I came across a really fun feature of Windows 8.1 last weekend. If you like music, you’ll really enjoy it. I’ve written before about Microsoft’s Xbox Music Streaming App. I’m not sure why they went with the name Xbox Music, you certainly don’t need an Xbox to use it. You’ll find this app listed as Music on your Windows 8.1 Device. You can use is to manage and play the songs already on your PC or as a streaming service to listen to music. There’s both a free and a paid version of the service, but in this article we’ll be talking about the free version that lets you stream millions of tunes for free as long as you are willing to listen to the occasional ad.
This feature allows you to select a website – it could be an article about music or the page for a TV show that features music and create a playlist of songs based on that page. Here’s how it works:
You have to start off using the Metro/Modern Internet Explorer App for this to work. So open Internet Explorer From the Start Screen by tapping or clicking the tile. You want to make sure you have the app version with the address bar at the bottom open. It should look like this.
Now find a web page that features music. For this example, here I’ve chosen a Billboard.com article about the top 100 hits from American Idol.
Next, you either swipe from the right side of the page or click on the far right of the page to bring up the charms bar. Select Share.
You’ll see options so share the page via e-mail, social networks or add it to your Reading List. Choose Music.
The app will then start searching for music. It warns you that it may take awhile and that’s true. It could be five or ten minutes.
Now the playlist it generated wasn’t just the 100 top American Idol tunes. It was a list of songs sung by contestants on American Idol, songs by singers who have appeared on Idol, original versions of songs that were later covered on American Idol and songs by some of the hosts. It pulled up a hundred songs in various genres. If you like the generated playlist, just tap or click Create Playlist.
Xbox Music will open and your new playlist will be there. Simply tap or click to select.
Then you can just play the music. There’s nearly seven hours of music in this one.
This doesn’t only work for current popular music. I went looking for an article about great big band music and managed to pull up this play list of 100 big band and jazz tunes:
Another fun thing to try is to go to the website for a favorite television show. I went to the site for the TV show “Arrow” and came up with this list of 100 tunes that have either appeared on the program or were sung by artists whose music have been featured on the show.
It is a great way to explore new music or listen to old favorites for free. Give it a try.