Microsoft set to launch Xbox Music with free unlimited streaming

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,913member
    So in order to compete with iTunes you have to give your services away? Or sell it at cost (Kindle Fire)?
  • Reply 2 of 49
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,508member

    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?

  • Reply 3 of 49
    red oakred oak Posts: 609member
    Yawwwnnn.... Excuse me
  • Reply 4 of 49
    mazda 3s wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    What's the point? There are no great Windows devices to support the service except the Xbox.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    No streaming to zune music players? That's going to be 5 very irate customers.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,508member

    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.

  • Reply 8 of 49


    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.

  • Reply 9 of 49


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 49
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,473member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,002member
    So what happens if you have a monthly cap on downloads from your ISP?
  • Reply 12 of 49
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 446member

    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. ;)

  • Reply 13 of 49
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    [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." [/QUOTE]

    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...
  • Reply 14 of 49
    "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
  • Reply 15 of 49
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,079member


    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.

  • Reply 17 of 49
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    "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. :smokey:
  • Reply 18 of 49

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 49

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





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


     


    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. image

  • Reply 20 of 49
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 2,984member
    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.
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