Xbox Music Launched by Microsoft: Free Service Rivals Spotify, Pandora

Monday, 09 Sep 2013 07:19 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Microsoft is taking on the music world — specifically music services like Pandora and Spotify — by opening its Xbox Music website for free streaming to anyone with a computer, according to USA Today.

The Xbox Music (found at has been available since fall of last year, first for Windows 8 users, and then on the Xbox 360 and phones that use Windows. But as of this week, free streaming of all 30 million-plus songs on the site area available for free to anyone on the Web, USA Today said.

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In addition to free Web access, Xbox 360 also will allow the Xbox Music Pass subscribers, who pay $9.99 a month or $99.99 yearly, to get to their saved music on Android and iOS devices, USA Today said. Users can get apps from Google Play or iTunes.

Xbox Music General Manager Jerry Johnson told USA Today that while the site’s music list is excellent, the usefulness was “very limited by the device set. ... It's important that we get music everywhere the consumer wants it.”

Opening the site to more users will help Microsoft in its fight for marketshare against Spotify, which has about 9.3 million users, USA Today said.

This latest move to attract more users is underpinned by Microsoft’s efforts to become a company more known for services and devices, rather than being primarily recognized as a software company, The Associated Press said.

Evidence of the company’s repositioning in the marketplace also came with the announcement Microsoft would buy Nokia Corp., which puts it firmly in the devices market, and that CEO Steve Ballmer would relinquish his position in the next year.

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“This kind of thing gives more credibility to the idea they’ll be more credibility to the idea they’ll be more of a services company as well,” analyst Michael Turits of Raymond James told the AP.

Like other streaming services of its kind, Xbox Music lets users create playlists, search out music from particular artists or genres, and then play their favorites across different devices.

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