Microsoft is Bringing Curated Playlists to Groove

Posted on June 16, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones, Groove Music, Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Microsoft is Bringing Curated Playlists to Groove

Good news, Groove fans: Microsoft is bringing a new feature called Your Groove to your favorite music service. Your Groove provides a new view in the PC, Mobile, and HoloLens versions of the Groove Music app with recently played music and curated playlists.

This is a big deal because Groove currently falls well short of full-featured music services like Spotify and Apple Music when it comes to music discovery and variety. Your Groove doesn’t quite close the gap—it only addresses part of Groove’s music discovery and variety shortcomings—but it looks like a nice addition.

That is, Your Groove creates automatic playlists, curated by Microsoft, that appear in this view, can be added to your collection, and are updated (again, automatically) over time. These playlists are based on your own musical tastes; mood, genre and era; activities (focusing on work, starting a party and so on); and the like.

“Your Groove is the place for music that is centered around you,” Microsoft’s Ellen Kilbourne explains. “This is where you can not only quickly get back to things you’ve played recently, but also find recommendations for what to play next.”

The curated playlists in Your Groove will “update often,” Kilbourne says, and you can copy them to your collection for offline playback and song list editing. (The original curated playlists are read-only as they’re updated.)

The nicest thing about this new feature, perhaps, is that it works with both OneDrive-based music collections as well as cloud collections for those with a Groove Music Pass. Obviously, the more music the better: Microsoft recommends that you upload at least 500 songs to OneDrive if you’re going to use Your Groove without a Music Pass.

And if you do have a Music Pass subscription, you’ll get more variety since Microsoft can mix in song recommendations from the wider Groove catalog too. Music Pass subscribers will also see new partner-created featured playlists in the Explore view of the Groove app, for even more variety.

(Your Groove does not work with music files on your PC. They must be in OneDrive, or you can use a Music Pass.)

If you’re on Fast ring for the Windows 10 Insider Preview for PCs or Mobile, or using a HoloLens, you should see an update for the Groove Music app that adds this functionality tonight, Microsoft says. You need app version 3.6.2244.0 or newer.

For the rest of the planet, I assume this update will debut with the Windows 10 Anniversary update, which is expected on or around July 29.

However or whenever this change appears, it’s overdue. But I’m glad to see Microsoft finally addressing the complaints I’ve been raising about Groove for many months. Sometimes, it just seems like Microsoft has essentially abandoned this service, but this is a nice reminder that that’s not the case.

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