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Free music streaming service coming to the Xbox 360

16 October 2012

Xbox MusicMicrosoft has announced of a new streaming music service that will appear first on the Xbox 360 starting today, October 16th and then later on Windows 8/RT and Windows Phone 8. Users of Windows 7 and Phone 7 will be left out as the service won’t be available for that OS version, the obvious solution being to upgrade to Windows 8. It is dubbed ‘Xbox Music’ even though its accessible on all Windows 8 based devices and is the replacement to Microsoft Zune service which did not fair well and was scrapped in late 2011. This time around the company has a much better chance of success as users are streaming more media via devices connected to the internet and are getting accustomed to cloud based offerings. Microsoft’s own research into Xbox owners habits revealed that users spent 60% of the time using other entertainment media than actually playing games. Xbox Music will launch with over 30 million tracks for users enjoy, that is nearly twice as many as Spotify and some 4 million more than Apple iTunes current track repository.

Microsoft Xbox Music

The free version is ad supported; it will let users listen to 15 mins of music before an advert is played and the amount of hours will be cut back after 6 months of signup. Users also have  the option of buying a monthly subscription for ad free streaming – $9.99 in the US / £8.99 for UK, or to buy and download a particular track or album. There is support for cloud storage and wireless syncing across devices for sharing playlists that people may have curated. With this setup, the company is encapsulating the whole digital music environment service, Microsoft is not only taking on Apple’s iTunes (the current popular place to purchase music) but also free streaming services from outfits like Spotify and Rdio. Plus talk of Xbox Music to support Android and iOS in the near future, then the established music entities may soon have the need to look over their shoulder.

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