Microsoft’s Windows 8 built-in music player revealed in leaked screenshots

By Tom Warren, on 13th Dec 11 2:43 pm with 59 Comments

Music beta inside Windows 8

Microsoft’s built-in Windows 8 music player has been revealed.

Screenshots leaked to the Internet on Tuesday reveal an inbuilt music player for Windows 8 that can run side-by-side with Metro apps. Winunleaked published a number of screenshots showing off the music player on Tuesday. The player appears to be a simple way to play music locally or from other devices, network locations and homegroups.

The now playing screen of the Windows 8 music player shows off the album art and queue features of the software. There’s also options to pin or open a “shop” within the app. Repeat, shuffle and save queue functions are also part of the Windows 8 music player. Winunleaked describes the player as a “Music beta”. The style of the player appears to closely match Windows Phone and Microsoft’s Windows 8 metro style apps.

The screenshots follow the leak of Windows Store images earlier this week. Microsoft is currently preparing a Windows 8 beta and Windows Store, both will be unveiled in late February. The software giant is likely to demo pre-beta builds of Windows 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January.

For more information on Windows 8 check out our dedicated section or the latest news below.

Windows 8 music player alongside Metro app

  • GP007

    This seems to be just the basic metro version of whatever windows media player is on the system.  I bet there should be a option to take you to the “advanced” desktop version of WMP, or who knows, there could be more ro the metro app.

    IMO, just taking Zune as it is right now but in full screen makes a perfect metro/start screen media player for Windows 8.

    • GP007

      Actually, looking at all the shots this seems to be just a simple demo/beta Music app so devs can get an idea of what you can do.  Seems way too basic for the default media player on Win8.    I’m still expecting Zune v5.0 to be the Win8 media player of choice.

    • Anonymous

      That actually looks about right.  I’m sure they’ll have the Artist wallpapers and probably add Play/Pause controls.  But it’s looking like a stripped down version of the Zune Software.

    • Anonymous

      I agree I would expect something similar to the windows phone zune player

    • Tom Servo

      We’ll see. Development on the current Zune client is dead in the water since more than two years. Only the bare necessary has been added over that time, and that’s only WP7 support.

      And oh yeah, the pivot title fonts have been changed, woohoo!

  • Nick Webster

    I was hoping for something more….Zune like, like Artist backgrounds and that sort of thing but that app just feels empty…then again it is beta so maybe we’ll see something better before RTM

    • Anonymous

      I sure it will have that.  Why wouldn’t they do that?

    • Candid Calum

      Everything else in Windows 8 is as “empty-feeling” as this Music app, so it’s hard to tell whether they will add the Zune niceties many of us love.

    • Nick Webster

      That’s what I mean, personally I feel the music app should feel somewhat alive, even if it was just a random artist picture from my collection in the background, that black grey is just too static, too dead.

    • Candid Calum

      (In reply to @twitter-200782794:disqus’s. comment shown below this one, because WinRumors won’t let me reply directly to his):

      Definitely, @twitter-200782794:disqus.   

      I enjoy playing my music and being immersed by the excellent Zune Now Playing screen while I complete other tasks away from my PC (e.g. ironing), or leaving the Zune Now Playing screen showing while playing music at a house party. These are use cases Spotify and other entertainment app developers appear to not care much about; however, Microsoft was spot on with the user experience of the latest version of the Zune software.

    • WixosTrix

      dynamic backgrounds fill the empty filling.

  • Paulo Guido

    I actually think it will be more like the currently zune for windows.

  • Jubbin Grewal

    I doubt that’s the final version. I always thought Zune was going to be hardwired into Windows 8 aka built in. So we’ll see once more info is out.

  • Candid Calum

    I do hope they include some of Zune’s niceties (the gradients on the Now Playing screen, the cool visualisation at the bottom of the Now Playing screen, the artist photos and song information moving across the Now Playing screen, the collage of album artwork on the Now Playing screen; just to name several of the many user experience benefits Zune provides).

    It was the Zune software that influenced me to love Microsoft, along with the other evidences of the Metro design language since then. I believe the Music app could still adhere to the Metro design language guidelines if they include some of those Zune features I mentioned.

    On a related note, I do love the simple app naming scheme we see in the previews of Windows 8, but they really shouldn’t finally name the app Music if it plays other types of audio as well.

  • Anonymous

    We want Zune

  • Tom Servo

    That’s some void and ugly app.

    • Anonymous

      clean and functional. to the point. something itunes isn’t.

    • Tom Servo

      It’s a bunch of of smallish text runs spread over an empty surface. Graphics design at its worst. It’s not clean, it’s sad.

