In Windows 8, Windows Media Player isn’t the only pre-bundled application to play music.
Clearly intending to flaunt Modern UI abilities, Microsoft has included a Modern-styled app called Music to play, well, music.
It follows the Modern UI design principles, using elements like data tiles and emphasis over data (music and text).
Also, it intends to become a one-stop shop to buy music online from Marketplace. Thus, you can manage both local and online music through Music app.
Launch the app by clicking on the app tile in the Start Screen. The welcome screen simply lists locally stored songs and albums as Modern UI tiles.
Each tile represents an album (or a song if it is a single). Clicking a tile will start playing the album.
Music app collects its data solely from Music Library of Windows. So, you need to add your music to the library in order to make it usable by the app.
However, playing locally stored music is not the only function of the app. It also lists singles and albums hosted by Marketplace. You can directly purchase them from the app.
You need to sign in to a Microsoft Account, though.
My Music Section
This section lists content from the Music Library, as well as the songs that you purchase from the Marketplace.
You can filter the music on the basis of albums, artists or playlists. If you select a song, you get the options to immediately play it, or to add it to the “Now Playing” playlist.
Right click anywhere to summon the context menu. It shows the currently playing song. The context menu lets you
- Play or pause the current song
- Jump to certain locations in the current song
- Change to next or previous song
- Toggle the shuffle mode in the playlist
- Add selected song to a playlist
- Delete the selected song
Currently Playing Song
The app acknowledges a playing song merely through the context menu. If you want to view a flashy, bigger version, then click on the song in the menu.
The new interface fills the background with album covers.
Large controls like song progress bar, play/pause button and next/previous buttons decorate the foreground of the interface.
There is a button at the lower-right corner, clicking on which brings up the playlist.
New Releases Section and Popular Section
These two sections list albums and singles that are available for purchase on Marketplace. As they have the same display structure, I will explain only New Releases section.
Click on New Releases on the main screen to enter its detailed view.
The pane on the left side lists music genres. The right section lists the albums and artists of the selected genre.
Again, the Modern UI is all over the place, with emphasis on textual data and tiles. Clicking on a tile gives you a synopsis of the corresponding album.
The window so opened lists the songs of the album. You can preview the songs directly from there. Any song or album purchased from here is included in the “My Music” section of the app.
Also, you can further view the details of the album and the artist. The detailed view describes the artist and all their creations.
You can read artist’s biography, his albums release till date. Also, you can buy a song or an album.
Music app implements Search Charm very efficiently. It searches not only in the local library, but also in the Marketplace, thus providing you relevant results from both the places.
You can share a link to a song or an album directly from the app. Whip out the Share Charm and select the app with which you want to share. I selected Mail app for this example.
Music app gives a link to the selected song or album; the link leads to the Marketplace, where you can preview or purchase it.
There are two main sections of Settings Charm.
- Preferences – Here, you can manage your Microsoft Account and Music Library.
This section informs you that you should go customize the Music Library in order to make changes to the music listed in the app.
Also, you can reset your Music app-related user account settings by clicking on “Forget Me” button. You may want to do it to either clear the settings or switch to a new user.
- Account – This section manages the Xbox account settings.
You can change you Xbox account settings directly from the Settings Charm, like manage payment options, view billing history, customize privacy settings, change contact preferences, etc.