Microsoft’s Xbox Music has gotten more useful. After launching the companion app to the music subscription service it surfaces on Windows 8, Windows Phone and the web, Microsoft is finally bringing offline music playback to the apps that it makes available to Android and iOS users.
Xbox Music on iOS was the first to receive the feature. It picked up offline media playback in an app store update last week. With it, Xbox Music users are finally able to store some of their music locally. Some is the key word here as there’s actually isn’t a universal switch that will automatically download the user’s entire Xbox Music collection. Instead, users are only able have playlists download automatically.
Xbox Music on Android mirrors the streaming functionality found in its iPhone counterpart, however Microsoft has added one new feature: the option for a user to play all of their collection and entire individual genres with the push of a button.
Users who already have either application installed on their smartphone should already have received the update enabling offline playback. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t announced if it will actually enable users to automatically download their entire collection through these apps. Xbox Music on Windows Phone and Windows 8 already allows this functionality.
Xbox Music on Windows Phone, Windows 8, iOS and Android all require users to have an Xbox Music subscription at a cost of $9.99 a month. At this point, the only thing Xbox Music on Android and iOS are missing are music discovery features. While both apps allow users to stream automatic generated playlists using the Radio feature neither are as robust as the features found in rival services like iTunes Radio or Spotify.
Xbox Music will need more music discovery features if it hopes to compete effectively in the music subscription space. The newly unveiled Beats Music also attempts to convince users that a subscription music service is better than paying for individual albums and songs. It will also cost users $9.99 a month but will offer an optional family plan to AT&T Wireless users.