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Microsoft set to launch Xbox Music with free unlimited streaming

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
This week, Microsoft will step up its competition with Apple's iTunes with the launch of Xbox Music, a new service that offers unlimited streaming to Microsoft devices, including PCs running Windows 8.

For now, the Xbox Music service will be limited to only devices running Microsoft's new Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms, as well as the Xbox 360 game console. A hands-on preview of Xbox Music was published on Monday by Gizmodo.

While the basic, free service offers unlimited streaming to Windows 8 tablets and PCs, customers who pay a $10-per-month subscription can also download songs, and stream to their Xbox game console as well as Windows Phone 8 handsets. It's a business model similar to Spotify, which offers free ad-supported streaming to desktops, while only subscribers can stream to their mobile device.

The basic free service is currently scheduled to last six months, but author Kyle Wagner noted that period could be extended, depending on what kind of deal Microsoft can reach with music publishers.

"For local music files that you add to your library, Xbox Music sort of works like Google Play Music, with a bit of iTunes Match thrown in," Wagner wrote. "It uses a 'scan and match' process to see if you've uploaded tracks that it has on file, and if it finds a match, you'll be able to stream it from the cloud, even if it's not available over XBM's streaming service."

Xbox Music
Xbox Music, via Gizmodo.


Tracks that aren't matched up locally can be manually added to a Windows Phone. However, streaming of un-matched tracks is not yet available ? a feature that's already available through iTunes Match and Google Play.

Xbox Music will be the default music player for Windows 8, and the free mode is activated by default if users have set up Windows with a Live account and credit card. One click will agree to the free trial of Xbox Music.

Xbox Music will debut on the Xbox 360 game console Tuesday, while the public will be able to get their hands on Windows 8 when it launches on Oct. 26.

Microsoft's new music streaming service comes as Apple is said to be in talks with music providers to provide its own Internet radio service. Apple is said to be looking to license music to allow users to build a custom radio service similar to Pandora.

However, Apple's plans for an Internet radio service have reportedly been held up in those negotiations. Specifically, talks were said to have hit a "last-minute snag" with Sony/ATV, the world's largest music publisher.

The new radio service from Apple is expected to focus on virtual stations to play music on a Web browser or through dedicated applications on iOS devices. Advertisements from Apple's iAd platform are expected to be incorporated into the service in exchange for free user access.
post #2 of 50
So in order to compete with iTunes you have to give your services away? Or sell it at cost (Kindle Fire)?
post #3 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

So in order to compete with iTunes you have to give your services away? Or sell it at cost (Kindle Fire)?

 

As a customer, why should you really care? I say kudos to them, even if it's ad-supported. Should be a nice bonus for Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 users.

 

And I thought that iTunes wasn't exactly a huge money maker for Apple anyway?

post #4 of 50
Yawwwnnn.... Excuse me

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post #5 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

As a customer, why should you really care? I say kudos to them, even if it's ad-supported. Should be a nice bonus for Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 users.

And I thought that iTunes wasn't exactly a huge money maker for Apple anyway?

Because nothing is really 'free.'

And Apple still makes a profit on iTunes, afaik.
post #6 of 50
What's the point? There are no great Windows devices to support the service except the Xbox.
post #7 of 50
No streaming to zune music players? That's going to be 5 very irate customers.
post #8 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


Because nothing is really 'free.'
And Apple still makes a profit on iTunes, afaik.

 

 

If it's free, they'll at least try it out. The free streaming service, albeit ad-supported, will likely be enough for many customers. If they want to download tracks, they pay $9.99/month.

 

It's just an added bonus to a product they are already getting (in this case, Windows 8). It's like Amazon Prime. I've been a subscriber to Amazon Prime for years. Then, a while back, they added free Instant streaming of certain movies and TV shows out of the blue. That's a perk for me, and I appreciate it. I didn't question their motives or poo-poo their efforts.

 

Like I said, I don't see why anyone should be pissing on this move. I say "good" for the customer on this one.

post #9 of 50

Exactly. It could be a great service, but with Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, and the other options out there that run on both my computer, TV, and iPhone, I'm not going to lock my music up on an Xbox.

post #10 of 50

I'll admit right from the start that I'm not a huge music fan and when I do listen to music I want to hear the specific songs I like...

