Xbox Music Tip: Access Your Own Music with Windows Phone 8.1

Posted on March 21, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Groove Music with 0 Comments

The other day I wrote about Microsoft finally enabling OneDrive integration with Xbox Music, and how you can most efficiently copy access all of your own music from (almost) any device. But as a reader points out, if you’re going to use this integration to access your own music on Windows Phone 8.1, you may need to make a single configuration change.

Note: To be clear, this requires Windows Phone 8.1 or newer. You cannot access your OneDrive-based music with Windows Phone 8.

That single configuration change is simple enough: Launch Xbox Music, tap the More (“…”) button in the tiny and almost invisible app bar at the bottom right of the screen, and then choose Settings from the app bar menu that appears. In the following screen, ensure that the setting “Connect to streaming music” is set to On.

music-settings

Thanks to Mark W. for that tip. With the recently OneDrive integration, the notion of “connecting to streaming music” has of course expanded. Now you don’t have to have an Xbox Music Pass, since any music you add to the Music folder in OneDrive will automatically show up—in the Windows Phone client for Xbox Music and elsewhere. But let me expand on this information a bit as well, as there are two more things to know.

First is how to “see” that music you’ve added to OneDrive. When you’re browsing your own collection in Xbox Music on Windows Phone—meaning the Artists, Albums, Songs, Genres, and Playlists views—there is a “Showing” toggle at the top of the screen you should be aware of, as this controls the location of the music you see on the phone.

showing

If you tap this toggle, you will get a menu with up to four different choices: All Music, On My Phone, SD Card (if available), and Streaming. To see music you’ve added to OneDrive but have not (yet) downloaded to the phone, choose All Music or Streaming.

I don't have an SD card in this phone, so that option does not appear.

I don’t have an SD card in this phone, so that option does not appear.

Second, you can download your own OneDrive-based music to your phone. This lets you access it offline.

To download an album from the Store or your collection, navigate to the album view and then tap the Download link next to the album art.

wp-download-album

To download an individual song from the Store or your collection, tap the Download button to the right of any song name in any song list (such as an album view).

wp-download-song

To download two or more songs from the Store or your collection, tap the Select app bar button to enter the selection mode.

select-box

Then, use the selection boxes next to each song in the list to select the songs you want, and then tap the Download app bar button.

In each case, the download will begin immediately with no subsequent prompt.

Note: You could download your entire OneDrive-based music collection to your phone, assuming you’re on Wi-Fi. Just navigate to Collection, Songs and make sure that the Showing link is set to “Streaming.” Then, tap the Select app bar button to enable the song selection mode, and then tap the More (“…”) app bar button and choose Select All from the app bar menu. Then tap the Download button to begin downloading your entire collection.

Note: Not seeing your music? Force-quit the Xbox Music app–long-press on Back and then tap the Close (“X”) button on the app thumbnail–wait a few minutes, and then re-launch the app. Sometimes it takes a little while for the music to show up, and the album art may take a further amount of time to display correctly too.

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