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August 31, 2015

Find and play music with Cortana

Cortana isn’t just your virtual personal assistant. She’s also your personal DJ. Cue the disco ball!

Your *personal assistant for Lumia, other smartphones with Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 devices can help you play your tunes in Xbox Music and discover new songs and artists. Here’s how.

Play your music hands-free

While cooking dinner the other night, I wanted to listen to some old-school jazz. My hands were busy chopping vegetables, so I just glanced at my Lumia on the kitchen counter and said, “Hey Cortana.” (Hey Cortana is a feature available in the Lumia Icon, Lumia 930, and Lumia 1520.)

My Lumia screen lit up when she popped up online with a small chime. I said, “Play some jazz music.”

Cortana replied, “Playing your jazz music” and after a moment, “Blue Moon” performed by the peerless George Shearing filtered through the Bluetooth speaker connected to my phone.


Besides musical genre (jazz, pop, rock, classical, etc.), you can ask her to play your pre-made playlists (e.g. “party tunes”), albums, artists, and even to shuffle your music. In addition, you can ask Cortana to pause and resume playback of a song, skip forward to the next track, or skip back to go to the previous track.

After dinner was prepared, I said, “Hey Cortana, play Michael Jackson.” Cortana replied, “And now, Michael Jackson.” Mid-century bebop was replaced with the Prince of Pop’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” 

Discover new music

I heard a catchy song on the radio while driving down the freeway the other day. I’d heard it before, but I never caught the song’s title. So I glanced at my Lumia and said, “Hey, Cortana.”

She came online and I asked her, “What song is this?”

“Listening for music” Cortana said on my Lumia screen. After a few seconds, she displayed the song—Fall Out Boy’s “Uma Thurman”—and the image cover for the album, “American Beauty/American Psycho,” which features the track.

To purchase the song or album via Xbox Music on my Lumia, I just had to tap the album image, then the shopping-cart icon to the right of the song. I didn’t want the song immediately, but Cortana saves all the music I search for in her notebook (go to “Music Searches”) in case I want to find it later.

Have you discovered new music with Cortana’s help or gotten her help to play your tunes? Let us know below!

*Available in certain countries.