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Getting started with Xbox Music on Windows 8

Xbox Music is the new streaming music service from Microsoft. We'll show you how to get started with Xbox Music on Windows 8.

Xbox Music on Windows 8
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET
Xbox Music

Xbox Music was initially announced in June of this year and released to Xbox 360 users first. When Windows 8 reached general availability on October 26, Xbox Music became available to all Windows 8 users as well. Like Spotify, Microsoft's new music service can stream full songs on demand, as well as play taste-based radio like Pandora. Here's what you need to know to get started with Xbox Music on Windows 8:

To begin using Xbox Music, click on the orange Music tile on your Windows 8 Start screen and sign in with a Microsoft account.

Streaming songs on demand
To start listening to music right away, click on "Play an artist" and enter the name of an artist you want to listen to. A random selection of songs by that artist will begin playing immediately.

To play specific songs or albums, you can browse music from the All Music and Top Music sections. You can also use the Win+Q shortcut to perform a quick search.

Xbox Music search in Windows 8
Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

Once you've found music that you like, you can add it to a playlist by right-clicking on the track/album details. The control bar will appear at the bottom of the screen with the option to add the song or album to a playlist. In addition to playlists, you can also add songs or albums to My Music. When looking at track/album details, you'll see the option to "Add to my music."

Xbox Music control bar
Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

Smart DJ
Smart DJ is a taste-based radio feature, similar to Pandora and Spotify Radio. Just click on "New Smart DJ" and enter an artist. It will begin playing music right away and add the new Smart DJ station to My Music. Unfortunately, Smart DJ doesn't have a rating system, so you can't customize the station as you go along.

Adding your own music
To add your own music to My Music, open Windows Explorer (Win+E) and copy your music files to the My Music library. When you go back into Xbox Music, you'll see your music in the My Music section.

Windows 8 My Music library
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

Managing My Music
You can manage the music in My Music by clicking on the heading. You'll be able edit playlists, delete Smart DJ stations, and remove albums and songs.

Xbox My Music management
Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

That's it. Don't forget that you can also look at your account details and set other preferences from within the Xbox Music app by using the Win+I shortcut.