Microsoft's Groove wasn't just a name picked out of a hat

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Miage Credit: Windows

It hasn’t taken long for the internet to react to Microsoft’s new name for its music app. Early responses range from mild acceptance to utter disgust with a few respondents predictably threatening to jump ship to more preferably named music services. For some, the title Groove has invoked a friendly reminder that Microsoft can still be playful when naming services. For others, the title Groove is a lazy, misguided attempt from Microsoft to rehash an already tarnished service.

As Microsoft continues to embrace its two-way form of communication through user feedback, the company is aware of the divide the name may cause among users. As the Windows 10 team announced the Groove name for the music app, the team also accompanied the news with a brief explanation of why they chose ‘Groove’ from countless other options.

“Groove describes what people feel and do with music, and is more intuitive for our Windows 10 customers on what they’ll find with the app,” according to the Windows team. Not satisfied alone with the fluffy marketing speak, the folks over at Windows Central, dug a little deeper into the reason Groove was preferred over the current naming of Xbox Music.

“The name Groove was chosen based on customer feedback from Windows fans, and it best represents Microsoft’s music strategy: to be fun, engaging and intuitive.” Joe Belfiore would further expound upon the necessity of Groove’s need for intuitiveness and how Xbox Music failed to accomplish that goal.

For many Windows 10 Insiders and prior Xbox Music users, the title Xbox Music may have seemed intuitive. However, many mistake familiarity with intuitive. Xbox Music, formerly of Zune Pass fame, was not beholden to the Xbox brand. Xbox Music didn’t originate on the Xbox console. Xbox users were not required to have Xbox Live to use directly. The music service appeared on various platforms and operating systems other than the Xbox. Being a Xbox users offered no feature or service benefits to the subscription over any other platform. The reality was; Microsoft shoehorned the Xbox brand onto its entertainment efforts while simultaneously negating the brands effectiveness at marketing it. When the Xbox One was revealed, the Music and Video apps took a backseat to 3rd party offerings like HBO Go and Pandora as Microsoft sought to establish a developer community for the platform.

This time around, Microsoft appears to be positioning Windows 10 as the entertainment platform while allowing the Xbox One to be the entertainment device that runs Windows 10. Whether or not that becomes a successful strategy, the company will have to wait and see. As for Groove, the name might be loved, might be hated, but at least people are talking about Microsoft’s music service again.

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