Microsoft’s media strategy is currently in a transitional phase. Many apps, such as Xbox Music, are still in a pre-release state. The Redmond software giant has continued to add new features and polish with each update, but it’s nowhere near done. If you’re going to make the switch from the Zune software client to Xbox Music, there’s a few things you should know, especially if you have an Xbox Music Pass (formerly known as the Zune Music Pass).
Xbox Music allows you to take advantage of your current Xbox/Zune Music Pass subscription, but music downloaded through the new app won’t show up in the Zune software client. The reverse is also true, so subscription content downloaded through the Zune software client can’t be played in the Xbox Music app. This won’t be a problem if you plan to use the Xbox Music app exclusively, but if you own a Windows Phone or Zune device, it could be problematic. It’s also an issue if you want to take advantage of your Zune Pass music credits, which come with the old $15/month version of the Zune Music Pass.
When I first added my music collection to Xbox Music, a few albums refused to appear. After some investigation, I discovered that it was all subscription content. Downloading the content through the app works great, but that prevents you from using your credits on it or syncing it to your smartphone or media player. As a result, if you have an Xbox/Zune Music Pass with 10 credits per month and/or an interest in syncing subscription content to your Windows Phone or Zune device, you should probably hold off downloading content through Xbox Music. The app does, however, work great for playing music that you own or streaming tracks directly from the Xbox Music Store.