Microsoft terminates the meta data service for WMP/WMC

[German]Users of Windows Media Player (WMP) and/or Windows Media Center (WMC) will facing a reduction in functionality soon. Microsoft will discontinue the metadata service used by Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center for certain versions of Windows in the future.


What’s the metadata service is for?

Both the Windows Media Center included with Windows 7 (upgradeable in Windows 8.1) and Windows Media Player use metadata to display additional information such as title, genre, and artist for songs, as well as director, actor, cover art, and TV guide for movies. The Windows Media Center (WMC) and Windows Media Player (WMP) obtain this information through a Microsoft-operated metadata service.

The metadata service will be discontinued

Within the document Changes in metadata service affecting Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player, published on January 25, 2019, Microsoft announced that the metadata service will be discontinued:

Going forward, you may be unable to view information (metadata) such as the title, genre, and artist for songs, and the director, actors, cover art, and TV guide for movies in Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player.

The reason for this ‘you may be unable’: WMP and WMC store already queried metadata. Only when the user needs the metadata for a new media file, he will notice that it is no longer displayed. Ergo: If this data doesn’t come sometime in the future, nothing is broken in your Windows system, Microsoft has simply discontinued the required service. Microsoft writes as reason for this:

After looking at customer feedback and usage data, Microsoft decided to discontinue this service. This means that new metadata won’t be updated on media players that are installed on your Windows device.

However, any information that’s already been downloaded will still be available.

This change doesn’t affect any major media player functionality such as playback, navigating collections, media streaming, and so forth. Only secondary features that require downloading of new metadata are potentially affected.

Although they wrote, that any information already been downloaded will still be available, that doesn’t help, if you need to re-install your Windows.

I’ve read similar reasons give be Microsoft in the past, when they removed WMC in Windows 10 or the MPEG-2 decoder support in WMP.

What exactly is affected?

Microsoft has published a table in the article that shows exactly which operating systems are affected by WMP and WMC.


Media version Operating system Affected by this change?
Windows Media Center    
  Windows 8.1 Yes
  Windows 8 Yes
  Windows 7 Yes
Windows Media Player    
  Windows 10 No
  Windows 8.1 No
  Windows 8 No
  Windows 7 Yes

Windows Media Center is affected in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. For Windows Media Player, however, the metadata distribution setting is scheduled for Windows 7 only. (via, via)

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