If, like me, one of your main use cases for your smartphone is enjoying music, its likely that you’ve experienced the frustrations of trying to manage music across devices caused by poor design and application lock down.
What I’m really saying here is that if you’ve tried to manage your music you’ll have come across iTunes, which stands to date as one of the most awful pieces of software to make it onto a computer.
iTunes is a mess, it manages to take too many, often unconnected, tasks and manage them in the least friendly and unintuitive manner possible. It has become Apple’s Hydra and I wonder whether it has the ability to cut off its monster’s many heads.
In years gone by Microsoft’s answer to iTunes was Windows Media Player. A low starting point to be sure, but following the launch of its Zune Music service and then Xbox Music Microsoft have made great strides forward in usability and capability.
When Groove Music arrived in Windows 10 Microsoft delivered a very capable product and subsequent updates have ensured that it is one that continually evolves for the better. The polar opposite of what’s happening to iTunes.
Groove has limited use cases and, by restricting what it sets out to achieve, it manages to deliver against them well.
Groove handles just a small subset of the tasks that Apple asks of iTunes. It is your PC’s local music player, your gateway to the Groove subscription service and… well that’s it really. Video? That’s handled elsewhere. Music purchases? Elsewhere. Device synchronisation? Elsewhere. App installs? elsewhere. Music uploading… well, I think you get the idea.
As a result of this separation of duties, plus the robust and reliable nature of Microsoft’s OneDrive, Groove manages to be a fast, friendly and easy to use app. Aesthetically it knocks the competition out of the park (something I think is true of most Microsoft products at the moment).
Groove is as good on Windows 10 Mobile and the Xbox which demonstrates that the basic concept is solid. Synchronisation is fast and seamless. Usability is consistent despite the variance in screen sizes and input methods.
Microsoft may not have convinced many users to take up its Groove subscription, but users currently rocking Windows 10, will find that Microsoft has delivered the perfect tool to keep them rocking.