    • Anonymous

      There’s no album art, just stock pics in these screen shot. I would imagine that will be added in. For all we know it will change the screen background to match what artist you are looking at like zune and WP7. But I guess its better to be like you and assume that this is exactly how it will look when its released.

    • Anonymous

      it’s a music player not a video game. I rather have that that a cluttered, messy UI full of pointless useless chrome anyday. after all the music player’s job is to play music, not to be call of duty.

    • Anonymous

      Yes and Zune is sad graphics design too right?

  • Guest

    I think it would be ideal to have Zune with WP7 device support built-in.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting: This is a music app. Not a music and video app. Hmmmm….

    That is obviously unfinished but please, no drop-down lists anymore! Where are the panorama controls from Media Center and Windows Phone to switch from Now Playing to other modes?
    This explains why the beta will not come out before end of February: They are just not ready for prime time yet. I’m absolutely OK with this as long as the team takes the time and makes Metro look less boring as we have seen so far.

  • Imran Hussain

    That’s ugly.

  • Aurélien Ramondou

    I don’t know what you guys are expecting from a music player ?

    You all seems to think there is some kind of “advanced” version but seriously what do you expect an “advanced” music player to do that this can’t do ? We don’t need any gradient, we don’t need any rounded corner or eye candy visualizer ! This is a straight port of Mango’s music player and personally I don’t need anything else.

    If you dont like Metro then just stick to your desktop mode.

    • Candid Calum

      What a ridiculous comment.

      The last sentence of your middle comment got it right, but the second sentence of that paragraph didn’t; you may not “need anything else,” but many of us would love this app to provide us with the same fantastic user experience Zune does, if Microsoft end up including this app in the final build of Windows 8.In regard to your final paragraph, your sentiment is likewise ridiculous. We may love the rest of Metro, but we may also be aware that the audio player could be better (after having previously used Zune). Personally, I quite dislike the Desktop mode, compared to the Metro mode, so “just [sticking] to [the] desktop mode” isn’t a great suggestion.

    • Aurélien Ramondou

      There’s no reason they don’t add a “Smart DJ mix” button at the bottom, that and the gradient color background album art in the background are the only thing I see missing from the Zune player here (and the synchronization stuff obviously, but once again it’s a music player).

    • WixosTrix

      As long as this lets you browse your collection and play music with light editing, like playlist creation and maybe renaming songs/albums/artists, that’s all most people would need on the Metro side.  Anything more advanced should be done on the desktop site with the full-featured zune software or whatever Microsoft incorporates directly into Windows 8.

    • Candid Calum

      I disagree. While most people would be fine with the kind of app you describe because it will do all they would like from a music app, I would hate to have to go into the Desktop mode regularly, just so I can have the best entertainment experience possible. I’m hoping to use the Metro mode as much as possible, rarely venturing into the Desktop mode (although due to me being a programmer, I might have to use the Desktop mode a bit more than I’d like, unless someone is able to create a decent Metro IDE for Metro-style apps).

      My Windows user experience would be awful if I had to regularly switch between two completely different experiences in that way (unless of course Microsoft completely change the design of the Desktop mode to match the Metro experience). If that ends up being the case, or if I end up having to spend too much time in the Desktop mode, I will seriously consider switching to using Apple products in order to get hold of that unified experience I so crave, until Microsoft actually unify the user experience of their products.

      Having said all of this, it could well be that the Xbox ends up providing the entertainment experience I’d like, so it may not end up mattering to me if this is the final look and feel of the in-built Windows 8 music app. But my comments about the Desktop mode still stand.

    • WixosTrix

      I think you missed my point. There wouldn’t need to be going back and forth between metro and the desktop. You would be able to acquire and consume your media through the metro experience, however, there are some things that may not work as well, such as mass metadata editing, or being able to drag couple of tracks to a different album or artist.

      The current Zune software doesn’t really fit with how metro apps are supposed to be. I just think there are too many options to be are really simplistic. The focus should be on consuming that content and discovering new content.

      By getting an iPad you would get the same experience because all of major editing tools are in the iTunes desktop app.

      The focus is moving to metro-styled apps but traditional windows computing isn’t being replaced, yet.

    • Guest

      Completely agree. It would be stupid to provide something functional but uninspired when they have the Zune app right there. Frankly, I think the W8 start menu itself could benefit from some of the eye candy inherent in Zune’s quickplay view. But apparently MS is intent on dull 2d instead. Guess they want W8 to run on even the lowest POS tablet out there.

    • Aurélien Ramondou

      The metro design language has nothing to do with the hardware.

    • Nick Webster

      TBH i was epecting more of a Hybrid of Music selection on the right with Now Playing on the right and maybe some Zune Music Marketplace intergration to get it in front of more people, sadly doesn’t look like the case :(

  • Therealjomon

    The Zune app is currently the finest example of a dynamic metro interface. Just make it full screen please and slap it on to windows 8. MS please don’t dumb down this app’s interface please please please.