 

That being said, I never have been a fan of the streaming model. That means I either have to go through and hunt down the songs I want (and it seems they never have many of the ones I want anyways) or I have to live with the songs that play based one some algorithm. Either way I come back to the same conclusion that I'd rather just have my music locally so I can play it on demand, not have to setup or pay for a service to have access to it.

post #11 of 50
A year ago a rumor about this service was first leaked when it was under the code name "Ventura." I think that would have been a better name because this service doesn't require an XBOX as the name implies.

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post #12 of 50
So what happens if you have a monthly cap on downloads from your ISP?
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post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcoleman1 View Post

What's the point? There are no great Windows devices to support the service except the Xbox.

 

The Xbox interface is just infuriatingly bad.* I'd much rather stream Pandora/Spotify/iTunes from my iPhone to my AppleTV (or just stream from iTunes match directly to the AppleTV) than have to go through the Xbox.

 

* "You may already have downloaded this content. Are you sure you want to download it again?" Um, you're the g&*^*^&damned computer, why don't you tell me whether it's already on your disk? Oh, when I say OK then you'll tell me "Hey, looks like you already downloaded this!"? WTH? That's of course only if you can find the content in the first place, because often it's pretty well buried. Is this game's content under games? Under the details for this game? Why no! It's somewhere in my profile! That's fine, it only took drilling around through 20 submenus to discover that...  Not sure if you have a valid internet connection? Let's go try to find the right place to check and then wait an incredibly long time for it to say "nope". Your kid can't access this function? Rather than take you to the place to change that, let me just list the name of the place you have to go and see if you can find it. Fun!

 

I just hate how Microsoft built that interface. Like the games, though. ;)

post #14 of 50
Quote:
"For local music files that you add to your library, Xbox Music sort of works like Google Play Music, with a bit of iTunes Match thrown in," Wagner wrote. "It uses a 'scan and match' process to see if you've uploaded tracks that it has on file, and if it finds a match, you'll be able to stream it from the cloud, even if it's not available over XBM's streaming service."

So... I'm having a hard time understanding how a song can be a positive match and at the same time NOT be in the service...
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post #15 of 50
"People want to own their music. They don't want to rent it. And they want to be able to play it whenever they want." --Steve Jobs

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post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

A year ago a rumor about this service was first leaked when it was under the code name "Ventura." I think that would have been a better name because this service doesn't require an XBOX as the name implies.

MS is using the Xbox brand outside of the console space due to its mostly positive connotations with consumers. Heck, if Windows 8 tanks with consumers, they can just rename it "Xbox PC" and move to a fully curated online software store with DRM'd applications.

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post #17 of 50

I am kind of curious how many people use the full extent of XBox (not like everyone use the full extent of their computers). M$ for years have been attempting to make the XBox the center of people's media experience. Yes, you have the whole XBox/Playstation argument which is better, however, unless you are some lonely guy (maybe a few girls) sitting in their parent basement or an apartment by themselves, XBox just does not work. If you live in a house with more than one person who happens to have more than one interest at the same time, XBox is not flexible enough to do it all at the same time. Who is going to want to fight their kids who is playing a game to stream music or watch Netflix or so other media content.

 

XBox seem to work for the one person household who can easily switch between one activity to another and can use one system to do most of it. In my place the Xbox sits the basement and the kids play games on it, that is it sole purpose in life, since there are far better solutions for everything else you want to do and plus I do not have to fight with someone else to do thing when the XBox is in use.

 

I am not sure M$ thought his threw very well, they are definitely putting lots of money into it, wonder how much the lost on this.

post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"People want to own their music. They don't want to rent it. And they want to be able to play it whenever they want." --Steve Jobs
Sorry Steve, can't agree here. I'm very happy with my $10/Mo Spotify subscription. 1smoking.gif
post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

So in order to compete with iTunes you have to give your services away? Or sell it at cost (Kindle Fire)?

 

The listening hours are limited to 10 for non-paying users after 6 months.

 

It's also a different service to iTunes. This is another Spotify clone.

 

Xbox Music launches with a bigger library than iTunes too (in the US at least) which is a first for any service of this kind I believe.

 

I think it's a pretty compelling service for users of PC/Xbox/Windows Phone/Surface. 6 months of free unlimited service gives people plenty of time to evaluate how good this service is.

post #20 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Sorry Steve, can't agree here. I'm very happy with my $10/Mo Spotify subscription. 1smoking.gif

 

The problem is with expiring rights.

