Microsoft Debuts Music Service To Take On Apple And Amazon

Bangalore: Microsoft’s goodie basket is to offer yet another surprise; Xbox Music, a digital music service that will be available on Xbox game consoles from Tuesday, as per company’s announcement-- a service to vie with Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s Cloud Player.

The service will be extended to the devices running on Windows software like, computers, tablets, and it will be included in upcoming Microsoft’s tablet “Surface”, available from 26 October, the launch date of Windows 8. The service will then be extended to phones too.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, since from a couple of years was trying to mark its presence as a household entertainer, and the company’s hot product Xbox in this segment has recorded a staggering 67million units sales since 2005. An analysis which was carried out in a year and half ago, revealed that, the users are spending more than 60 percent of their time on entertainment services than gaming on Xbox.          

The hit gaming console already streams Netflix, ESPN, and other channels, and considering the Xbox’s presence across large number of households, the company’s decision to add music and video content, came at right time.  

"We also realize, as an entertainment company, that music is an important ingredient on its own and as a part of different user experiences," said Music general manager Jerry Johnson.

Replacing Microsoft’s media brand Zune that struggled to compete with iTunes, Xbox offers a free ad-supported music streaming, and with premium of $9.99, one can get unlimited ad free streaming. The service also includes a download-to-own music store, with collection of more than 30 million songs on its global catalog, crossing iTunes’ library of over 26 million songs. And 70,000 music videos exclusively available on Xbox console.

The service also sports cloud storage feature, like iTunes and Amazon, and an artist-based radio function like music streaming services Pandora and Spotify.  

Xbox Music will be available across 22 countries, and Microsoft is hoping to make avail this service to iOS and Android based devices by next year.