difficult to convert from iTunes.

    However, despite the majority of my replies 😉 I am not against the Metro/Modern experience. I find that most of my work is done fullscreen so in that regard it would work and I am confident I could get used to it on my desktop but the apps are just not compelling. Sad really, with the current unhappiness about the iTunes 11 changes, the time is ripe for the move to a great music app. I wish this was it, I wish it would give me smart playlists, auto-install of Amazon and Itunes store music, control over the display and functionality, etc.

    With all of that said, between the Music and Photo app no longer accepting libraries, NAS, etc. Is Microsoft really depreciating local storage?

  4. Pingback: The Xbox Music App Is Lying To Me | Geoff Coupe's Blog

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