It’s been a year since Microsoft’s Zune media players ceased to be a going concern, and – if new reports are to be believed – the device’s namesake music service will follow suit before the end of the month. In its place, Microsoft will roll out Xbox Music, an updated, flexible streaming music platform revealed during the company’s E3 2012 Press Conference.
The first rumored details about Xbox Music surfaced last April – at that point, the service (allegedly) went by the codename “Woodstock.” Similar to Spotify and Sony’s Music Unlimited, Xbox Music will offer a library of more than 30 million songs, and will initially be accessible from Xbox 360, Windows Phones, and PCs running Windows 8 . In fact, the service is expected to launch right alongside Windows 8 – and Microsoft’s new Surface tablets – on October 26, 2012. Further down the line, Xbox Music is expected to add support for iOS and Android platforms.
According to The Verge, a free, ad-supported version of Xbox Music will be available, as will an ad-free, subscription-based option. While there is no word yet on what a monthly subscription will cost, a current Zune Music Pass runs $9.99 a month ($99.99 a year). Considering that both Spotify and Music Unlimited also offer $9.99 a month standard subscriptions, expect Xbox Music to stay in that price range. Finally, Xbox Music will reportedly offer users the option of saving music and playlists to Microsoft’s cloud-storage solution, SkyDrive.
Keep in mind, Microsoft has yet to confirm any of these details – beyond the trailer at the top of the page, which debuted at E3 2012, the company has been notably quiet on the subject of Xbox Music. If the service is indeed set to launch on the 26th, an official announcement can’t be far off.
If Xbox Music exists exactly as rumored – free and premium versions, SkyDrive storage, support for a wide variety of devices – it should be a competent, though hardly revolutionary, music service. The question is: will that be enough? After all, Apple’s iTunes – love it or hate it – is practically ubiquitous; the unprecedented success of iPhone has made iTunes the default source for legions of music lovers. Meanwhile, both Spotify and the Amazon Cloud Player have managed to attract significant audiences in recent years, and are already accessible from a wide variety of devices (game consoles sadly excluded). Why would a music fan who has invested in any of the current options want to “start over” with Xbox Music, particularly after the failure of Zune? Would you?
Ranters, are you looking forward to Xbox Music, or would you rather see Microsoft (and Sony and Nintendo, for that matter) offer console apps for existing music services like the Amazon Cloud Player and Spotify? Let us know in the comments below.
Xbox Music is rumored to launch October 26, 2012.
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Source: The Verge