Microsoft Challenges Spotify with New Xbox Music Service

Paul Lilly

Microsoft on Sunday introduced the world to Xbox Music , a streaming music service available exclusive to Windows 8 and Windows RT device owners. It's being billed as the first all-in-one music service, and it one-ups streaming services like Spotify by giving Windows 8/RT PC and tablet owners the ability to play specific songs on-demand without having to pay a subscription fee. Microsoft says its music catalog extends to tens of millions of songs (over 30 million), all instantly available to stream and/or to create an unlimited number of playlists.

"The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device and on a global scale," said Don Mattrick , president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. "We’re breaking down the walls that fracture your music experiences today to ensure that music is better and integrated across the screens that you care about most — your tablet, PC, phone and TV."

Xbox Music users will have the option of purchasing their favorite singles or albums from the Xbox Music Store. There will also be a subscription-based Xbox Music Pass option that runs $10/month, which gets rid of ads and allows you to download songs for offline playback. You'll also need this option if you intend to use the service on your Xbox 360 console (plus a Live Gold membership) and/or Windows Phone device.

Xbox Music will launch to Windows 8/RT-based tablets and PCs on October 26. Other platforms, such as Windows Phone 8, will have access "shortly after.

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