Xbox Music to offer subscription-based streaming - Report

Sources say Microsoft planning to launch Spotify-like service with annual fee later this year, currently negotiating with major record companies.

Bloomberg sources say Microsoft's Xbox Music service will launch later this year with a subscription model similar to that of streaming giant Spotify. The service was formally announced with little detail last month at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Xbox Music is taking on Spotify, the sources say.

Microsoft is reportedly in talks with the "Big Four" major record firms to secure licensing rights--namely, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI.

Xbox Music will be a streaming service, the sources say, and will charge users an annual fee. Subscribers will also be able to purchase music through online marketplaces like Zune, Apple's iTunes, and Amazon's MP3 store.

Additionally, the report states Microsoft will grant Xbox Music subscribers an "online locker" for their content, which enables them to access their music through multiple mobile devices running Windows 8. Users will be able to upload their music collections to the service, including songs purchased through other channels, for an additional monthly or annual fee, according to the sources.

Users may not want to get too excited about Xbox Music just yet, as Microsoft is reportedly only beginning the process of nailing down licensing agreements with the record companies. A Microsoft representative told GameSpot, "Microsoft does not comment on rumors and speculation."

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.