Monday, October 15, 2012, 08:25 am
Microsoft set to launch Xbox Music with free unlimited streamingThis week, Microsoft will step up its competition with Apple's iTunes with the launch of Xbox Music, a new service that offers unlimited streaming to Microsoft devices, including PCs running Windows 8.
For now, the Xbox Music service will be limited to only devices running Microsoft's new Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms, as well as the Xbox 360 game console. A hands-on preview of Xbox Music was published on Monday by Gizmodo.
While the basic, free service offers unlimited streaming to Windows 8 tablets and PCs, customers who pay a $10-per-month subscription can also download songs, and stream to their Xbox game console as well as Windows Phone 8 handsets. It's a business model similar to Spotify, which offers free ad-supported streaming to desktops, while only subscribers can stream to their mobile device.
The basic free service is currently scheduled to last six months, but author Kyle Wagner noted that period could be extended, depending on what kind of deal Microsoft can reach with music publishers.
"For local music files that you add to your library, Xbox Music sort of works like Google Play Music, with a bit of iTunes Match thrown in," Wagner wrote. "It uses a 'scan and match' process to see if you've uploaded tracks that it has on file, and if it finds a match, you'll be able to stream it from the cloud, even if it's not available over XBM's streaming service."