Xbox Music gets official: Windows 8 launch app is Spotify rival

Digital Music, Microsoft, Tech Digest news

xbox-music.jpgMicrosoft have officially revealed details on Xbox Music, their digital tune streaming Spotify rival.

Hitting Xbox 360 consoles tomorrow and landing as a launch app with Windows 8 on 26 October, the service makes 30 million songs available for streaming.

Xbox Music will also offer a scan-and-match feature, similar to Apple iTunes Match service, which adds your own music to the Xbox Music catalogue, ready to be streamed as you please from the service’s cloud storage servers.

Xbox Music will be available to Xbox 360 users and across the Windows 8 ecosystem, including the desktop OS, Windows 8 RT tablets and Windows 8 smartphones. Microsoft also state that Xbox Music will roll out to “other platforms in the coming year”, which we’ll presume means dedicated apps for Android and iOS devices by some point in 2013.

However, the service will not be available to Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7 users. They’ll still have access to Zune though, which shares the same artist and track catalogue as Xbox Music, but lacks streaming options.

So what will it cost you? Well that depends. Like Spotify, you can access an ad-supplemented free version, if you’re prepared to let your tunes be interrupted by music every 15 minutes or so, and can handle the number of hours you can stream music for being reduced after 6 months.

If that’s not your thing, there’s a premium version priced at £8.99 for all-you-can-listen-to, ad-free streaming. That’s a pound cheaper than Spotify, but without all the desktop Spotify app support, and deep Facebook integration. We’re not sure of the specifics of offline-listening at present either – Spotify let’s you download playlists for offline, on-the-go mobile tuneage, but Xbox Music seems to require you buy tracks individually, separately, if you want to take them offline. You do get the scan-and-match features though, as well as a ton of music videos too, so it balances out a bit.

Enough to get you to give up iTunes or Spotify? Let us know in the comments below.

Gerald Lynch
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