Goodbye, Groove Music

Posted on December 31, 2017 by Mehedi Hassan in Groove Music with 38 Comments

Tip: Save Big on Groove Music Pass

Today is the day: Microsoft is killing all of its music streaming offerings. The company announced the retirement of its Groove Music Pass service back in October, transitioning its subscribers to Spotify as part of a partnership.

Microsoft’s music streaming service started off as Zune Music Pass back in the days. The service later got retired, but Redmond introduced Xbox Music and Xbox Video a few years before that. Branding wise, that wasn’t the smartest of ideas as it created some confusion amongst regular consumers who weren’t quite sure if you required an Xbox to actually use these services. Combined with the poor branding, Xbox Music also offered users a lackluster, buggy experience across almost all platforms with its limited functionality.

Microsoft then went ahead and retired both Xbox Music and Xbox Video, rebranding the apps to Groove Music and Movies & TV. Groove Music actually brought a much better experience for Windows 10 and Xbox users, although apps for Android and iOS remained bland. Groove Music’s catalog wasn’t necessarily the best in town, either. Spotify, for example, has a huge catalog, and Apple Music also isn’t too far behind. Additionally, Apple and high fidelity music streaming service Tidal have notably been able to get some “exclusive” album launches from big artists like Beyonce, Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Drake. Even the regular, non-exclusive, content arrived for Groove Music Pass subscribers a few hours, sometimes days, or even weeks later when compared to Spotify or Apple Music.

Groove Music did offer a fantastic experience in Windows 10, though. The Groove Music app is arguably the best looking Windows 10 app from Microsoft, and the app excelled in terms of functionality, albeit a few months after its initial launch. The Groove Music team were working on some really cool features like music visualizations, and a social aspect for users as well — but that never got to see the light of the day.

Either way, most Groove Music Pass subscribers have already been moved to Spotify Premium — which, by the way, has a brilliant line of apps across all platforms, along with integration for most smart speakers and other third-party services. While some Groove Music users in Windows 10 aren’t a big fan of Spotify’s desktop app, the company is always working hard to improve its apps for users, so I’d just be a bit patient about this if you aren’t too happy with the current Spotify app. In fact, there a bunch of improvements planned for Spotify’s Microsoft Store app in the future as the company starts to explore the Universal Windows Platform.

If you are still sticking to Groove Music Pass, you will no longer be able to use the service from tomorrow. The streaming service will completely stop functioning, meaning you won’t be able to play music downloaded using Groove Music Pass, nor will you be able to stream new content. And lastly, Microsoft has already removed the ability to purchase music from the Microsoft Store, although you can still buy other content like movies, TV shows, and books. But of course, Microsoft isn’t guaranteeing to not kill Movies & TV in the foreseeable future — so if I were you, I would definitely avoid purchasing movies and TV shows from the Microsoft Store right now.

If you do decide to move to Spotify, all of your playlists and songs that are present in the Spotify catalog should get transferred automatically, but you will have to manually start a new subscription with Spotify as Microsoft can’t automatically “transfer” your existing Groove Music Pass subscription. Some of you may have a Groove Music Pass subscription that extends beyond 31st December, 2017, and you will get refunded by Microsoft sometime soon if that is the case.

Goodbye, Groove Music. It’s been fun. Sorta.

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Comments (38)

38 responses to “Goodbye, Groove Music”

  1. gakubuchi

    I am not using Groove Music Pass, but I am using the Groove App to stream my collection on OneDrive (either on Windows 10 or on my Android). Does the app will continue working and they'll be adding features? Or they will also retire it?

    • Rahul Sharma

      In reply to gakubuchi:

      In addition to local files, you can still use the app to to stream your collection stored on Onedrive.

      Apart from bug fixes/performance improvements, they haven't said if they'll add any features like visualizations, equalizer or music maker.

  2. SteveM

    2nd Jan in the UK and Groove is still streaming on my Sonos system.

  3. darrix

    Will Groove continue to play user-provided content stored on OneDrive?

  4. Thundr51

    FYI, if you had a subscription the onedrive space allotment is now gone as well. If you are over your limit it will give you 3 months to 'free up' some space after that you won't be able to access anything. I had to remove all my music, and since it was only reason I used the groove app, guess I'll be moving to something else.

  5. toshdellapenna

    I was actually able to stream music pass content until this morning somehow. The strange thing is that my subscription auto renewed on December 23rd, which to my understanding shouldn't have been possible. On a lighter a note, the clowns at Microsoft ignored repeated requests to help me move my content, as I'm purely a mobile user and we know how much they adore their own stuff *cough* music *cough* but I digress. Anywho, it's back to shitty YouTube playlists for me as there isn't a better service out there. Rip groove ?

  6. Rob_Wade

    Oh, please, I find that most are complaining about how horrible the Spotify app is on Windows (phone OR desktop). I tried it on both (I have absolutely no use for their service whatsoever) and found them both to be very slow IF they start and they crash often. Didn't take long to reach the same conclusion I've seen most cite. I was happy to delete Spotify from both my testbeds.

  7. ponsaelius

    Groove actually showcased how good a UWP app could be. After stumbling around as a buggy mess for years the last two years have created a great app experience.

