Microsoft wants to get into the music streaming business in a big way. The company already had the Zune Music Pass, but the Zune branding didn't do the company any favors. Now Microsoft is trying it again with Xbox Music, a brand that's much more synonymous with cool. We've only heard rumors and hearsay for the past few months since its initial announcement, but now we have some concrete details.
Xbox Music will be available on October 16 in free and paid varieties. Users who opt for the free version will have to sit through ads just like Spotify. Paid users can expect to service to cost $9.99 a month, or $99.99 for a year. It looks like the pricing leak from last month was actually right.
October 16 is actually just one of many launch dates for Xbox Music. Microsoft will be launching the service across multiple platforms as they become available. It will be available on the Xbox 360 on October 16 as it coincides with the console's biannual Xbox Live update. It will then be available on Windows 8 PCs and tablets on October 26 to coincide with the operating system's launch. Finally, it will be available on Windows Phone devices sometime in November to coincide with the launch of Windows Phone 8.
As it stands, Xbox Music is going to be heavily tied into Microsoft's products going forward. It has its biggest chance of success on Windows 8 devices as its the default music player for the operating system.
What about other platforms - like iOS and Android? Microsoft will release Xbox Music on these devices later. It's a smart move considering that other more popular streaming services (like Spotify) are already big players on the other platforms. . Microsoft needs to build up the Xbox Music brand on Windows first, and then try their hand on the other platforms.
Will Xbox Music succeed? It certainly can't do any worse than Zune did. On top of that, it does have the all-in-one experience that more consumers are clamoring for. The service allows users to stream free music, purchase subscriptions, and even buy music to download all from the same service on any platform. That may just be what Microsoft needs to compete in a business that's been taken over by Spotify.