Xbox Music, Windows Phone and DRM

I thought I’d throw this out there for anyone that is new to the Windows Phone scene. This may be something of interest to you if you intend to use any Microsoft service such as Xbox Music or Xbox Live on your Windows Phone. I recently ran into an issue where trying to sync music from a computer to the phone using the Windows Phone desktop application resulted in DRM issues during playback. The phone would bring up a message saying “We are unable to confirm the media usage rights for this content“. If you’re lucky, this issue is resolved automatically over time as Xbox Music needs to verify that you do own the content. This usually takes longer if you’re on a slow internet connection, so I recommend being in an area with available wireless network access or a high speed 4G connection.

Now if you’re unlucky, you will have made the mistake of setting up your phone’s Microsoft account as something else other than what you use for your Xbox Live/Xbox Music (i.e. a different email address) ┬áduring the first time setup. If this is the case, the only way (that I could find anyway) to resolve the issue is to do a factory reset on the phone (Settings > About > Reset Your Phone). Once it has been factory reset, you’ll need to make sure that the Microsoft account you use is an email address associated with your Xbox Music/Xbox Live service. There is currently no way to change an existing Microsoft account on Windows Phone 8 without doing a factory reset. Also, please note that as far as Windows Phone is concerned, a Microsoft account and a Hotmail account are not one and the same. The Microsoft account on the phone is used for the Microsoft services I’ve mentioned here (and others that I haven’t).

Once you have reset your phone and logged in with the right Microsoft account details, you can sync your music from Zune to your phone using the Windows Phone desktop app. You may still receive the media usage rights message, but that is only temporary as the phone still needs to verify ownership of the media. It could take anything from a few seconds to minutes or hours depending on the speed of your internet connection and the amount of content you have synced to the phone. If anyone has figured out a way to do this without doing a factory reset, please let others know by posting in the comments below.

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