Xbox Music is going free over the web today, and its long-awaited iOS and Android versions are also set to launch at some point today. The move puts Xbox Music and Microsoft on a new course, positioning the service to rival major streaming music providers like Spotify and Rdio. "The Spotify model is the most disruptive thing that's happened in the music industry in the last five years," Xbox Music GM Jerry Johnson told Engadget in an interview this week.
With the move to free streaming on the web -- something that's been available to Windows 8 users for some time now -- Johnson and Microsoft are hoping to get in on that disruption. The first six months of streaming are entirely free, and becomes more limited after that. Like Spotify, Johnson reasons that users will be drawn in for free on the web and upgrade to the Xbox Music Pass ($10/month or $100/year). Also like Spotify, the mobile apps are essentially useless without a paid subscription. It's unclear if streaming will be free for the Xbox One version that launches this November, though we'd bet that the first 30 days are free (like with the Xbox 360 iteration). There are some new images of what it'll look like on Xbox One in the gallery below -- it's essentially a shinier version of the one you're used to on your current Xbox 360.
Sadly, the iOS and Android apps don't launch with the ability to save and play tracks offline; offline playback functionality is coming "in the coming months," we're told. Oh, and when Windows 8.1 launches in October, the Web Playlist tool (which creates playlists based on whatever website you're viewing) will arrive alongside the OS update for Windows 8 users. We'd leave you with a link to Tears for Fears' timely song, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," but Xbox Music doesn't allow users to link out. Instead, there's a YouTube embed below. Dance with us like it's 1985!
Microsoft launches Xbox Music across iOS and Android, adds free streaming on the Web
Enjoy your favorite music from a 30-million-song global catalog powered by the one service that integrates your music experiences across your tablet, PC, phone and TV. All the music you love, every way you want it.
REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Nearing its one-year anniversary, Microsoft Corp.'s all-in-one music service, Xbox Music, continues making strides to deliver all the music people want, wherever they want it played. Today, Microsoft announced its plans to bring Xbox Music to iOS and Android devices, as well as free streaming on Xbox Music via the Web.1
Accessing music across all the different devices people interact with has become complicated. People today use PCs, laptops, tablets, phones and TVs to access different music services that don't connect with one another. Xbox Music is designed to solve this common problem by combining the best of all music offerings with free streaming on the Web and on Windows 8 PCs and tablets, Internet radio, subscription (called Xbox Music Pass), and download-to-own options.2 With today's news, access to Xbox Music grows to include iOS and Android devices, as well as a free Web-based interface on computers.
"Xbox Music now, more than ever, powers music experiences between Windows 8, Xbox, Windows Phone, and now iOS, Android and the Web," said Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music. "We're also excited to connect artists with their fans on the most anticipated consumer product of the year when Xbox One launches Nov. 22."
Expanding the Xbox Music family of devices
Starting today, your Xbox Music Pass brings the catalog of music to iOS and Android devices. Get unlimited access to the songs and artists you want at any time with playback across your tablet, PC, phone and Xbox console for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. Add a song to your collection on your Xbox, and you'll also have that song on your iOS, Android or Windows 8 device on the go or at the office. Xbox Music Pass also unlocks unlimited access to tens of thousands of music videos on your Xbox 360.
With the addition of free streaming on the Web, enjoy on-demand access to 30 million songs globally for free on the Xbox Music Web player at http://music.xbox.com or through the Xbox Music app on all Windows 8 tablets and PCs. Discovering and enjoying free music is as easy as typing an artist or song name and hitting "play." Songs are instantly available to stream at no cost and for you to create an unlimited amount of playlists.1
Xbox Music will continue to grow and evolve over the coming months. Microsoft will add Radio to the free Web player, a quick and dynamic way to personalize your collection, discover new favorites, and create ultimate playlists by launching instant mixes based on your favorite artists. With unlimited skips and a view of the full recommended music stream, Radio puts you in control of your Internet radio experience.1
Xbox Music will grow on Windows 8 when it adds the anticipated new Web Playlist tool this fall. The tool scans all the artists and music available on a given Web page and creates a custom playlist of all that music. Think about the Web page of your favorite radio station, or an upcoming music festival, and all the bands and songs included on that Web page. Web Playlist identifies all that music and creates an instant, custom playlist inside Xbox Music with the simple touch of a button. Web Playlist along with Windows 8.1 will be released Oct. 17.
In the coming months, additional updates for iOS and Android platforms will become available, including an offline mode that lets you save your music to your device for playback without an Internet or data connection.
Xbox is Microsoft's premier entertainment brand for the TV, phone, PC and tablet. In living rooms or on the go, Xbox is home to the best and broadest games, as well as one of the world's largest libraries of movies, TV, music and sports. Your favorite games, TV and entertainment come to life in new ways through the power of Kinect, Xbox SmartGlass and Xbox Live, the world's premier social entertainment network. More information about Xbox can be found online at http://www.xbox.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
1 Free streaming available only on the Web and devices running Windows 8 or later. Limited hours of free streaming after six months; unlimited with paid subscription. Coming later this fall: artist-based Radio on Android, iOS and the Web.
2 Xbox Music Pass is streaming only on Xbox consoles, Android, iOS and the Web. Applicable taxes extra. On Xbox consoles, Xbox Music requires an Xbox Music Pass and an Xbox Live Gold membership (both sold separately). Download music on up to four devices. Some Xbox Music content may not be available via Xbox Music Pass, and may vary over time and by region. Coming later this fall: Xbox music download-to-own on Android and iOS, and playlists and song sync on Windows Phone 8. See http://www.xbox.com/music.
For details, please visit http://news.xbox.com.
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SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
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