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Xbox Music Book: A Small Update, Some Thoughts on Music Match

Xbox Music Book: A Small Update, Some Thoughts on Music Match

Xbox Music Book 0.2 is now available

Here’s a second release of the in-progress Xbox Music Book plus some thoughts about the much-maligned music match functionality in Microsoft’s new cloud-based music service.

I’ve spent perhaps a bit too much time with Xbox Music in recent weeks. But I think I’m getting the hang of it.

With regards to the book, here’s a small update. The first chapter/section is basically done, at least in rough draft form, so I’ll be working on the remaining chapter/sections, each of which deals with Xbox Music on a particular modern Microsoft platform, going forward. I’m working on an Xbox Music chapter (really Music + Videos + Podcasts) in tandem with this for Windows Phone Book.

Download Xbox Music Book 0.2.

With regards to music match, I believe there will eventually be three forms of matching made available in Xbox Music. (Today there are two.) These are:

Manual album match, which I wrote about in Xbox Music Feature Focus: Album Match.

Automatic album match, where Xbox Music appears to automatically but silently match albums in your Music library to the Xbox Music library and then add to your cloud collection so that they are available for streaming or download on your other devices. This one is confusing because it’s not clear how it works, but my theory is that an album needs to be “totally” matched—no mismatched songs—for this to work. If anyone has any experience with this, I’m curious about it.

Scan-and-match, which is coming in a future update to Xbox Music. I assume this will be automated in a wizard, as with competing services and will work with music that isn’t in Xbox Music Store, a limitation of the previous two methods.

That said, I’ve been manually matching music, album by tedious album. And while there continue to be all kinds of hiccups, including albums that are found but then not actually matched, it’s proceeding. And while this process is indeed time consuming, there are two very positive things to note:

1. It’s free. Unlike many Xbox Music services, this works whether you have Xbox Music Pass or not. And while I’m curious if there are limits to the storage space you get, or whether the rules will change, for now you can tediously keep matching your music and it will all appear on your devices. That’s pretty amazing.

2. It’s fast. I copied my “master” music collection to my Windows 8-based “server” (really just a PC) and then have been matching the albums from there via a Remote Desktop Connection window on my main PC. When I finish all of the albums that start with a certain letter (like “B”), I think switch to the Xbox Music app on my main PC and navigate to that letter in the album view. Within seconds, all of the albums I just matched fill in. Again, pretty amazing.

I’m still looking forward to the scan-and-match service, and I still can’t recommend manual album matching to those with big music collections. But you have to admit, warts and all, it’s still pretty good for free. (And Windows 8/RT users also get that free music streaming feature too.)

More soon.

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