Microsoft is Adding Visualizations, Equalizer, and More to Groove Music

Posted on August 3, 2017 by Rafael Rivera in Groove Music, Music + Videos with 42 Comments

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.

Music Visualizations

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.

Equalizer

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.

Recommended Spotlight

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.

Playlist Personalization

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.

Miscellanea

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.

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Comments (42)

42 responses to “Microsoft is Adding Visualizations, Equalizer, and More to Groove Music”

  1. dkirk

    Is it just me or is Groove the prettiest and best example of UWP on Windows 10?

  2. Lucho Rosa

    Is it just me having some trouble with Groove and another UWP apps that plays multimedia content?


    For example, I press play and I have to wait at least 15 seconds for it to start playing. Same thing happens sometimes with the Netflix app and end up crashing. It doesn't matter if I have the music already on my hard drive or if it is online, it happens anyway.


    This happens when you start playing something, then it will continue playing the next songs with no problem, BUT if you stop and press play again or choose a different album / song / playlist, it happens again. A delay that takes between 15 seconds and sometimes near of a minute or so.


    I have looked for a solution but can't find any. I believe the issue is linked to a process called mfpmp.exe, which triggers when you want to play a song. When this process executes, the HDD usage is really high. Then it stops and the music starts.


    The weird part is: this isn't a problem only on my desktop PC. Also happens on my laptop. I have even reinstalled Windows on my desktop (not because of this problem), but after that it keeps on happening.


    If I don't find a fix for this problem (which has been happening for months now) i'll have to end my subscription. That would suck but this problem has become really annoying and I still can't find a workaround.


    There are more weird things happening (for example I don't have some playlists on the Explore tab, like mood playlists and a lot of playlists that everyone else has) but this one is the most unbearable.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Lucho_Rosa:

      It's crap like that which is why I stopped using Windows 10 for anything other than running Windows only games. They have zero interest in correcting problems, only cramming in "features" of dubious value.


      Woo, 12 new features in this version? How about fixing the shitty code from the last release? No? Antimalware service still uses 100% CPU for minutes on end? Okay, good work people. Quality control is dead at Microsoft.

  3. matsan

    Wow - visualizations. Brings back memories från the 90s and the mac application soundjam. Great re-invention Microsoft. Please now go back to fixing the real annoyances and bugs in windows 10.

  4. irfaanwahid

    I'm tired of saying this over and over again, but.. one more time. Groove Music Pass is still NOT available in Kenya, & I guess many other countries. I don't know how difficult this maybe, but if Apple Music has cracked this (since I'm using that service since day1) then why is it all that hard for MS?


    I do want to use Groove Music but because I cannot get the Pass, I'm unable to. iTunes on the PC is terrible so I just don't bother with it.


    The marketing for Groove either don't care about this product or don't have the budgets. So pissed!

    • Martin Sjöholm

      In reply to irfaanwahid:

      I just posted a similar complaint in another article related to Cortana. Microsoft has never been great at moving outside of the comfort zone which is US, UK, France, Spain, and a few more. Smaller or even smallish countries and regions are mostly ignored, while the corresponding Apple and Google services have thrived for years. Now, I'm never going to use a Mac for daily work - it's going to be a Windows machine - but the rest of the ecosystem is Apple. iTunes Store FTW.

    • fbman

      Its because MS still believe America is the entire world.

      Here in South Africa, we also dont have Pass. Funny we have Apple and Google music here and a number music streaming services.



      In reply to irfaanwahid:


  5. robincapper

    Could they just add off-line SD/memory access to the Android app????

  6. lmoritz

    Actually, the automatic playlist feature is already there, and not an upcoming feature.

  7. wright_is

    This was fun for about 5 minutes, back in the early 90s, but I can't say I've used it since.

    On the other hand, it would be nice if, when looking at my songs, when I do a search, that it only returns my songs and not, as it currently does, lists songs from the online catalogue... If I already have the songs, why would I want to buy them again?

  8. Martin Sjöholm

    Cool features for an app absolutely no one have even heard of.


    Edit2: Don't know about others, but I rarely stare at a screen while listening to music, so not sure what good the visualizations are. Also, I'm using iTunes Store or Spotify. If you do want to look at your screen while playing music, Spotify offers lyrics and artist/song trivia. Much more useful IMHO. Some ways to go for Groove, given that they even get over the threshold of becoming a thing.


    Edit1: @Paul - The whole premium/standard thing is just ridiculous. I am interested in your articles, but I'm not going set up yet another subscription. There's already a gazillion, and can't even keep track of all of them. Sure there are other ways of generating revenue? Patreon perhaps? Same approach, but not shutting people out. I don't like feeling like a 2nd class person, when I actually come here to contribute to the discussion. TBH, I'm coming back less often b/c of this. Back in the Winsupersite days it was part of my daily routine to check news. Now, not so much.

