Spotify changed the music industry forever by bringing free ad-supported music to users on the Web. Microsoft tried to imitate that success with Xbox Music, but still required a subscription to even stream on the Web. That might not have been the best idea, and now Microsoft is making some changes.
Microsoft announced today that users of Xbox Music will get free ad-supported streaming on the Web and Windows 8 devices. The company notes that users will have access to unlimited free streaming for the first six months. After that, users will have access to "limited hours of free streaming," but Microsoft doesn't say how limited it will be.
If you want unlimited streaming on the Web, you'll have to subscribe to the Xbox Music Pass. The $9.99 monthly subscription gets not only unlimited streaming on the Web, but mobile streaming vita the new Xbox Music apps for iOS and Android. The subscription will also net you unlimited music streaming on Xbox 360 alongside access to thousands of music videos.
"Xbox Music now, more than ever, powers music experiences between Windows 8, Xbox, Windows Phone, and now iOS, Android and the Web," said Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music. "We're also excited to connect artists with their fans on the most anticipated consumer product of the year when Xbox One launches Nov. 22."
If that's not enough for you, Microsoft also announced two upcoming additions to its Xbox Music service that might just help convince you to join its side. The first is what Microsoft calls the Web Playlist. It scans a music-related Web page (i.e. music festival Web site) and creates a playlist based around the listed artists. This functionality will launch on October 17.
The second is the addition of a radio service to the Web-based Xbox Music player. With its radio service, Microsoft will offer unlimited skips and "a view of the full recommended music stream." Beyond that, expect something similar to Pandora when it launches later this year.[Image: Google Play]