    Now gone.

  8. PanamaVet

    Let's not forget that when Microsoft created Xbox Music, Zune members were not allowed to play their Zune subscription music on the Xbox without paying for an Xbox Live membership. Let's add insult to injury.

    Can we expect the same approach with Spotify?

    I don't have any reason to rely on Microsoft when it comes to building a permanent collection of music.

    I don't care who they partner with. It means paying more than one corporation for a song. That stinks.

    Not if, but when does the Spotify deal collapse?

  9. Bill Russell

    If a company like MS is to stay in the consumer market, it should have kept around such services as this, regardless of profitability or number of users. Look at google play music for example. This continues to erode trust that they will stick with anything.

  10. SvenJ

    Listened to some Groove yesterday as an ode to the service. Actually that was my go to service since it was Zune, so I will miss it. Groove will still play from my OneDrive library as I understand it, but not via Invoke/Cortana it seems. I have started a Spotify subscription, and that certainly is more universally supported (even on Invoke/Cortana) so that is a plus. Someone please tell me how to upload my 40+ years of purchased content, some ripped albums, some ripped CDs, some digital purchases from Google, Apple and Amazon (unprotected MP3s) to Spotify. Oh, you can't? What the heck.

    Guess today is the day I start actually using Spotify, kicking and screaming...well, really just quietly resigned to it. This does figure prominently in my decision to ever click Movies and TV or Books in the Store.

    • fishnet37222

      In reply to SvenJ:

      I don't know about music stored on OneDrive, but if your music is stored locally on your PC, you can still use Cortana to tell your PC to play it.

      • Riopato

        In reply to fishnet37222: Groove app still streams music on OneDrive but if Microsoft actually had a real partnership with Spotify, they could've collaborated with them to make the groove app a front end for this service. The Spotify app is clunky compared to Groove and it would've been nice that Groove transform into a one stop shop for any music service to be able to stream through with the added feature to stream from a private collection via one drive or other cloud storage.

    • cddouglas

      In reply to SvenJ: check out Google Play Music or Apple Music. With Google, you can upload 50,000 songs for free.

  11. Pierre Masse

    I guess the only service you can buy from Microsoft with the certainty it wont be phase out before the end of the year is Office 365. *Scared look over my shoulder*

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Pierre Masse:

      Not to worry. MSFT owns the rights to Office, and it's now MSFT's major cash cow. MSFT may be inept at selling other people's content, but MSFT is rather adept at selling its own.

  12. ponsaelius

    The lack of a family plan, absolutely no promotion and lack of a desktop client for Windows 7 all helped make sure that the audience was reduced.

    • Riopato

      In reply to ponsaelius: Groove took so long to improve and keep up with competing services that by the time Microsoft made it work the way it should, they decided to kill the service entirely. Now the player itself is a dumb app that makes Zune Desktop look like it was light years ahead with more features that Groove app can only dream of.

  13. Jeremy Petzold

    Now that Spotify has a good family plan it is the clear winner in my opinion.

  14. brettscoast

    Good post Mehedi

    This decision by Microsoft is another opportunity lost like Zune before it. The zune software interface was excellent as were the features in it, xbox music was a diabolical fiasco then groove came along and i was surprised how intuitive and well designed this interface worked as it turned out brilliantly with Windows 10. I have already migrated all my music to spotify account as you mentioned the app isn't bad and hopefully with updated improvements along the way will fill the void for many windows users.

  15. jimchamplin

    It honestly seemed like Groove was sabotaged. Someone or someones in Microsoft decided from the onset that they didn’t want a music service and had the power to make sure that the service had no backing from the company.

    • toshdellapenna

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      I often had this feeling as I've NEVER seen an advertisement or even a gift card at any retail store for Groove. And the Groove app often resembled Spotify. What they should have done at the very least was partnered with Spotify and made it the back end for Groove and left us alone. I'm sure the "someone" involved was Mr. IPhone Pro himself.

    • Riopato

      In reply to jimchamplin: Gee I wonder if that someone is named Satya?

  16. glenn8878

    Microsoft is sure unchecking a lot of boxes. Usually it’s other way around.

  17. nbates66

    Not as certain that i'll be maintaining a Spotify subscription because I have some music that isn't in their library, thus their app won't play it, thus useless.

  18. gregsedwards

    I wonder about the possibility that Microsoft will just outright buy Spotify in 2018. They seemed to be pushing Groove Music users awfully hard to that platform specifically. It makes a lot of sense, especially since Spotify is an established brand with reach into just about every market and platform. Spotify has also struggled to make much of a profit yet, making them ideal for an acquisition. A Microsoft-owned Spotify could bring the power features (and brand recognition) of Spotify and the gorgeous Fluent design of Groove Music together in one app. Kind of reminds me of the Skype acquisition, except they didn't kill Messenger until a few years after Skype was in place. Call me optimistic, but I think something is in the works.

  19. Riopato

    BTW killing Music pass service also killed music recognition search. Of course they could've updated the Cortana service or port this function on Bing but they didn't. Meanwhile the Roku platform will have this basic feature soon and iOs & Android have Shazam which is no longer available on Windows 10.