Microsoft will tomorrow begin the rollout of its new Music service, which is launching initially on the Xbox 360. The service will then come pre-installed on Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices once they have launched on October 26th.
Microsoft already has a strong entertainment offering thanks to its Xbox 360 console, which will be further bolstered by the launch of SmartGlass later this year. At the moment there is not a comprehensive music offering (streaming + purchasing + cloud storage) that offers true integration across various devices, so there could be good opportunity for Microsoft to create a strong service, then leverage it to sell more tablets and handsets.
Here’s a look at the main features of the new Microsoft Music service. Please be aware that while the service is launching in several regions, the details below mostly apply to the US for tomorrow’s launch:
- Launching for Xbox 360 on Tuesday 16th October
- Launching for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 October 26th
- Will offer free ad-supported streaming (with limitations) or unlimited streaming for $9.99 per month (UK pricing TBC, but we would expect £9.99 per month) with ‘Xbox Music Pass’
- Free, ad-supported service is for Windows 8 (desktop) initially and will be available in 15 markets
- A la Carte Xbox Music store available in 22 markets
- 30 million track catalogue “on par with iTunes”
- Streaming music plays as 192kbps WMA files
- Current Zune subscribers can switch straight to Xbox Music Pass
- Xbox Music Pass gives users access to 70,000 music videos
- Better social integration in 2013
- Third party clients for the likes of Android and iOS next year
- Not available for Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7
While there are plenty of music cloud storage and purchasing options available (Google, Amazon, Apple), none of these integrate a good streaming service. There are third party services available, such as Spotify, but it’s still early days for the Swedish company and its offering is not yet profitable. This does present opportunity for the likes of Microsoft, which has the fire power to create a huge service and may be better placed to develop better clients for other operating systems, which is something else that Spotify has struggled with.
Via The Verge