SkyDrive adds album art for music: is Xbox Music far behind?

By Kip Kniskern | Posted August 25, 2012 22 comments

Thanks to a tip from “smileyctp”, we’re getting some new indications that Microsoft’s strategy for SkyDrive and Xbox Music may be getting closer to being revealed.  Smileyctp, who has had a bit of his music collection up on SkyDrive for weeks, noticed yesterday something that hadn’t been there before: SkyDrive was adding album art (in the form of both large and small thumbnails) to the collection:

skydrive album art

We’ve posted a number of times about SkyDrive and music before: in May of last year we reported on some indications that Windows Phone “Mango” might support music streaming from SkyDrive (although that hasn’t materialized and was in fact later denied by Microsoft); then when Xbox Music was announced at E3 in June, Paul Thurrott reported that Xbox Music would have SkyDrive integration.

We’ve played around with adding some music to our SkyDrive account here, and sure enough, it’s been populated with thumbnail album art, too:

skydrive album thumbnails

We’re able to play the music files (by choosing to open them from SkyDrive, or just double-clicking on them from the Windows 8 SkyDrive “Modern” app), but to be fair we haven’t paid close enough attention to how SkyDrive treated music files before to know if this is new, and we fully expect a better experience than what’s available today, give all the effort they’re making to add in album art.

Microsoft has teased Xbox Music before, and although we already have the RTM bits of Windows 8 in hand, we still don’t know much about the details of the new service.  We’re expecting a next generation Zune Pass service, with SkyDrive, Windows Phone, and Windows 8 integration, but how it will all work, and where those 30 million songs are coming from are still mysteries, at least for now.  With the changes smileyctp spotted in SkyDrive, we may know more soon.

Posted August 25th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
Category: News
Tags: SkyDrive, Xbox Music
  • George

    Looks like it still has the annoying problem of showing the folder.jpg/etc album art created by WMP. Even though it’s hidden on the PC it was created, SkyDrive shows a bunch of album art files, as you can see in this photo. This is why I hate I don’t like linking my Music Library to SkyDrive.

  • George

    Looks like it still has the annoying problem of showing the folder.jpg/etc album art created by WMP. Even though it’s hidden on the PC it was created, SkyDrive shows a bunch of album art files, as you can see in this photo. This is why I hate I don’t like linking my Music Library to SkyDrive.

  • Cope23

    I actually just looked and my skydrive (which incidentally has only two albums – Ryan Adams “Ashes & Fire” the vinyl rip (authorized) - so not a “matched eligible version”, and “Pneumonia” by Whiskeytown) and Pneumonia was tagged correctly – with album art, without the garbage folder.jpg “crapola”… ????  

  • Cope23

    I actually just looked and my skydrive (which incidentally has only two albums – Ryan Adams “Ashes & Fire” the vinyl rip (authorized) - so not a “matched eligible version”, and “Pneumonia” by Whiskeytown) and Pneumonia was tagged correctly – with album art, without the garbage folder.jpg “crapola”… ????  

  • efjay

    Works for me, and actually picks up the album art for songs that the stupid Xbox music app doesn’t on the enterprise trial RTM. Add in the crashes from the video app and Windows 8 is looking pretty mediocre to me.

  • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

    Works for me, and actually picks up the album art for songs that the stupid Xbox music app doesn’t on the enterprise trial RTM. Add in the crashes from the video app and Windows 8 is looking pretty mediocre to me.

  • Simon Johnny

    Now if only they could intergrate our past zune purchases into skydrive. That WOULD be something special.

    • Christopher Evans

      That is one thing I don’t understand I have a MusicZune Folder and a MusicArtistsong folder. One is purcahsed and one is Zune Pass info. I would hope I could choose the location for Zune Pass vs my ten song downloads. This would be good because as it stands now, all my music is backed up to my SkyDrive as well as songs I don’t ‘own’…

      The album art is also for podcasts, though because I do the above stated I always have had thumbnails on my SkyDrive as Zune downloads them with my songs. Does anyone know how to turn off thumbnails? It is annyoing for an unexpected picture to pop up when I scroll through my Skydrive on my phone or tablet…

  • Simon Johnny

    Now if only they could intergrate our past zune purchases into skydrive. That WOULD be something special.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Evans/100000309139775 Christopher Evans

      That is one thing I don’t understand I have a MusicZune Folder and a MusicArtistsong folder. One is purcahsed and one is Zune Pass info. I would hope I could choose the location for Zune Pass vs my ten song downloads. This would be good because as it stands now, all my music is backed up to my SkyDrive as well as songs I don’t ‘own’…

      The album art is also for podcasts, though because I do the stated I always have had thumbnails on my SkyDrive. Does anyone know how to turn them off?

  • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe

    This is great as long as SkyDrive won’t overwrite the album arts that I’ve carefully embedded (mp3Tag) to my mp3s.

    • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

      How do you do that?

