Microsoft has launched its internet music service on Xbox today, and will launch it on computers equiped with Windows 8 next week to compete with internet radio giants like Pandora and Spotify.
Like Pandora, Xbox Music will have an unlimited ad-supported streatming of tunes on computers and tablets, but charge $9.99 each month on the Xbox and cellular phones. In order to get the ad-free version of Xbox Music on computers and tablets, then coughing up $9.99 a month is necessary. Just for comparison's sake-Pandora One-the ad-free update is just $3.00 a month.
If it's buying music you prefer, as opposed to just listening to it online, then consumers will be able to purchase albums and songs. This shows Microsoft is also eyeing to make inroads with the Apple iTunes and Amazon music store crowds. Reported by the Suwanee Democrat:"This gives Microsoft a strong music story which they've lacked for years and extends the Xbox brand to media and entertainment," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at market research firm Gartner Inc. "A free streaming service with ads every 15 or 20 minutes is pretty compelling. This is will put a lot of pressure on the Spotify's, the Rdio's and Pandora's." The application will also be available on new handsets with Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software, coming in November. Mobile apps for Apple's iOS and Google Inc.'s Android are planned for next year, Porter said. Initially Xbox Music will lack some of the social features seen in a service like Spotify, which tells users what music their friends are listening to. While those will come next year, Porter said, Microsoft is also mulling how to make those features useful without "spamming" your friends with constant notifications about a user's listening choices. The service will have a worldwide catalog of 30 million tracks, and in the U.S. there will be 18 million tracks available.
Down below are a couple of videos about Xbox Music. When is from the Xbox's YouTube account offering a proper introduction of Xbox Music, and the other is a CNET's skeptical take on the new service's prospects.
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[youtube id="0a1QN4VECgA" width="560" height="315"]