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Xbox Music becomes Groove

Groovy Gang

Microsoft drops the Xbox branding from its entertainment apps in Windows 10

Microsoft – the company that doesn’t like to let a week pass without rebranding something – is changing the name of its Xbox Music service to Groove. Reincarnating memories of Rodney Trotter’s Groovy Gang, Microsoft’s music service is getting a new look and some extra features to accompany its new name.

The new name has been chosen because “Groove describes what people feel and do with music,” according to Microsoft’s senior marketing communications manager, Brandon LeBlanc, and has absolutely nothing to do with stealing a bit of limelight back from rival Apple Music, which launched last week.

Aside from the name change, Microsoft is once again changing the appearance of its oft-tweaked music app, allowing users to choose between dark and light themes. It’s also including new gesture controls, allowing users to pinch and zoom their way out of menus or drag songs into playlists. Playback controls will be built into the app’s taskbar icon, a feature that’s been available in rivals such as Spotify for many a year. 

Windows 10: the lowdown

Microsoft is also aping a feature of Google Play Music, allowing users to uploads their MP3 collection to Sky Drive and stream that music to any mobile device, Xbox or PC for free. Given that Microsoft hands 1TB of OneDrive storage to Office 365 subscribers, that could be very useful indeed.  

Customers who have already signed up for the Xbox Music Pass – which offers a streaming library of 40 million tracks for £8.99 per month – need do nothing. They wil automatically be rolled over into Groove subscriptions. 

Microsoft’s also dropping the Xbox brand from its video app, now simply renaming it Movies & TV. That app is also getting a revamp, including support for new file formats (such as .mkv), and a range of new gesture controls. The app will continue to offer movie and TV rentals, which you can start watching on one Windows device (including smartphones and Xbox consoles) and pick up where you left off on another. 


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