Showing current track in Windows Messenger

Q: My friends seem to be able to get what they’re listening to on iTunes in their MSN status, but I can’t seem to get this to work. Do you know how I can display my current playing track in my MSN status?

– Alec

A: Firstly, in order for this to work you have to be using the latest version of MSN Messenger (v7) or Windows Live Messenger. The very latest version of Windows Live Messenger is recommended, as it seems to work with the fewest issues. Beyond that, there are a few additional idiosyncrasies in getting this to work reliably, and in our experience it still does not work in every possible case due to the various other installed software and registry changes that can sometimes interfere with the interaction between MSN Messenger and iTunes.

The normal way of setting this up is to simply go into your Windows Live Messenger preferences and select the option Show song information from Windows Media Player as a personal message. Despite the reference to “Windows Media Player” this will work equally well with iTunes.

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Clicking OK should just return you to the main window, and should simply display whatever track is currently playing in your “Personal Message” section:


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You can also toggle this on and off from within the main window by clicking the drop-down list beside your “Personal Message” and clicking the “Show what I’m listening to” option.


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One other common problem, particularly in older versions of MSN Messenger 7, was that this sometimes would not work properly unless you also had the option enabled to “Open Windows Live Messenger main window when Windows Live Messenger starts”


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If all else fails and this is still not working, your next steps should be to investigate any other iTunes, Windows Media Player or Windows Live Messenger plug-ins that you may be using. Some of these can interfere with the communication between iTunes and Windows Live Messenger. Note as well that this mode also relies on Windows Media Player components, so you should ensure that your version of Windows Media Player is current, even if you are not otherwise using it.