  • http://josedmorales.net/ Joe Morales

    This is great as long as SkyDrive won’t overwrite the album arts that I’ve carefully added (mp3Tag) to my collection.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    I’m not seeing it just yet. I’ll test later.

  • http://www.suboculis.com Soundtweaker

    Im streaming mp3s now from Skydrive to my Samsung Focus via the skydrive app.
    Has music streaming always been enabled to the Window Phone Skydrive app?

    • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com/ Greg Edwards

      The SkyDrive app’s support for streaming music to WP7 is pretty anemic at the moment. It’s only one file at a time, doesn’t pull album art, and doesn’t play in the background. Hopefully, we’ll see much improved support in WP8.

  • http://www.suboculis.com Soundtweaker

    Im streaming mp3s now from Skydrive to my Samsung Focus via the skydrive app.
    Has music streaming always been enabled to the Window Phone Skydrive app?

    • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com Greg Edwards

      The SkyDrive app’s support for streaming music to WP7 is pretty weak at the moment. It’s only one file at a time, doesn’t pull album art, and doesn’t play in the background. Hopefully, we’ll see much improved support in WP8.

  • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com/ Greg Edwards

    Since reading this post, I’ve been closely watching my SkyDrive over the past couple of days. I was initially very optimistic that there was something new happening, but I have to say that I’m just not seeing it. 

    That’s not to say I don’t have cover art in SkyDrive. I do, but it’s because I’ve chosen to sync my local file system’s Music folders via the SkyDrive desktop client. In my case, I’ve carefully added cover art into each of my files via MP3Tag, and Windows Media Player has been building album art thumbnails in those folders, which then gets synced to SkyDrive. So as a control, I stripped the cover art from an album’s worth of MP3 files. I placed the control folder in a synced, non-music location on my local file system (i.e., a folder that syncs with SkyDrive, but not designated on my local file system as a Music folder). As you probably know, SkyDrive doesn’t inherently designate folders as anything other than Documents or Pictures at the moment, but for what it’s worth, the album I uploaded went into a Documents folder. I’ve been watching this folder over the past few days, and so far…no cover art in that folder. I’m left wondering whether a similar scenario is playing out here – album art in SkyDrive, but only because it’s happening locally and then getting synced via the desktop client.

    As far as playing music from SkyDrive, it seems more or less the same as it ever was, at least for me. On the web, I can click a music file, and it offers to download and play it locally in Media Player. I can select a music file via my WP7 app, and it plays in the foreground (but no album art is shown). The process is less awkward using the SkyDrive app on my Windows 8 machine, but essentially, that’s still what’s happening. The SkyDrive app pushes that one file down to the Music app, and it plays locally. That’s still a far cry from true integration, where I’d envision playing a list of tracks from one or multiple albums. Hopefully, that’s still coming.

    As we all know, Microsoft has a track record of rolling out these kinds of changes gradually, so it’s entirely possible that I’m on a segment that hasn’t been updated yet. But assuming SkyDrive is working the same for me as it is for the rest of you, I don’t there’s anything new happening here…yet.

  • http://gregsedwards.wordpress.com Greg Edwards

    Since reading this post, I’ve been closely watching my SkyDrive over the past couple of days. I was initially very optimistic that there was something new happening, but I have to say that I’m just not seeing it. 

    That’s not to say I don’t have cover art in SkyDrive. I do, but it’s because I’ve chosen to sync my local file system’s Music folders via the SkyDrive desktop client. In my case, I’ve carefully added cover art into each of my files via MP3Tag, and Windows Media Player has been building album art thumbnails in those folders, which then gets synced to SkyDrive. So as a control, I stripped the cover art from an album’s worth of MP3 files. I placed the control folder in a non-music location on my local file system (i.e., a folder that syncs with SkyDrive, but not designated on my local file system as a Music folder). As you probably know, SkyDrive doesn’t inherently designate folders as anything other than Documents or Pictures at the moment, but for what it’s worth, the album I uploaded went into a Documents folder. I’ve been watching this folder over the past few days, and so far…no cover art in that folder. I’m left wondering whether a similar scenario is playing out here – album art in SkyDrive, but only because it’s happening locally and then getting synced via the desktop client.

    As far as playing music from SkyDrive, it seems more or less the same as it ever was, at least for me. On the web, I can click a music file, and it offers to download and play it locally in Media Player. I can select a music file via my WP7 app, and it plays in the foreground (but no album art is shown). The process is less awkward using the SkyDrive app on my Windows 8 machine, but essentially, that’s still what’s happening. The SkyDrive app pushes that one file down to the Music app, and it plays locally. That’s still a far cry from true integration, where I’d envision playing a list of tracks from one or multiple albums. Hopefully, that’s still coming.

    As we all know, Microsoft has a track record of rolling out these kinds of changes gradually, so it’s entirely possible that I’m on a segment that hasn’t been updated yet. But assuming SkyDrive is working the same for me as it is for the rest of you, I don’t there’s anything new happening here…yet.

  • Renertorres12

    thanks.

  • Renertorres12

    thanks.