Cleaning Up Xbox Music on your PC and in the Cloud for Windows 8.1
I’m one of those Luddites who has multiple terabytes of local NAS redundant storage for my photography hobby and my music collection. I’m not interested in paying anyone for the privilege of storing “my stuff” in “their” cloud. Yes, I have oodles of SkyDrive storage thanks to the 200GB free for one year with purchase of a Surface offer, but it is ONE YEAR. I’ve also got multiple SD and micro SD cards that contain redundant copies of my Music collection. All ripped from CD’s I own, vinyl I’ve converted to digital, etc. And I have some digital purchases from Amazon.
I was a huge fan of the Zune Software for Windows, but it isn’t available for RT. Sadly, Microsoft’s Xbox Music App on Windows 8.1 has driven me crazy. It misidentified albums and provided bad album art, and it indexed multiple copies of the same track in many cases (and then listed some as unavailable). It defaults to the cloud collection unless you change it. And worst of all, it isn’t possible to use Windows Play(to) DLNA to stream to another device when accessing cloud based music with this app. I’m sure it is some DRM fear on the part of Microsoft, but streaming is what I do and I rarely listen directly on my computers (or iPhone).
I decided to try to clear out the cloud based music in Xbox Music and found that it was a time consuming and frustrating PITA to rid myself of tracks in the cloud.
First, I needed to turn off Cloud collection and Media Info, on EVERY Windows PC and fix up the bad album art.
Then, on EACH computer, I had to DELETE all cloud music by carefully selecting In the cloud from the dropdown and then deleting everything.
So great, I thought that all the music in the cloud was gone. Boy was I wrong. Visually, the Cloud based content no longer appeared on any computer, but it was just hidden from all views.
Using a web browser, I navigated to http://music.xbox.com/Collection/Songs and found I had some 3200 tracks listed. I reverified that all music was deleted on the local computers. I scratched my head. I guess Microsoft wants to save me the trouble if, at some future time, I want my collection in the cloud. Still, there should have been an option inside the App to permanently delete this stuff. And no, I don’t own or intend to purchase an Xbox One. Onwards…
Easy, I thought, I’ll sort the music by Album and delete. Wrong. The only way to delete music from the Xbox Music Cloud that I could find is to sort by Songs and delete track by track, and it’s a well hidden delete option. It’s necessary to hover over a track and click the trash can. For every single track. The screen shot below (after I deleted about 1000 tracks and (probably jump started carpal tunnel) shows the tiny trash icon you have to “hit”.
And after selecting the trash icon, a prompt displays asking you to confirm the deletion.
The cloud collection was mangled and useless to me. Check out the number of track listings for “Listen to the Music”, as an example – some apparent duplicates, and see the Unavailable annotation. This mirrored the experience inside the Xbox Music app. Music Russian Roulette. And I own ALL of these CD’s and all versions of this track are in my ripped music collection stored locally. Hovering over one of these unavailable tracks produces the strange message that I can add to my collection and play later on my Windows 8/Windows RT device. (But these tracks are all accessible locally on those devices already). More head scratching.
After several hours long sessions, I’ve emptied the music in the cloud (I hope) as shown by this screen shot from IE.
I’ve got plenty of other options for cloud music storage in the off chance I’m someplace without one of my devices/SD cards, and I’ve chosen Google’s Free Standard service for a backup copy of my ripped music. There is an App for my iPhone (where music is stored locally anyway) and Windows 8.1 (third party ad supported app). Best of all, the third party GMusicW app on Windows 8.1 supports DLNA Play(To) streaming from the cloud as you can see below.
I’ve got Pandora, Spotify and Nokia Music for those times I might decide to explore similar/new music. And I no longer have XBox Music altering my music collection and providing frustration.