Microsoft’s music streaming app, Groove Music, will soon be updated with a few new, and highly requested, features – like visualizations. And like in the movies, I crowbarred through the outer plating, crossed some wires, and gained entry to an internal control panel that allowed me to turn on (and show you) the new and experimental features.
Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of what’s coming.
Like Windows Media Player, Groove will get visualization support – animated images based on the amplitudes of frequencies from your music.
At this time, there are two types of visualizations, each with its own set of color schemes. They can be configured to show during the entire play session or alternate after each song.
Ribbons creates paper-like ribbons, one for each frequency band, that stream in an implied wind synchronously with your music. And while the entire ribbon plane distorts, shifts, and floats around, the camera does its job at alternating between shots.
Dots, or Dottopia internally, fills the screen with particles that fly around a central but moving point, all while changing colors and performing choreographed moves. Sometimes along the way, the dots stop and show off by combining to form a representation of the current song’s album art and other graphics.
Both visualizations are ultimately just implementations of Media Foundation Transform APIs, so it’s not inconceivable that additional visualizations could come down from the Windows Store, potentially from third parties, in the future.
Everyone has a different take on what sounds good when it comes to music, especially with the near infinite combinations of audio hardware. So, having an equalizer – a bunch sliders to adjust the amplitude of audio signals at particular frequencies – is a must. And one is coming to Groove.
The new equalizer creates 5 frequency band groupings ranging from low to high. Dragging each grouping’s knob up and down allows level adjustment between -12 and +12 decibels. And of course, there are provided presets for those looking to get in and get out.
Similar to Spotify’s Discover Weekly and Your Daily Mix auto-generated playlists, Groove will be adding 2 spotlight playlists to the Recommended page. These playlists – Fresh on Friday and Today’s Picks – are based on the music you like and listen to, just like the others.
Groove picked up playlist sharing back in March and this bolts onto that work, allowing you to personalize a few details about your playlist. You can tweak the title, add a short description, and change the cover art before sharing with others. In terms of art, you can take a new photo (if hardware allows), select an existing image, and scribble on both using built-in inking controls.
Automatic Playlist Creation
Do your friends suck at making mix tapes too? No problem. Groove will soon create mixes for you based on the parameters you feed in, such as genre, artist, pace, and even era for the pickiest of audio connoisseurs out there. Insert obligatory machine learning fist bump here.
Peppered about the app are smaller additions that may be coming soon, such as direct sharing to Facebook and Twitter, abuse reporting (think playlist art personalization), and some tweaks to metadata editing.
I’m still a Spotify user, but it’s impossible to ignore the Groove team’s rapid forward moving progress here. (The Spotify app, in comparison, is a dead stump that surprisingly still plays music.) So I’m going to give it a spin and see what happens next. If you want to jump on-board with me and give it a shot, here are a few options with no obligations or fees attached:
– Sign up for Groove directly and get 4 months free.
– Sign up for Xbox Rewards and get 4 months free.
– Use Bing Rewards and get a 1 month subscription for 100 points or 3 months for 200 points.
As Groove gets updated, we’ll update you.