| | 12-04-2012, 06:39 PM #1
I just had a chat with Windows Phone support attempting to solve an issue with Xbox Music songs not appearing on my phone. The answers I got were interesting and I wanted to share with everyone. This information is relevant for Windows 8, Xbox, Surface and Windows Phone 8 users. Essentially anyone using a Xbox Music enabled device which eventually will include iOS and Android as well. As a side note, Windows Phone support was excellent, much better than Xbox support which I had contacted about the same issue previously.
Here's the TL;DR version:
Personal items, i.e. music in your collection not downloaded via Xbox Music or Zune, cannot be streamed to devices such as Windows Phone 8, Xbox or Surface even if it has been Matched in the Xbox Music App on Windows 8. This ability is going to be added to Xbox music in the future as confirmed by the support person.
This limitation is not made clear anywhere in the App or in any of the online documentation that I was able to find. It created quite a bit of frustration for me personally. I am not a Zune/Xbox Music Pass subscriber so I was particularly excited when I saw Xbox Music match my content complete with the little cloud icon and the hover text "Matched (available here and in the Xbox Music Cloud for streaming on other devices)". These songs never appeared on my WP8 or on my Xbox.
This limitation is the cause of another frequently reported issue that may not be immediately clear to everyone, the Playlist Syncing issue. Xbox Music syncs all playlists across devices automatically when you sign in with your Microsoft account. However, these playlists will be empty on those devices if they are populated with personal content. These synced playlists are treated as unique items that cannot be deleted on those devices or unsynced. If you manually drag these playlists to the devices using the Windows Phone App/Windows Media player/iTunes they will be duplicated because these playlists appear as distinct from the synced playlists.
Here's the transcript of the chat.
Katherine B.: Hello , my name is Katherine B. with Microsoft Support. Please give me a few moments as I review the information you've submitted.
Katherine B.: From what I understand your Xbox Music collection on your phone is not matching your PC, correct?
Katherine B.: What's the make and model of your phone?
Ben: Nokia 920
Katherine B.: Okay. Thanks. One moment while I look more into your issue.
Katherine B.: Just to clarify, you are attempting to download from the cloud on your phone, correct?
Ben: As I understand it the songs in my cloud collection should automatically appear in my phone w/out downloading them
Katherine B.: Are these personal items (ie items you have obtained through another source besides Xbox Music) or Xbox Music items?
Ben: personal items which were matched using Xbox Music in Win8
Katherine B.: Ah, that would be the issue there. Currently only Xbox Music items will appear in the cloud.
Ben: this is something that will change?
Katherine B.: There are plans for it in the future.
Ben: i have a second issue
Katherine B.: Sure!
Ben: I have playlists that were created using Zune for my WP7 device
Ben: Xbox Music recognized these playlists when it was added
Ben: these playlists also appeared on my phone
Ben: the playlsists also appear on my Xbox console
Ben: however, both on my Phone and on my Xbox there are no songs in these playlsits
Katherine B.: Were these playlists populated by personal content? The Xbox and phone will recongize these playlists as part of the Xbox Music cloud, but if the playlists only contain personal items and not Xbox Music items, they will appear empty.
Ben: This is the case
Katherine B.: Alright, that would be it then. The Xbox Music app on the Xbox is only streaming content from the Xbox Music marketplace.
Ben: i have not found any documentation or any FAQ or Answers articles explaining these limitations of Xbox Music w.r.t. persaon content. It would be helpful if this was made more clear.
Katherine B.: I can forward that up. It may be that it's currently unclear because there are plans for personal content to be available in the future, but I do agree that it should be more clear about the current limitations.
Ben: I'm eager for that feature to be released, thanks for the help.
Katherine B.: No problem. I hope that helped clear some things up. For your records, here is your Service Request (reference) number: XXXXXXXXX. This acts like a receipt for our interaction. Is there anything else that I can assist you with?
Katherine B.: Hope you have a good holiday!
The most interesting tidbit here is the confirmation that streaming/syncing of personal items will be coming in a future release. No dates, but the fact that she implies the lack of documentation is due to it's impending release could indicate that it's coming quite soon. It almost sounds like it was intended to be ready for V1 release and was dropped at the last minute, a theory supported by the misleading information in Xbox Music in Windows 8.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this and/or it's something already widely known and I missed it, but I'll share anyways.