Xbox Music allows you to search for and play music on your iOS device from a collection of millions of songs.
What can you do with Xbox Music?
Xbox Music offers a very similar service to that which you get with Spotify. By signing up to the service you get access to a huge database of songs, which you can stream to your device wherever you go, via a WiFi or mobile data connection.
To make it easy to pick out what you want to listen to from this wealth of music you can create playlists with Xbox Music, which you can add your songs to. These playlists sync across any device you run Xbox Music on, be it a PC, Xbox, web, or another mobile device.
One feature of Xbox Music that you won't find in Spotify is the 'Collection' section. This acts as a hub for all of your favorite music, which again is accessible from anywhere and at any time. In your collection you can add songs, albums and playlists to give you a mini catalog of music that you like. You can browse your collection by artist, album, song or genre.
At first glance, the collection feature doesn't seem much different to the concept of playlists but it's actually a bit different, since it aggregates all of your existing playlists as well as allowing you to add more. This saves you having to navigate through all of your different playlists if there are songs strewn across them which you want to listen to together.
Although this collections feature is very useful, overall the Microsoft app is limited in terms of features when compared to the Spotify app. Xbox Music does have a radio feature, but it's not so well integrated and only supports artist radio (i.e. you can't create radio stations around playlists/genres/songs).
Also, there's no 'Explore' feature like there is on the web version of Xbox Music , and you don't get the ability to share playlists with your friends or make collaborative playlists - options which you get with a Spotify account.
Crucially too, there's no 'offline' mode in Xbox Music, so you can't download songs to be listened to when you're not connected (even though the Windows Phone version of Xbox Music does support this). So, Xbox Music can take its toll if you have a limited mobile data plan.
Quick access to the music you love
The Xbox Music app for is easy enough to get around, and it isn't too dissimilar to the Spotify app. A slide-out menu appears when you tap the menu icon in the top-left, giving you quick access to search, playlists, your collection, and the app's options.
A contextual menu is available in the top-right corner, and you can long-press a song or artist to add a song to a playlist, start radio, or find out more about an artist by reading their biography.
The Now Playing screen lets you see which songs are coming next and there's a shuffle function that allows you to mix this list up. Xbox Music can play songs in the background while you use your iOS device, so there's no need to keep the application open, which is handy.
Xbox Music is an easy-to-use music app that puts a huge world of music at your fingertips. However, it doesn't quite have enough bells and whistles to put it in the same bracket as Spotify right now.