    • Martin Sjöholm

      In reply to RoundaboutSkid:

      OK - I get it, I really do. A bunch of whining asshats have problems with my opinions. What would be really constructive would be some countering arguments, and get the discussion started. Being able to tell someone they absolutely suck, by giving them nothing but a negative score, is so Millenial. If you do not agree, please tell me why, and what your thoughts are. Just an idea ...

  9. rameshthanikodi

    Groove Music pass isn't available in my country and Spotify is better anyway. Still, this app looks great now.

  10. prettyconfusd

    This is all great stuff, glad to see Groove filling out continuously.


    The lack of a free ad-supported version and a family plan is still stunting them though.


    I also recently learned that you can't find music (Shazam style) and buy it through the Groove app on Android (and iOS I'd guess) - only works with your streaming pass. It's like they only want your money if you use Windows mobile, sigh.


    Still, regarding the visualisations:


    They're nice enough, but are more Windows Media Player than Zune (like most places have reported). Zune had great visualisations based on the artist and album you were playing along with a colour scheme that still feels fresh today (I mean, everyone seems to be aping it!) like this:



    Hopefully they bring something like that rather than random 1995 era screensavers. Which, while pretty, are hardly must haves in 2017.


    I love Groove, and it's my preferred player over Spotify and iTunes - but there's still a lot to do - especially cross platform. Groove could be a player if they patched the functionality and offerings shortcomings and advertised it. But that gets less likely every year unfortunately.

  11. Belralph

    Finally, I really love visualizations. Out of all the players I liked the visualization in the Xbox 360 the best so it was a real let down when the Xbox one didn't have any. I have been using multiple player the last few years with Pandora, 8Tracks, and most recently Spotify for steaming. Everything from Fubar to Groove for playing my own content. This might be enough to get me to settle in and make Groove my default.

  12. yaddamaster

    already moved on - no family plan

    • irfaanwahid

      In reply to yaddamaster:

      Same here. My reason is simply, no Music Pass in my country (Kenya). So I moved on with Apple Music with family plan. I've no issues with Apple Music at all, I actually like it. But being a Microsoft ecosystem for a long time, I want to use Groove. But can't.

  13. GT Tecolotecreek

    Anyone know Groove's current subscription numbers? Google search didn't have an answer and I didn't see anything in the quarterly report.

  14. xperry

    Any word on updates to the default Windows 10 Groove Music app?


  15. david.thunderbird

    Microsoft just can't find it's groove. The player just skips the grooves all the way to it's center hole and then spews colored confetti. Can not even lettuce toss this POC in the compost heap.

  16. Ekim

    Still waiting on edit capability on the now playing list - i.e. changing order and removing items from the list.

  17. Otto Gunter

    I dropped Groove after my subscription ran out and went with Spotify, mainly for Discover Weekly and Release Radar, which is how I listen to most of my music. Spotify does such a good job of feeding me new music I'd have a hard time believing that Groove would do it as well with "Recommended". There used to be a similar function in Groove and, frankly, it sucked; there was little I liked whereas Discover Weekly is awesome. I'd be eager to get some feedback from users on how well Groove provides them with new tunes.

  18. Noel

    I use Groove music all the time. I love the music locker functionality. I used the Microsoft Rewards offer, so glad that finally came to the UK, to get four months of music pass.

  19. Rik

    Some tweaks to metadata editing? Does that include support for editing metadata for music on OneDrive?

  20. veermaharaj

    This is what i keep talking about, they keep implementing a tonne of cloud features and next generation garbage... for people to even consider Groove, they have to at least to everything the old player did (WMP12) at least as well, if not better, and then start adding new cloud BS after. Still waiting on MTP sync so i can get music on my Sony Xperia XZs. If they kill WMP12 and dont provide an MTP capable replacement, I will switch to IOS, because all other MTP music syncing apps are worse than WMP imo.


    With Windows Phone 7 most of the media functionality I needed was taken care of with the Zune software. Syncing/Wireless Syncing Playlist management, picture sync but they failed at videos, iffy eas support and in all frankness, the default apps need to cover most people's needs out of the gate for them to have a place to start. WP7, WP8 WM10, W8, W8.1, W10 all lacked this. Good enough built in apps that covered most user's needs.


    What adds insult to injury was the ipod touch/ iphone sitting in every microsoft developer's pocket with every feature and type of app they needed to clone. An an example of everything that was missing.


    Music playback, syncing, management

    Video playback, syncing, management

    Audiobook playback, syncing, management

    Email and Communications

    Ample storage

    External peripheral connectivity


    and so on and so on...



  21. unfalln

    Oh man :( Don't go trawling through old articles, @unfalln. It can only lead to sadness D: D: D:

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