Windows Phone 8 and Xbox Music Pass

I wish this whole thing was one big joke.  But it’s both too early and too late for an
April Fools.

I commend Microsoft for adding Media Transfer
Protocol.  This is fantastic for
downloading pictures to the computer and quickly moving various files back and
forth.  It could be argued we should have
had this with Windows Phone 7.  Alright,
we have it now.  And sure, it even gives
consumers the ability to use third-party options should they so choose.  Great. 
This makes me excited.

Okay, so let me go sync my music collection I’ve been
using for the past several years through my Zune Music Pass, now Xbox Music
Pass.  We quickly find out the Zune
software does not work with Windows Phone 8. 
This isn’t exactly a surprise, but no problem as Microsoft has been
diligent enough to replace that with Xbox Music.  But wait, Xbox Music doesn’t sync with
Windows Phone 8.  Again, no problem.  We have the Windows 8 sync apps, both desktop
and Windows Store options.

We could argue the Zune client software was not the
best way to sync media back and forth between Windows Phone 7, but one thing it
did quite well was give you a clean and easy to understand UI that revolved
around your music collection.  On Windows
8, the desktop app looks like some crudely skinned Explorer window that lacks
any significant functionality other than a list of check boxes and the Windows
Store app is fantastically dumbed down. 
Not to mention the lack of podcast support.

Joe Belfiore gives alternatives for managing podcasts.
Joe Belfiore gives alternatives for managing podcasts.

Joe Belfiore pointed out to me via Twitter that I
could use OTA subscription management on the phone (which is fine unless you
live outside the United States) or I could use iTunes to manage my podcasts and
sync it through that.  I think it’s sad
that Microsoft itself is telling me that if I want to manage and sync podcasts
from my computer to my phone that I should use iTunes.This wouldn’t be such a virtual slap in the
face if they didn’t have a wonderful system that worked before Windows Phone
8.  The Zune client did a good job of
managing podcasts.  I’m a person that
likes to listen to my podcasts both at home and on the go.  If I listened to a podcast at home on my PC,
the client software would sync it with my phone and I could pick up where I
left off in the car or visa-versa.  I did
this all with one single program.  This
functionality isn’t possible with Windows Phone 8, not natively.  If it is, please point me in the right

Windows Phone Support trying to help solve the problem.
Windows Phone Support trying to help solve the problem.

Then there’s the Zune Pass music.  I may be a fringe case but virtually none of
my Zune Pass music is playable on my Nokia Lumia 822 if synced from my PC.  Windows Phone Support’s suggestion: re-download
the music.  I had tried that previously, didn’t
work.  Did it again after they suggested
it, didn’t work.  I’ve tried downloading
music from both the Zune client and the Xbox Music app, neither works on my
phone.  Music downloaded from the Music
app doesn’t play in the Zune client and music from my Zune client doesn’t work
in the Music app.  If I want music on my
phone I have to download it OTA from the store on the phone or stream it.  Thankfully I still have unlimited data for
the time being.  I even tried syncing the
music I got from my phone onto my PC. 
The music won’t play in either program. 
And yes, my computer is a registered PC on my account and each of the
pieces of software work independently of each other.

Right now I’m left wondering if the subscription I
have is even worth its money at this point. 
From my perspective as an Xbox music subscriber, music syncing for
Windows Phone 8 is a disaster.  It’s not
better, it’s not even equivalent. 
Compared to the all-in-one experience on the Zune client, it’s a much
inferior process split between equally inferior software.

I’m sitting here typing this with a Zune 8, Zune HD,
HTC Trophy and Nokia Lumia 822 resting beside me on my desk.   Two Windows 8 systems, with a third one
about to be upgraded and a tablet on its way within the next few months.  I’m all in. 
I love the overall experience.   I
think Windows Phone 8 is fantastic.  But
when the services I pay a subscription for are broken and crippled like this…
we have a problem.

Am I completely off base here?  Because I feel like I am blowing this out of

One thought on “Windows Phone 8 and Xbox Music Pass

Add yours

  1. I could not agree more. The whole system needs a overhaul to make it easier. There needs to be a simplistic ecosystem. Android and Apple have this down, you’d think Microsoft would get it down as well. I love the Xbox music pass and subscribe to it but I second everything you’ve mentioned here.


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