Computer icon and screenshot of Xbox Music app in Windows 8.1
|Opened||October 16, 2012|
|Pricing model||Paid unlimited streaming in 22 countries US$9.99/month; US$99.99/year|
|Platforms||Web, Windows 8, Windows RT, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows Phone, iOS, Android|
18 million+ tracks (US);38 million+ tracks (globally)
|Preview||30 second previews of songs are available for free|
|Burning/copying||Yes (With Music Pass)|
|Trial||30 days for free (renews to paid subscription automatically)|
Xbox Music is a digital music service developed by Microsoft that offers music through subscription streaming and purchase through the Xbox Music Store. It is available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android. The Xbox Music catalog has over 38 million tracks.
Xbox Music is the successor service of Microsoft's Zune products, because of Microsoft's decision to discontinue the "Zune" brand in favor of the more appealing "Xbox" brand. Microsoft plans to focus the Xbox Music service to compete more directly with Apple's iTunes Store, Amazon Music, Spotify, Deezer and other streaming services.
Microsoft had previously ventured into music services with its Zune brand. The Zune Music Marketplace included 11 million tracks. The line of Zune players and Zune music store were somewhat unsuccessful, and the brand was largely discontinued at the beginning of the 2010s, although it continued to exist on different devices and the Zune Music Pass offered unlimited access to songs for 9.99 USD per month.
Meanwhile, Microsoft had been emphasizing the strength of its Xbox brand because of its appeal to consumers. It had been expanding the multimedia services available through its Xbox Live to include services such as a video store and online game marketplace. It decided to introduce a new music service to build upon these existing features.
Microsoft introduced the new service at its press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 on June 4.
Xbox Music was launched along with Xbox Video service on October 16, 2012.
Xbox Music offered ad-supported free streaming on the web, Windows 8 and Windows RT devices (computers, laptops, tablets) in 15 countries. There were no duration restrictions during the first 6 months of Free streaming. After that there was a limit on the number of hours of free streaming allowed per month.
Free Streaming ceased on December 1, 2014, in favor of a subscription based streaming model. The 30 day free trial will still be available after this date notwithstanding.
Xbox Music Pass
It also offers the Xbox Music Pass which is a pay subscription service (formerly Zune Music Pass) that allows users to listen to their subscription music on any Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, and Xbox One device. The pricing in US includes monthly and annual subscriptions. A one-month trial offer is available, but those who previously tried the Zune Music Pass subscription prior to the rebranding are ineligible for this offer.
The Xbox Music Pass is available in 22 countries.
Xbox Music Store
The service offers 18 million tracks (in the US) and 30 million tracks (globally) from major as well independent labels. The number of tracks as well as the ways in which they can be used (free streaming vs subscription streaming vs purchase) differs per market depending on label agreements. Users can find music by searching an artist, album or song. They can also browse per genre featured new releases as well top artist, album and songs on the service.
Xbox Music lets users create a collection of songs and playlists that roam through the cloud on all the supported devices. The songs can be added from the Xbox Music marketplace or matched (within the Xbox Music Catalog) to songs either saved locally on the user's machine or uploaded to the user's Microsoft OneDrive account for the country the user is in.
Xbox Music enables discovery of new music with Smart DJ which creates custom stations based starting from a user chosen artist and navigating through related and popular artists. The user can also create a station with the top songs of any given artist. Users can enjoy unlimited skipping when listening to any of the stations.
APIs for developers
The Xbox Music API provides access to RESTful web services for developers to leverage the catalog and features of the service in their application or website.
Xbox Music is available for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game consoles, Windows Phone 8 smartphones, Windows 8 PCs and tablets. The service is also accessible using the Zune clients on Windows XP SP3 (and later) machines as well as Windows Phone 7.x smartphones. Since July 1, 2013 Xbox Music is also accessible on the web at music
Countries where Xbox Music is active include:
Xbox Music Pass is not available in Japan.
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