    • Nick Webster

      They couldn’t, Zune as it is isn’t really touch friendly but I’m sure with some small changes it could do just fine as a W8 app

  • Anonymous

    Spotify integration please! Or open up the Zune market to more countries…..

  • Lewis McCrary

    Why even post leaked shots of anything?  Everyone assumes it’s the final version.  It’s obviously not finished.  And it looks like the standard media player vs Zune anyway.  Let me go get my “jump to conclusions” mat so we can play the game! :)

    • Candid Calum

      I always provide constructive criticism that doesn’t assume what we see will be anything like the final version. I believe that is important just in case Microsoft are thinking of designing the final in-built music app in this way, and they see our constructive criticism.

      As you mention, this could even be Windows 8′s equivalent of the current Windows Media Player; if that is the case, Microsoft may still provide Zune as a separate download. I feel this would be a huge mistake because of how great Zune is, and the fact Zune is built into Windows Phone (consistency). Of course, that may well not be the case at all.

    • Nick Webster

      It’s obviously not the final version, even says in article “Winunleaked describes the player as a ‘Music beta’” but still a lot of us know that betas like this give us some insight to the finished version and we don’t want the finished version to even look like this, I don’t mind the docked version…but the full version sucks worst then my ex-gf

  • Anonymous

    If they don’t use Zune at least as it is now, then I seriously question if they know what they are doing. The Zune player is simply MARVELOUS and Metro incarnate!

  • Anonymous

    in 3 2 1, ipad version, just so that you have one less reason to buy a win8 tablet.

  • Adam Haider

    I don’t think many people on this blog realise the process software engineers go through in order to build OS applications. What we are seeing is a packaged (prototype app) used to demonstrate the different media playback controls in the new WinRT environment. 

    All the GUI and Zune-like niceties are coming in the Release Candidate (logic tells me) when the OS will take advantage of the GPU. Everything before this development stage is solely for developer eyes for testing not reviewing or passing judgement.

    When you build a car, the paint job is the last thing you do, you first need to have a solid chassis and ensure everything is working right. — This OS is different from Vista to Windows 7, it’s a bigger leap so there is more prototyping and testing involved which is not being communicated properly by MS as usual so everyone is up in arms about how boring it looks without understanding why.

    Don’t worry, Windows 8 is going to be awesome! :-)

  • Matthew Bell

    During some of the last episodes of the amazinf Zune Insider podcast Matt Ackers hint a couple of times that there was going to be a big change to the zune GUI. Atleast thats what I read of it

  • Penta2100


  • Scotmdjt1

    Zune, Zune, Zune…PLEASE!!

  • Josè Daniel

    So we got Windows Media Player, Zune Player and now this Windows 8 built-in player … gosh.

  • Daniel Herzig

    As a dedicated Zune user, I’d rather see a “touch friendly” version of the Zune app as the dedicated Music app for Windows 8. This, hopefully in beta, looks a little too barebones

  • Dude

    Zune…. Just… Use… ZUNE.

  • A guest

    “Win Unleaked”? So they redact things which have been leaked?

  • Cristian

    zune it would make perfect since to use zune that way everyone who purchased a movie on xbox will finally know they could watch it on their pc’s. this could be the next unfinished zune i mean right now its not very touch friendly but it is the first metro app ever created.

  • Anonymous

    Wow a Music player! Unbelievable…. Comeon guys, give linux a chance! Ubuntu Has a Music Player too and has an app store. Lets destroy the M$ monopoly!

    • Guest

      Ubuntu, shill? Even their own users are dumping it after that Unity fiasco. Looks like you backed the wrong horse. Again.

  • Anonymous

    Looks unfinished, as would be expected at this stage. Since we’re not seeing any screenshots of it running in Desktop mode, we can’t really assume that this would be anything other that the Start Screen version of a music player. Whatever is in store for the desktop (Zune, Windows Media Player) we probably don’t know yet.

    Personally I like both Zune and Media Player for different things.

  • Ric Desan

    Who in the real world is even going to use the standard M$ bundle crap apps to begin with? I mean its not like there isnt a million superior players out there already!

    • Guest

      As soon as I saw M$, I didn’t even have to look at your activity stream to know you were a moron.

  • Armsplams

    zune is the best!!!

  • Carlin 

    Its really a good news. insightful and well written.Thanks for this, I really liked it. Can’t wait to read more.

  • Charles 

    I’ve recommended this blog to some of my colleagues. I’m sure they’ll find it is useful as I did.

  • Ferschio

    I think Zune Software is more beautiful!