While the core of the service remains the same, since the launch of Windows 10 Groove is available to millions around the world.
Whether you're just using it to listen to your streamed content, local music, your cloud collection, moving your stuff from other music providers or any combination, we've got you covered with a complete guide.
Here's everything you need to know.
What is Groove music?
Groove music is the app, while Groove is the service. In a past life (or present, depending on which device you're using) Groove was known as Xbox Music. Microsoft has taken the decision that having Xbox in the name presented unnecessary confusion with consumers since you don't need an Xbox to use it.
Groove allows you to listen to MP3s hosted in your OneDrive account, and with a monthly subscription, you gain access to millions upon millions of albums from artists both popular and obscure. Groove is available on iOS, Android, Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile and Xbox One.
Groove Music also offers a selection of the latest music videos across its apps on different devices. Some are highlighted in the main explore tab, but a more recent addition is a dedicated video section for individual artists.
If you want to see videos by a specific artist, once you've searched for them and landed on their page, scroll down a bit until you see the section for music videos as shown in the image above.
If all you want is videos and to hide the music, simply click the show all button to expand.
With a Groove Music Pass, you get access to Microsoft's catalog of online music to stream or download for offline use. The pass is valid on Windows 10, iOS, Android, Xbox and the web, with prices per month varying per region. Signing up does require a Microsoft account, though if you're on Windows 10 you've most likely got one of those.
If you want to download the music for offline listening, there are a couple of things to note. You can set albums, songs, playlists for offline playback by hitting the three-dot menu and selecting "Download." You also need to remember that you can only have offline music on a total of five devices at any one time. So be sure to head into your account (through the settings menu in Groove) and ensure any old devices have been deactivated. You can only remove one every 30 days.
For everything you need to know about the Groove Music Pass, check out the link below.
Whether you've got a collection of personal music from your own sources or amassed through online stores like iTunes and Google Play, the Groove app on Windows 10 will catalog it and play it for you. In most cases, all you need to know is where on your PC the music is stored and tell the app where to find it.
The links below are specific to two of the bigger online services, iTunes and Google Play, but several of the basic steps apply to any form of local music you have on your computer.
The Groove music app is actually pretty simplistic. There's no huge list of confusing menus and settings, and it's very easy to get going with. But, should you go looking, here are what some of the key settings are and what they do for you.
Groove Music Pass
- Manage my devices: You can only store music for offline use on five devices at one time. Use this option to help de-authorize one device every 30 days.
- Redeem a code: If you have a physical voucher code for a subscription, click this option and enter the code to credit your account.
Music on this PC
- See the above section on "Local music" for more on these settings.
- Automatically download songs you add from Groove music: If you want everything you add to your streaming collection to be available offline, just toggle this option to "on."
Automatically retrieve and update missing album artwork and metadata: If you're a stickler for keeping your music collection in line, make sure you keep this turned on to replace any album art that went missing somewhere.
Ask me to sign in before completing purchases or managing my account: Essentially this is a barrier preventing unauthorized purchases or changes to your account settings and authorized devices. So long as no one else knows your Microsoft Account password, keep this turned on and keep everyone else out.
- The master switch to flip if you want to eradicate your playlists and anything you've added from the Groove catalog. It won't affect your locally stored music.
- Are you a light theme or a dark theme kind of person?
Streaming your own music from OneDrive
Groove doesn't just allow you to stream music from its online catalog; you can also create your own personal cloud locker with OneDrive.
By adding your music to OneDrive, you can point the Groove apps to play it on all your devices. If this sounds like something you're interested in, check out the video above or the link below for everything you need to know.
Selecting and playing music
We've just about covered everything you need to know about getting your music into Groove, but what about actually finding something to play? The three main tabs are "Albums," "Artists" and "Songs." Each will filter by its designated label and show your entire collection, both online and local, sorted accordingly.
Albums are shown as squares, artists as circles and songs as one giant list.
Beyond that, you have the "Radio" and "Explore" tabs, both of which come across from Xbox Music. Radio is where you can set up streaming stations based on specific artists, songs or albums, while Explore will show you some curated content, like what's new, from the Groove catalog.
If you're using a Groove Music pass, Explore also gives you access to curated playlists for all sorts of activities and moods. The menu item titled "Your Groove" gives you access to suggested playlists based on all sorts of automatically generated content, based on your listening habits and songs that are popular in your collection. For more information on how to do that, hit the link below.
There are a couple of ways to deal with your music once it's playing. The bar along the bottom of the window keeps your timeline scrubber and play controls at hand. But, if you hover your mouse over the Groove icon in the taskbar you get mini controls for play and pause, skip back and skip forward.
Oh, and if you fancy going full screen, there's that option, too. You'll get a background of artist-related images, some text and not a lot else. To access this, tap on the "now playing" segment on the bottom left-hand side of the media control bar, then hit the full-screen icon on the artist title bar.
We've already covered how to bring over existing iTunes playlists, but what about creating your own within Groove? It's super simple, and they can sync across your different devices, too. The option for "New playlist" is right there in the sidebar, just hit it and give your new creation a name.
Now, whenever you add new music to your collection, or also with existing music, the "Add to" option will give you the choice to "Add to playlist." Hit this and select accordingly and you're all set.
You can also add new playlists from auto-generated ones under Your Groove or editor curated ones under Explore. Simply click on the three-dot menu to save the playlists to your Groove for editing or playback.
Whether you have a Groove Music Pass or not you may find yourself wanting to purchase tracks to listen to. This is done through the Windows 10 Store. You can either go directly to the Store app on your PC or tablet and hit the "Music" tab or go through the Groove app. In the bottom left corner below your name (provided you're signed in) will be a shortcut to go buy music.
You'll also see an option to "View album in Store" when you're looking for music in the app. Just hit the link and you'll be taken right to the place where you can buy it.
Supported file formats
Groove Music supports more file formats than you may think. It won't play everything, but it covers the most popular bases.
Groove availability by country
Groove Music Store is available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the U.S.
Groove Music Pass is available in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the U.S.