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Microsoft Announces iTunes Competitor: Xbox Music

By - Source: Microsoft | B 27 comments

Xbox Music will make its debut on the Xbox 360 console on Tuesday.

Microsoft officially announced Xbox Music on Sunday, the company's answer to Apple's iTunes digital content service.

The company said on Sunday that Xbox Music will be an all-in-one music service which will be included in a rolling update to Xbox Live starting Tuesday, October 16. The service will be expanded into Windows 8 when the new OS launches on October 26, and Windows Phone 8 shortly thereafter.

"The all-in-one music service combines the best aspects of free-streaming radio, music subscription services and music purchasing options, all in one elegant package," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business Marketing and Strategy. "No longer do people have to rely on 'service hopping' to get the music they love."

Service hopping is defined as hearing a tune on an internet radio station like Pandora, and then hunting it down on a music subscription service. The user would then load up iTunes and actually purchase the song so it can be played on multiple devices. Microsoft's Xbox Music service wants to eliminate all that by offering a one-stop shop for discovery and purchasing.

Mehdi claims that Xbox Music will offer 30 million download-to-own songs from the start, and over 70,000 music videos only available on the Xbox 360 console. Even more, users will be able to hear individual songs or full albums for free on their Windows 8-based tablet and PC, create music mixes and playlists, create artist-based Internet radio stations, and use Smart DJ to create playlists with unlimited skipping. It will all be cloud-based too so that users can access their music and playlists from multiple devices.

"We’re going to power what we feel is going to be the best music experience for users of Windows 8, and it’s the only operating system on a tablet that can do free streaming because of the rights we’ve secured," Mehdi says.

Naturally there's a catch to the whole Xbox Music service. Users will be able to stream music for free on internet-connected Windows 8-based PCs and tablets, but it will be ad-supported. But by purchasing an Xbox Music Pass for US $9.99 a month, users will be able to take that music to the cloud so they can enjoy the collection they’ve curated on other devices such as Windows Phone 8 and Xbox 360.

Eventually Microsoft will offer apps for other platforms like iOS and Android.

"When creating Xbox Music, we started off with a simple principle — music should never be work. That’s why we’ve put it all together to create, basically, a one-stop-shop," said Scott Porter, principal program manager for Microsoft’s Xbox Music. "It’s a really nice marriage between unlimited listening, the cloud and your personal collection. We hope users out there will see that we’ve put together the world’s entire catalog that they can easily integrate with what they already own — they can very quickly simplify their digital music life."

Xbox Music, launching on Tuesday, will be available in 22 countries. The entire Microsoft announcement can be read here.


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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    thecolorblue , October 16, 2012 2:08 AM
    Offering up CD quality Lossless files for less than 99cents per track & totally DRM free??

    didn't think so... no thanks
Other Comments
  • 9 Hide
    thecolorblue , October 16, 2012 2:06 AM
    "When creating Xbox Music, we started off with a simple principle — music should never be work."

    I chuckled
  • 13 Hide
    thecolorblue , October 16, 2012 2:08 AM
    Offering up CD quality Lossless files for less than 99cents per track & totally DRM free??

    didn't think so... no thanks
  • Display all 27 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    Ohmybad , October 16, 2012 2:11 AM
    will it work with the 2 Zune HDs i own that are now paper weights??
  • 3 Hide
    bavman , October 16, 2012 2:17 AM
    Hey microsoft you're only like 10 years late to the game. I miss the old innovative microsoft that actually made a difference in the world of tech.
  • 3 Hide
    ivanto , October 16, 2012 2:18 AM
    thecolorblue"When creating Xbox Music, we started off with a simple principle — music should never be work."


    What kind of principle is that? Pure PR and Marketing, epic fail in my mind.

    -IvanTO
  • 9 Hide
    echondo , October 16, 2012 2:23 AM
    Won't last more than a year, and iTunes is garbage already. I buy retail music and have my own home server that has everything backed up and organized by myself, I can even FTP into it if I need a song when I'm out and about.

    iTunes and this "Xbox Music" isn't anything except for a store and a waste of DRM.

    Why name it "Xbox" Music anyway? Why not "Windows Music". Sounds so much more simpler and professional.
  • 1 Hide
    alextheblue , October 16, 2012 2:35 AM
    thecolorblueOffering up CD quality Lossless files for less than 99cents per track & totally DRM free??didn't think so... no thanks
    This isn't a service for you. It would cost a lot more if that was the case. You can still buy physical media, of course. I often do, and then transcode to WMA Lossless. This kind of service is "good enough" for most people. I hope it's better than iTunes, I imagine it will be, given what they're constructing.
  • 5 Hide
    deadlockedworld , October 16, 2012 2:48 AM
    They should call this what it is. Try number 3 or maybe 4? I thought windows media player and basically all that crapware that was on my old PC was intended to do this and failed miserably.
  • 1 Hide
    sun-devil99 , October 16, 2012 3:57 AM
    Ohmybadwill it work with the 2 Zune HDs i own that are now paper weights??

    Doubtful. Do those go along with the Beta Max and HD DVD Player that are now door stops (or boat anchors)?
  • 2 Hide
    gfair , October 16, 2012 3:57 AM
    Here we go again.... again...
  • 2 Hide
    pliskin1 , October 16, 2012 4:01 AM
    Why not continue using the Zune branding?
  • 5 Hide
    sun-devil99 , October 16, 2012 4:01 AM
    echondoWhy name it "Xbox" Music anyway? Why not "Windows Music". Sounds so much more simpler and professional.


    Because you are suppose to use your Xbox console to stream the music. Microsoft wants us to get away from using our PCs and use their Surface Tablets, Windows Phones and/or the Xbox 360, hence Windows 8.
  • 5 Hide
    nukemaster , October 16, 2012 4:43 AM
    TheCapuletBecause everyone already perceives the Zune brand as an utter failure. So instead of committing the hard work to fixing that brand, they fall back on another one. We see what you did there, MS.

    Same since Zune was not THAT bad. They did not do much to advertise the thing either.

    I am not a big fan of EVERYTHING being called Xbox now either.
  • 0 Hide
    unksol , October 16, 2012 5:21 AM
    Yes it's bad they went with xbox.... Heck apple and Microsoft should both stay out of music... But considering the train wreck iTunes has always been, and Microsoft's massive market share advantage on real systems it makes sense. And they need to offer something for windows 8.

    The reality is you're a fool to use ANY OS specific app that locks you in to using purchased media only on their platform
  • 2 Hide
    leandrodafontoura , October 16, 2012 6:12 AM
    They are crazy if they think its possible to beat Apple in this market
  • 0 Hide
    infernocy , October 16, 2012 6:37 AM
    winamp beats both hands down --
    by the way i dont think there is worse software that itunes ...
  • 6 Hide
    falchard , October 16, 2012 6:49 AM
    Uhm anyone else find it wierd that Zune already does all that and Microsoft is claiming XBox Music is the one stop shop to do all that? I wonder what will happen to all my wonderful Zune stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    robmif76 , October 16, 2012 7:19 AM
    Whilst I agree iTunes is mostly kack, I like the Air Streaming functionality which lets you play music on all your Air devices in the house simultaneously while controlling everything from an iPad/iPhone. I'd like to move away completely from the Apple eco system but are there any alternatives to this?
  • 0 Hide
    john_4 , October 16, 2012 12:41 PM
    "iTunes Competitor" you mean like Zune.
  • 2 Hide
    cknobman , October 16, 2012 2:17 PM
    I already use Zune and it works just fine.
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