“Xbox Music” Service Will Rival iTunes, Offer Spotify-Esque Subscription Model

Written by: Jon Charles - Published: Saturday, June 30th, 2012 - Comments

Xbox Music Subscription Service

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Microsoft’s Xbox Music program will have an iTunes model, a Spotify subscription and continue to support Zune customers!


According to Bloomberg sources the cross-device music service from Microsoft will bring a bit of everything from its rivals.

Microsoft’s Music Service was rumored a while before the announcement was made on June 4 during E3, but more details have emerged from Bloomberg’s sources. Its report claims that Microsoft is going to launch the service in mid-July, and will take features and the business models from rivals iTunes and Spotify.

The sources said that Microsoft is talking to four record companies ahead of launch: Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music and EMI. When Amazon was launching Amazon Music, it didn’t have any record deals signed. Microsoft didn’t make any deal announcements during the unveiling of Music, and on the FAQ page there’s no mention of record deals either (though that could be information Microsoft never wants to make public).

Monthly and yearly subscriptions will be available, like Spotify, and music will be available through an online store. It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft offers apps for multiple operating systems. SmartGlass, Microsoft’s app for providing added context to content, is available on Android and iOS in addition to Windows Phone.

Zune is going, but Zune customers – and presumably those using Zune Pass – will transition to the service according to the FAQ. How long Zune Pass will remain before renewal, and whether any loyalty bonuses will be in place, remains to be seen.

Record Labels Not Confirmed, Service Launching Regardless?

Microsoft may not get the rights from the record labels, but Bloomberg’s source said the service will launch anyway. Microsoft says on the FAQ more information is coming soon, so the mid-July launch date would line up with that.

Though the source also said Microsoft has to pen the deal if more music is to be available than on Zune. It would be embarrassing if Microsoft killed a service with more music than the one its launching. I think it’s a question of time, though, because Microsoft needs the music for a service that seems to be aiming for the long term.

Xbox Music will launch on the Xbox 360, Windows Phones, Windows 8 PCs and Windows 8 tablets.


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Written by: Jon Charles
Jonathan is a writer on the technology and video game industries. He is comfortable with using Mac OS X and Windows; he began using Windows with Windows XP during his early double-digit years, and started using OS X in 2009 on a MacBook Pro. He began gaming on the SNES back in the 90s.

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