Using Groove Music App in Windows 10
A lot of changes took place in the core ‘Windows Applications’ when Windows 8 came out. The most needed functionality on any computer is its ability to manage and play music and videos. Up until Windows 7 there was Windows Media player. It did not handle all the codecs very well. Playing an avi or mkv file required you to have a codec pack installed on the computer. Nevertheless, that changed with Windows 8 and there was support for almost all major codecs out of the box. Windows 8 had come with a new music application called Xbox music where you could manage all your music libraries and folders and play them on demand. In addition to that, there was Xbox music pass integration which allowed users to shop for music on their popular Xbox music and movies store. Rather being a full fledged music player, the Xbox music and video app was more like a store to allow people buy music and download it on to their devices.
Microsoft has been trying to overhaul some parts of the Xbox music application’s. With launch of Windows 10, the music app has been renamed as Groove Music. There has been a lot of makeover with the looks and UI design in comparison to Xbox music app. Apart from looks, the app has been converted to be more of a “music playback” tool. Windows Media player is still there if you love it, but if you are just looking for a nice little program to play music, Groove music is worth giving a try. There is also OneDrive support which allows you to play your music stored on OneDrive Cloud storage.
A good playback app
Looking at Windows Media player, it is more of a music management software which offers a lot of functionality like ripping CDs, listing out all the music files in a neat little table format, streaming music to your local network devices and so forth. Comparing that with the Groove Music app in Windows 10, Groove Music barely has all those features. You do not have the option to remotely stream your music to an audio device, you cannot rip CDs and there is no synchronization option that I could find. Not that all these options were of any importance to me, but I know a few of my friends who quite effectively made use of all the features Windows media player offered and unfortunately, they will be held back from using Groove Music because it lacks these features.
So, what good is Groove Music really for? I love the application because it is super simple and clean looking. It is good at searching for music on your computer and arranging it neatly in multiple lists. You can view your tracks sorted by Artists, Albums and individual songs. The option to toggle these lists show up on the left side bar which in turn can be expanded to a larger view switched to a thin side bar.
Resizing the Groove music window automatically scales everything inside it and scaling it down to smaller sizes changes the overall layout.
With streaming music services here to stay on the long run, the Windows 8 Music app had an in-app store allowing users to buy music tracks or entire albums, but with all the things being revamped in Windows 10, currently the build of Groove Music does not have an integrated app store. Clicking on the Store button opens the Windows 10 Store application and that is where you can purchase music tracks.
The overall presentation of the store is quite pleasant. As usual there is an option to play a 30 second preview of the music track but there is a problem here. If you already have some music playing in Groove music and play the preview, you will end up having two tracks playing at the same time because the Store is completely unaware of what Groove is up to. Such a situation should not have arisen in the first place if the store was integrated inside Groove app. As Microsoft promised to keep Windows 10 evolving continuously, we can expect the flaws to be fixed in few weeks from now.
Xbox Music Pass is now Groove Music Pass
Just as it says above, Microsoft has its streaming service renamed to Groove Music Pass. You can subscribe to the service by going into the settings menu and purchasing the subscription for $9.99 for a month or $99.99 for a full year. There is definitely a huge collection of music available to stream and you can also choose to use the 30 day free trial.
Apart from the Windows application, Groove comes for Android phones as well and can be downloaded from the Google Play store. If you have the habit of storing your music on OneDrive cloud storage, you can have the android application sync to it.
For a person like me who is simply interested in playing the music stored on my hard disk, Groove Music is simply great. But if you are looking to purchase music online, the problem with having a separate store app can be annoying. This will definitely change in near future as more features are integrated in Groove app. On the other hand, the Groove Music Pass is an affordable streaming service similar to Pandora and iTunes that is looking to gain its popularity in the market. For an avid Xbox user, Groove Music pass will simply be a re-branding of Xbox music streaming service.