Microsoft has unveiled its “all-in-one” music service, Xbox Music, that it hopes will rival the likes of already established players Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.
As of today, the service is available on Xbox 360 and will become available on Windows 8 only when Microsoft’s latest operating system is launched next week, on October 26. No Windows 7 users allowed.
Microsoft has tried to distinguish itself from those already providing similar services, describing Xbox Music as a “one-stop-shop”, allowing users to discover and stream music but also to purchase and download individual tracks.
Similar to iTunes Match, Xbox Music users can incorporate their existing personal music collection and make it available to stream across devices.
Scott Porter, program manager for Microsoft’s Xbox Music, stated,
“I think what we’ve seen over the past several years is that discovering, managing and consuming music has gotten to be hard work.
“Our aspirations for Xbox Music are big – to address the multiple ways that people are listening to music, then put those all in one easy-to-use and beautifully curated place.”
Xbox Music will become the default music player on Windows 8 and will allow free, ad-supported streaming of 30 million tracks on desktop and tablet. Xbox users will need to purchase an Xbox Music Pass for $9.99 a month, in addition to any Xbox Live subscription they might have.
Xbox Music won’t be completely tied-in to the Microsoft ecosystem either. Xbox Music Android and iOS apps will becomes available “eventually”.