Microsoft re-entered the digital music game this week with ‘Xbox music’, a streaming and download service featuring a catalogue of 30 million songs and a premium subscription price of £8.99 per month.
Although the company pointed out during the launch that its catalogue is set to rival that of iTunes, the actual model seems to be closely based on Spotify. Users can opt for an ad-funded freemium version or pay £8.99 for an unlimited streaming package that will work across devices including Xbox 360 and Windows 8 and RT computers and smartphones.
The subscription version will also include digital caching, online storage and a scan and match locker function to import tracks, all pretty much de rigueur now that we’re living in the cloud- though Microsoft are the first major provider to combine all of these elements in one single service launched in 22 music markets.
Highlighting that very point, President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Don Mattrick said: “The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device and on a global scale”.
Mattrick continued: “We’re breaking down the walls that fracture your music experiences today to ensure that music is better and integrated across the screens”.
This integration is currently tied to Windows devices, though versions compatible with other operating systems including Android and Apple’s iOS are expected in the next year.
Whether this will tempt players away from their game pads anymore than Microsoft’s previous music platform Zune, remains to be seen- it didn’t really take off and Microsoft has been trailing behind Apple, Amazon et al when it comes to digital music services for some time now.