Critics of Xbox Music have often pointed out that the service is too reliant on the Xbox Music Pass subscription and doesn’t handle private music collections very well. But with Windows 10, Microsoft will finally let users store their own music collections in OneDrive and then access and edit them from within Xbox Music on any Windows 10 device.
This functionality has been expected for some time, and indeed Microsoft’s original Xbox Music announcement—from way back in October 2012—promised that the firm would eventually add a “music locker” feature to the service. But it’s finally coming this year, though it looks like it will require a new version of the Xbox Music app for Windows 10.
“In about a month or two months, we’re going to add support to our system for you to put your music collection in OneDrive and have your collection stored in the cloud,” Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said during a very quick segment of the media event this week that focused on Windows 10’s “music experience. “So you can make changes to your playlists or collection on any device and they’re automatically reflected on all your devices.”
In Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to evolve that “music experience”—i.e. the Xbox Music app—across all of the devices on which Windows 10 will run (phones, tablets, PCs, Xbox One), and while the short demo was a cinemagraph and not real running code, what we saw was a clean new Xbox Music universal app on Windows 10 on both a phone and a PC.
In the demo, an unseen user “uses the cloud” to add a song to a playlist on the PC, and then it shows up automatically on all their devices. This will work, Joe said, because of this new OneDrive integration. But it’s a bit more than that: The ability to access, edit and then sync playlists across devices is an Xbox Music feature. The OneDrive piece is really about storing your own music. (OneDrive is of course the back-end service for all universal app syncing capabilities in Windows 10 as well.)
The new Xbox Music app and OneDrive-based music collection capabilities won’t be part of the January technical preview release, of course. But this is something I’ve been waiting to see for a long time, and I’m curious if it will satisfy the needs of users who currently ignore Xbox Music because it is too cloud-focused.