The Xbox One and Playstation 4 both offer a big leap forward in terms of gaming, but curiously enough, both were a step backwards in some other ways, playing music being one of them. Both offer a subscription-based service that lets you stream music (Xbox Music on the Xbox One, Music Unlimited on the Playstation 4) but neither makes it easy to play music you already own.
Both companies have vaguely implied they'd be bringing back the ability to play our own music, but until now we've seen little actual evidence. That may have just changed for Xbox One owners.
Yesterday The Verge posted about a discovery by Chinese site Live Sino. In the source code for OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) Live Sino found references to a OneDrive Music folder with the following description:
Meet your OneDrive Music folder. Upload your music files to this folder, so that you can play them via Xbox Music from any of your devices. You can also add files to this folder using the OneDrive app for your computer.
So what does this tell us? At the least, it means Xbox Music subscribers will be able to upload their own music to OneDrive and play it back on the Xbox. That's a worst case situation and it's still a big improvement over what we (don't) have now.
What I'm hoping for is that we won't have to be an Xbox Music subscriber to take advantage of this feature. Considering the music will reside on OneDrive I think there's a good chance no sub fee will be involved (but of course if you fill up your free space on OneDrive and want more, that will cost you).
And ideally once the Xbox One can play an MP3 from your OneDrive, it'll also play an MP3 from a connected USB device, or from its own hard drive (or a PC on the same network).
With E3 less than a month away, I don't expect any kind of official announcement from Microsoft about this leak; they'll be gathering all their news announcements for their E3 press conference. I'm really hoping it won't be long until we can start playing our own playlists while gaming again.
This feature (assuming it's a real feature) is good for Xbox Music too, since it brings it closer to feature parity with Google Music and Amazon. It's nice to be able to upload music you bought from a street musician or from a local bar band — stuff not on a label — and listen to it from the cloud via your streaming service.
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