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New Groove update coming to the Fast Ring for Windows 10 on PC, Phones and HoloLens

The Groove team recently dipped its toes into the Insider rivers with its first-ever segmented update that went out to Windows Insiders on PC and mobile devices two weeks ago. Traditionally, the Groove app updated across the board with identical features and fixes hitting Windows 10 devices at the same time (region dependent).

However, with its new flighting system in place, the Groove team can now start testing out new features and cutting-edge workflows, presumably before they hit the Windows 10 community as a whole and effect users in potentially negative ways.

Today, the Groove team is back with an update to the app for Windows 10 Insiders participating in the Fast Ring. Update version 3.6.2078.0 is going out to PCs and mobile devices as well as introducing a release to the HoloLens headset for the first time.

Fast Ring Insiders can look forward to these fixes and features from the new update:

  • We can now cache your subscription state across app sessions so you’ll be able to sign into the app much more quickly when you launch it. We also improved the retry logic when connectivity is poor/erratic so that it’s restored more reliably.
  • We’ve made improvements to background audio so that is more reliable and you see it appear to be loading or “buffering” less often.
  • The process which matches your music to our catalog and allows us to populate artwork and missing metadata can now run in the background – so if you don’t leave the app in the foreground, you’ll still get all the great artwork and metadata.
  • We are also using a new metadata service, which results in better matching (more artwork, metadata).
  • With the latest OS builds, you can set theming for all your apps directly in OS Settings > Personalization > Colors. In our app, by default, we’ll use the OS settings. But you can also choose to set the theme independently if you want to.
  • We made a fix so that page titles no longer animate “up” when entering a page. We heard feedback that the experience didn’t feel polished.
  • We updated the diagnostics tied to Groove feedback submitted in the Feedback Hub so that it’s easier for use to diagnose issues. We also made another round of improvements to our playback telemetry to make it easier for us to investigate.
  • We made loads of accessibility improvements related to high contrast mode, the narrator, and keyboard navigation. We also added a new keyboard shortcut for search – use Ctrl +Q to open the Search box from anywhere in the app.

While there have been many fixes put in place and issues addressed by the Groove team, there remain some deal breaking bugs that have kept users from using the latest versions of the Groove app.

  • After signing up for Groove Music Pass trial, you might have to restart Groove to get the app to recognize your new subscription status.
  • When using narrator, the “Now Playing “ list is positioned in an unexpected place when navigating in item mode.
  • Hovering over tracks in Now Playing on PC won’t show the usual controls – you’ll have to right-click on the track to complete those actions.
  • On some devices, you may find the text on an artist’s details page being cut off.

Perhaps the most qualifying caution for using the Groove app in preview on the Fast Ring is:

  • UPDATED: If you have previously played DRM-protected content from services like Groove Music, Movies & TV, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or Hulu after updating to this build you might no longer be able to playback content from those services – will instead receive error DRM_E_INVALID_SECURESTORE_PASSWORD(0x8004C029) or DRM_E_DOMAIN_STORE_GET_DATA(0x8004C503). We’re working to have this fixed in the near future.

So without a solid date on a fix for a bug that potentially renders your streaming music library useless, Insiders are cautioned when updating the Groove app to today’s release. For more details, visit the Feedback Hub.

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How do you compare Groove to other music streaming services now?