One of the bright moments in Microsoft and the music industry was the introduction of free desktop streaming of Xbox Music. It allowed users to stream music to their desktops using Xbox Music, and was a great set of tunes. On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that will all change with the free tier going away December 1st.
The Xbox Music service has a Xbox Music Pass, which allows for unlimited streaming on mobile devices and desktops for a price, and this free tier. By eliminating the free tier, this makes it a paid only service from Microsoft and Xbox Music.
Why Go Paid?
The Xbox Music system has been a mediocre success for Microsoft, and as the service competes against services like Pandora, Spotify, and others, it needs paying users to survive. Services like Xbox Music have to pay large sums of money every month to licensing deals, and only paid subscribers make this happen.
The move on December 1st, will transition those who like the free service to pay for it, and will lose those who use it for free, and they will have to search for other services. The 30-day trial period will still be available to test it out, but an ongoing free service will be no more.
Microsoft and Music
As noted previously, Microsoft hasn’t had the best success with streaming services and music. Going back to the Zune rollout, Microsoft has always suffered in giving customers great music. Microsoft wants to transition the service into a better service, but needs to make it a premier service before this happens.
Microsoft stated in a press release that they want Xbox Music to become a ultimate music purchase and subscription service, but will need to go against Spotify’s 30 million users to get there. Xbox Music is on the Windows, Xbox, and Windows Phone platforms which is a plus, and could be an advantage based on that for some. Whether or not people will pay for Xbox Music is one thing though, and most will probably not. Xbox Music will need to get better quickly before it loses customers, but Microsoft might have secrets up its sleeves before December 1st you know?
Xbox Music is a great free service. I’m sorry to see it go, and will use my Spotify instead.