Microsoft has officially announced Xbox Music. The service is being touted as the “ultimate all-in-one music service” and will bring the option for both free streaming and paid accounts. Touching on that ultimate tag for a moment though, Microsoft is pushing Xbox Music as a service that offers the ability to stream custom-created playlists for free as well as the ability to subscribe to the music you want or download-to-own your favorite songs. The service will have more than 30 million available tracks and is cloud based, meaning you will be able to access your account on a variety of devices. The device include the obvious (based on the name), the Xbox, as well as Windows 8 tablets and computers, Windows RT devices and Windows Phone 8.
The Xbox Music service roll-out will begin today on the Xbox and then follow “later this month” for Windows 8 and Windows RT with Windows Phone 8 coming at launch. In addition, Microsoft noted that the services will be on “additional platforms later.” That all being said, here is how the feature set breaks down;
- Free streaming music on Windows 8 and Windows RT. Enjoy on-demand access to tens of millions of songs for free on all Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets and PCs. Discovering and enjoying free music on Windows 8 and Windows RT is as easy as typing an artist or song name and hitting “play” — songs are instantly available to stream and for you to create an unlimited amount of playlists.
- Xbox Music Pass. Want unlimited access to the songs and artists you care about, including offline access? Get an Xbox Music Pass for ad-free, unlimited playback of any track in our subscription catalog across your tablet, PC, phone and Xbox 3601 for US$9.99 per month. Xbox Music Pass also unlocks unlimited access to tens of thousands of music videos on your Xbox 360.
- Xbox Music Store. Want to own the music you love? The Xbox Music Store is a comprehensive MP3 marketplace giving you the opportunity to purchase a single track or entire album on your Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet or PC and Windows Phone 8.
- Smart DJ. Creating a new form of artist-based radio, the Smart DJ feature is a quick and dynamic way to personalize your collection, discover new favorites and create ultimate playlists by launching instant mixes based on your favorite artists. With unlimited skips and a view of the full recommended music stream, Smart DJ puts you in control of your Internet radio experience.
- Cloud Storage. Available in the coming year, a scan-and-match feature will take you beyond the 30 million tracks globally offered through Xbox Music. It will add all the music you own to your Xbox Music cloud catalog, including music acquired through other services. This means you can add almost any content you have to your personal Xbox Music collection, even if it’s not available in the Xbox Music catalog.
- Social Music. Xbox Music will add unique social features in the coming year that let you share your music experiences with friends and family.
- Platform Expansion. Xbox Music will become available on other platforms in the coming year.
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