With the upcoming release of Windows 8, we’ll see a slew of related services coming from Microsoft as well. One of those is utilizing the Xbox brand name to push a Spotify-like service for music streaming.
Called Xbox Music, the service is part of the Xbox Live suite and will be available on several devices, including Windows-based PCs, tablets, and (of course) the Xbox itself. The service will look very much like Spotify in its offering, giving a free version that can be upgraded in a freemium model to allow for better services with payment subscriptions.
Microsoft has licenses from most of the major labels and many independents as well, so the new Xbox Music will have more than 30 million songs in its catalog, MS claims. While it will function like Spotify in many respects, it also includes some Pandora-like features like building auto-playlists of music similar to your “likes” (called Smart DJ) as well as focusing on specific artists or songs in re-mix. All user-generated playlists can be propagated across devices.
The free version will have ads served in the same with the competing services do (as radio spots intermixed with the music) while the paid version (said to be $9.99 a month or $99 a year) will not. Individual songs and albums can, of course, be purchased for download.
The initial version of the service became available on Xbox on October 16 and will hit Windows 8 devices as they release. The service will be available in 15 markets globally by the end of the year and 22 markets by subscription as well. More will be added over time.