 

Official Spotify clients no longer show you which tracks are unplayable in your playlists. But if you open your Spotify playlists on another device, such as a Sonos, you'll probably be surprised how many tracks are greyed out and unplayable because the labels/artist withdrew from Spotify. Some of the tracks may even still exist on the service on another album that is still playable. But because Spotify didn't link them correctly, you need to delete the old track(s) from your playlist, add the same track that is available on another album on Spotify, and keep doing it over and over again as rights expire or change.]

 

You can probably guess why Spotify prefers users don't see the ever growing list of tracks that vanished from playlists. lol.gif

post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchell_pgh View Post

Exactly. It could be a great service, but with Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, and the other options out there that run on both my computer, TV, and iPhone, I'm not going to lock my music up on an Xbox.
Exactly.

And iTunes Match simply makes most of the other streaming services moot. Fortunately Apple realized a long time ago they should offer iTunes on the PC, since iTunes has been a much more profitable business model than making Macs, and allowed them to establish a thriving mobile market.

I think it is a mistake for Apple not to offer iTunes on Android devices. In the end, the vast majority of Android users don't care what phone they are using. And they are always going to pay as little as possible for one. But if their media catalogue is tied to iTunes then they are tied to Apple and more likely to buy an iPhone when one becomes available in their price range, as they are finally starting to offer now. Hard core Android users are not going to use iTunes in any event. For this same reason, Apple would be advised to offer iTunes on new Windows 8 mobile devices.
post #22 of 50

Of course many here were going to mock this, without giving a good explanation on why it's so bad, even when those same people wanted to see Lala come back through iTunes.

I say that's a very good thing they did, and am especially happy about this on Xbox. I may give it a try and stop my Spotify account if the service is good enough (if it has enough music I like and is fast enough that's good for me).
 

post #23 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post


Exactly.
And iTunes Match simply makes most of the other streaming services moot. Fortunately Apple realized a long time ago they should offer iTunes on the PC, since iTunes has been a much more profitable business model than making Macs, and allowed them to establish a thriving mobile market.
I think it is a mistake for Apple not to offer iTunes on Android devices. In the end, the vast majority of Android users don't care what phone they are using. And they are always going to pay as little as possible for one. But if their media catalogue is tied to iTunes then they are tied to Apple and more likely to buy an iPhone when one becomes available in their price range, as they are finally starting to offer now. Hard core Android users are not going to use iTunes in any event. For this same reason, Apple would be advised to offer iTunes on new Windows 8 mobile devices.


I don't see how you can compare iTunes Match and streaming services like Spotify.

post #24 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"People want to own their music. They don't want to rent it. And they want to be able to play it whenever they want." --Steve Jobs


That was ten years ago, times change, SJ's word is not the holy word (he said it himself).

Paying 10 bucks a month for unlimited music is more interesting than paying 10 bucks for an album a month, at least that's what more and more people think.

And did you know that you can download whole gigs of music on spotify for offline listening, even for a month?

post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Sorry Steve, can't agree here. I'm very happy with my $10/Mo Spotify subscription. 1smoking.gif

 

That's OK. There are a lot more people who agree with Steve. And they have iTunes accounts. 1biggrin.gif

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post #26 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

"People want to own their music. They don't want to rent it. And they want to be able to play it whenever they want." --Steve Jobs

I don't agree with that anymore.  Streaming is becoming a very popular choice among consumers and Apple should play in that game.  This new Xbox music service looks really nice from what I've read and it gives users a choice of the best of all worlds - a la carte, subscription, and free ad-based. what's wrong with that. Plus the fact that the music collection is just as big as iTunes. 

post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemyNX View Post


That was ten years ago, times change, SJ's word is not the holy word (he said it himself).

Paying 10 bucks a month for unlimited music is more interesting than paying 10 bucks for an album a month, at least that's what more and more people think.

And did you know that you can download whole gigs of music on spotify for offline listening, even for a month?

