Microsoft launches Xbox Music
Free streaming plus download, and cloud music service coming to Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox 360 devices; Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 unsupported.
Microsoft has unveiled Xbox Music, a streaming, download, and cloud music service with access to around 30 million tracks. Streaming is free thanks to advertising support, while an ad-free version called Xbox Music Pass--which includes unlimited plays, and offline support for PCs and mobile--costs $9.99 (£8.99) per month. The a-la-carte download option offers 256kbps DRM-free MP3s tracks (versus 192kbps WMA for streaming) for purchase from the Xbox Music Store.
Cloud storage is also promised for later in the year. Similar to Apple's iTunes Match service, Xbox Music will allow you to scan-and-match any music you own and add it to your own personal cloud catalogue for use on all your devices. It includes music acquired through other services, such as iTunes or Amazon.
Xbox Music--which was originally rumored to launch on October 26--is available on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox 360. Notably, Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7 users will not be able to access the service. However, The Verge notes that Zune Music will continue to be supported on those platforms. Microsoft is promising that Xbox Music will made available on other platforms "in the coming year".