Despite its best efforts, Microsoft’s Groove Music service never really caught on. So back in October, Microsoft shut the service down and told its users to switch to Spotify. Unfortunately, that decision had some unintended consequences for Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, which relied on Groove Music’s library to help people identify songs.
This change was uncovered by Windows Central, which found a tweet from Cortana developer Jason Deakins. Due to Groove’s shutdown, Deakins said Cortana will no longer have the ability to listen to and identify songs played into the microphone of a compatible device. “What you are seeing is expected,” he said.
Now that Apple owns Shazam, which has long been among the best at identifying random ditties, Microsoft now has one less partner to help Cortana potentially regain its tune-tagging smarts. However, now that Microsoft and Amazon are trying to work together on Cortana and Alexa, it’s possible that with their combined powers, these companies will figure something out. (Echoes can’t identify songs either, unless you say the lyrics yourself).
When we tested Cortana on a Windows 10 PC this afternoon, the Microsoft’s assistant spat out a confusing error: “Song unrecognized on this service is retired by music continues.” On Cortana for iOS, the query returned unrelated search results.
Either way, it’s pretty sad to hear that by shutting down a music service that not a lot of people cared about, Microsoft made its digital assistant dumber.
[Update 3:30 PM] After reaching out, a spokesperson from Microsoft responded with an official comment saying “With the discontinuation of Groove Music Pass, music recognition functionality via Cortana was also retired. Cortana is integrated with Spotify, TuneIn, iHeart Radio, and we are working with Pandora to make their service available. Cortana’s functionality will continue to grow with new skills and capabilities through our third party partners.”