 

I don't buy to music by the gigabyte. But I suppose if you do you, and pricing is an issue, then sure. To each his own. Like I said, Steve put a vision out there, and it has done well. The market proved the soundness of that vision. People like to pretend back in 2004 that choices in downloadable music was either iTunes or piracy, but streaming subscription services like Rhapsody existed too, and Apple had to compete with them to be successful. In fact, Rhapsody had already signed all five major record labels before iTunes even got off the ground, but people still chose to buy, not rent, songs from iTunes. Spotify is just the latest shiny new old thing, and as much as you like it and advertise it here in the forums, it doesn't prove Steve Jobs was wrong.

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post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

 

That's OK. There are a lot more people who agree with Steve. And they have iTunes accounts. 1biggrin.gif

That's because there hasn't been any decent competitor to iTunes. When you add the fact that around this time next year, Xbox Music will be on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Android, iOS devices, will offer choices of all competing services, & it will have a music catalog just as large (if not larger) as iTunes, this new music service can give iTunes a serious run for its money in terms of taking the leadership crown.  And this is just music.  I wouldn't be surprised if MS is thinking of doing something similar along the lines of movies and tv shows. So we'll see.  I get that, by the very nature of this and other related blogs, people here love Apple products, which is fine, cuz so do I.  But that doesn't mean underestimating MS is prudent or automatically thinking that they make s**t products. Ever since the launch of Win7, they've been on quite a roll, and in a good way.


Edited by Shameer Mulji - 10/15/12 at 10:36am
post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

 

The Xbox interface is just infuriatingly bad.* I'd much rather stream Pandora/Spotify/iTunes from my iPhone to my AppleTV (or just stream from iTunes match directly to the AppleTV) than have to go through the Xbox.

 

* "You may already have downloaded this content. Are you sure you want to download it again?" Um, you're the g&*^*^&damned computer, why don't you tell me whether it's already on your disk? Oh, when I say OK then you'll tell me "Hey, looks like you already downloaded this!"? WTH? That's of course only if you can find the content in the first place, because often it's pretty well buried. Is this game's content under games? Under the details for this game? Why no! It's somewhere in my profile! That's fine, it only took drilling around through 20 submenus to discover that...  Not sure if you have a valid internet connection? Let's go try to find the right place to check and then wait an incredibly long time for it to say "nope". Your kid can't access this function? Rather than take you to the place to change that, let me just list the name of the place you have to go and see if you can find it. Fun!

 

I just hate how Microsoft built that interface. Like the games, though. ;)

 

I don't mind the interface really.  It's not perfect but it's not bad.  It's certainly more feature rich than the Apple TV but that may be part of the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


Sorry Steve, can't agree here. I'm very happy with my $10/Mo Spotify subscription. 1smoking.gif

 

I use to agree with Steve on this one but no longer.  I've lost too many songs via iTunes.  They are ones that I purchased via iTunes years ago but when they stop selling it it suddenly disappears from my library.  Yes, I could go back through my time capsule and try to find it but having no idea when they removed it that is a major PITA.  I'm really surprised there hasn't been a lawsuit around this yet.

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post #30 of 50
This sounds a bit like lala.com

Under that service you could listen to any track in full once. But if you 'matched' your iTunes library you could listen to the songs you owned that were in the library all you wanted.

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post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post



And I thought that iTunes wasn't exactly a huge money maker for Apple anyway?

Not directly. It makes enough to sustain itself. But it is really just a 'loss leader' for the hardware. Same as this music tactic. Same as Amazon Prime with the Kindle

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post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Sorry Steve, can't agree here. I'm very happy with my $10/Mo Spotify subscription. 1smoking.gif

At the time that he said it, the landscape wasn't really conducive to streaming as it is now

But the irony is that folks are still just renting the music. Read the terms of that downloaded file, so Steve wasn't really speaking truth.

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post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post

Fortunately Apple realized a long time ago they should offer iTunes on the PC, since iTunes has been a much more profitable business model than making Macs, and allowed them to establish a thriving mobile market.

Not exactly. Apple released iTunes for Windows to avoid antitrust issues. Nothing more.
Quote:
I think it is a mistake for Apple not to offer iTunes on Android devices.

So you think Apple should be forced to support the competitions devices. Perhaps they should have to service them at the stores if the owners use a Mac computer, and what about the PCs owned by iPhone users, lets make them support those as well.

