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How to Listen to Your Own Music on Your Surface

Whereas the Xbox Music Pass thrives on stipulations, the Music app’s other side sets very few rules. You can play music stored on your Surface, its memory card, or on other networked computers. You can even play tunes you’ve stashed on SkyDrive.

To play your own music on your Surface, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start screen, tap the Music tile.

    The Music tile opens. Eager to push its Xbox Live service, the app places your music out of sight, barely peeking from around the screen’s left edge.

  2. Scroll to the screen’s farthest left side to see the My Music section.

    The My Music section lists music stored in your Surface’s Music library. If you haven’t added any music to your Surface’s Music library, the screen looks as empty as the screen in this figure.

    image0.jpg

    After you copy music into your Surface’s Music library, the screen updates to show up to eight of your albums, as shown in this figure.

    image1.jpg
  3. If you spot the album you want to hear, tap it, and then jump to step 5.

    If you don’t see your album, however, tap the words My Music, shown in the top-left corner of the screen. Your My Music screen appears, as shown in this figure, showing all of your music.

    image2.jpg
  4. Browse through your music by album, song, or artist.

    Tap the drop-down menu beneath the words My Music to view your music sorted by alphabet, release year, genre, artist, or date added.

    To begin listening to an album or artist, tap its name. A box appears, listing your choice, as shown in this figure.

    image3.jpg
  5. Choose whether to play the chosen item, or add it to your Now Playing list.

    Depending on whether you tapped an album, a song, or an artist, you may see several options in the box.

    • Play Album: This simply begins playing all songs on the album, beginning with the first track.

    • Add to Now Playing: This tacks the selected item onto the end of your Now Playing list, so it plays after the currently listed music.

    • Explore artist: Tap this to bring a new window listing more information about the artist, his biography, and his availability on Xbox Music Pass.

    • Play Smart DJ: Tap this, and the Xbox Music appears, playing a customized radio station built around that artist’s style. (And, unless you’ve paid, you’ll hear advertisements, too.)

    • Play all: This plays all of the songs by the artist you’ve chosen.

To see more options, slide your finger inward from the screen’s bottom or top edge. The App bar appears, as shown along the bottom of the figure, offering different ways to play your music, as well as controls for pausing, fast forwarding, or skipping to the next track on your list of currently playing songs.

  • To create a playlist from the My Music view, select items by sliding your finger horizontally across them; a checkmark appears next to selected items. After selecting what you’d like to hear, tap the Add to Playlist button from the App bar along the screen’s bottom.

    image4.jpg
  • You won’t hear ads when playing your own music or music stored on your SkyDrive account. You only hear ads when streaming something from the app’s free Xbox Music Pass side.

  • If you hear ads when playing your own music, some Xbox Music streaming files (marked by the icon shown here) have slipped into your collection. Delete them from your My Music section to stop triggering the ads. Then fetch the Charms bar, tap Settings, tap Preferences, and turn off Xbox Music Cloud.

    image5.jpg
  • The Surface with Windows RT doesn’t include the desktop’s Media Player, found in earlier Windows versions. Media Player lives on in the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, however, offering more ways to manage and play your music.

  • The Music app plays only MP3 and WMA files, including WMA lossless. It won’t play formats like .flac, .ogg, or .ape.

  • To hear music stored in places besides your Music library, slide your finger up from the screen’s bottom to fetch the App bar. When the App bar appears, tap the Open File icon to fetch the File Picker. That lets you navigate to the music’s location, be it on your memory card, a flash drive, or another networked computer.

    image6.jpg
  • Your Surface’s Touch and Type keyboards have dedicated music playback keys along the top row, right after the Escape key. The first key mutes the sound, the second lowers the volume, the third raises it, and the fourth toggles between play and pause.

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