Music in iTunes has been drm free for years and can be loaded on anything. The video stuff and books is cause the copyright holders demand it. If they didn't Apple wouldn't bother. But it doesn't mean that Apple needs to support other hardware just because the files can be used on them. Anymore than they should support a PC cause you are hooking on iPhone to it or those Beats you broke cause you bought them at n Apple Store

And I think I'm not alone when I say that I would much rather they spend their time making iTunes, iOS 6 etc better for their paying customers than sorting out how to code an iTunes Store app for every possible variant of Android.

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post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


Not exactly. Apple released iTunes for Windows to avoid antitrust issues. Nothing more.
So you think Apple should be forced to support the competitions devices. Perhaps they should have to service them at the stores if the owners use a Mac computer, and what about the PCs owned by iPhone users, lets make them support those as well.
Music in iTunes has been drm free for years and can be loaded on anything. The video stuff and books is cause the copyright holders demand it. If they didn't Apple wouldn't bother. But it doesn't mean that Apple needs to support other hardware just because the files can be used on them. Anymore than they should support a PC cause you are hooking on iPhone to it or those Beats you broke cause you bought them at n Apple Store
And I think I'm not alone when I say that I would much rather they spend their time making iTunes, iOS 6 etc better for their paying customers than sorting out how to code an iTunes Store app for every possible variant of Android.

Nobody is forcing Apple to do anything. Obviously they can port their software to any platform they want or not.  But here's the thing - come this time next year Xbox Music will be on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS & Android.  If MS can do it, why not Apple?

post #35 of 50
Originally Posted by Shameer Mulji View Post
If MS can do it, why not Apple?

 

They already have.

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post #36 of 50

The reason why I pay £10 a month to Spotify is that I can play my music almost anywhere and on any device - Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, etc. There's apparently even a Spotify client in the works for my smart TV.

 

Unless Microsoft can provide me with a massively expanded library of music to choose from, I can't see any reason why I'd want to swap.

post #37 of 50

You're right.

 

Free is better.

 

but what's in the license agreement?

 

And besides that, free for how long?

 

MS has a reputation for doing everything it can to seemingly undercut its competition, only to use bait and switch tactics later.

 

And if they don't get enough people to fall for it, they are not above simply killing a product or service, leaving many who have invested in said product/service stranded.

 

Xbox Music sound lame.

 

If it's an iHeartRadio type thing, it's OK.  But nothing to write home about.

 

the lame thing is that they want their own Xbox 360 customers to pay for it on top of their already ludicrous Live fee - while the PC users get it free. 

post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9secondko View Post

You're right.

 

Free is better.

 

but what's in the license agreement?

 

And besides that, free for how long?

 

MS has a reputation for doing everything it can to seemingly undercut its competition, only to use bait and switch tactics later.

 

And if they don't get enough people to fall for it, they are not above simply killing a product or service, leaving many who have invested in said product/service stranded.

 

Xbox Music sound lame.

 

If it's an iHeartRadio type thing, it's OK.  But nothing to write home about.

 

the lame thing is that they want their own Xbox 360 customers to pay for it on top of their already ludicrous Live fee - while the PC users get it free. 

 

 

 

The simple facts are that nobody really needs or wants MS anymore with their subpar quality and style and business paractices.

 

For a PC, you can have a Mac.

 

Smartphone? iPhone is the best game in town.

 

Tablet? anything other than an iPad is a downgrade.

 

Games?  Get the Wii U and you'll have the best out there.  Plus the internet services are *gasp* free...

 

anyone buying into an MS ecosystem only has themselves to blame.  They aren't even hiding it anymore.

 

Free music is great.  but it's hardly the only game in town either in that regard.  and as mentioned earlier, we will see how long it is free, or like Gmail, what the "free" actually costs you in terms of privacy.

post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

So in order to compete with iTunes you have to give your services away? Or sell it at cost (Kindle Fire)?

 

When you're playing "follow the leader" and are running about 12 years late, such requires desperate measures. 

 

The Kindle Fire is a wholly different marketing situation. Amazon is smartly using the Fire to move money from the owner's pockets to Amazon's pockets.

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post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

The reason why I pay £10 a month to Spotify is that I can play my music almost anywhere and on any device - Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, etc. There's apparently even a Spotify client in the works for my smart TV.

 

Unless Microsoft can provide me with a massively expanded library of music to choose from, I can't see any reason why I'd want to swap.

 

You're too smart. MS has relied on the the lower end of the bell curve for their income for a long time. 

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