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Microsoft: Xbox-Based Music Service Part of Larger Change

16 Oct, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

LOS ANGELES — Microsoft has unveiled an all-in-one music service dubbed Xbox Music that reaches across the TV, PC, tablets, phones and gaming consoles. The new service is part of a larger change within Microsoft, which will see Xbox branded across Microsoft’s media offerings, including video.

“One of the things that’s happening is Microsoft is embracing Xbox as the face of content,” said Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music. “We’ve shifted quite a bit, chained our philosophy to make everything service centric.”

Xbox Music will feature free, ad-supported music streaming, artist-based Internet radio, a music store for buying and downloading tracks at $1.29 a pop, and a Xbox Music Pass that gives unlimited access for $9.99 a month or $100 a year.

Xbox Music will have more than 30 million songs available internationally and more than 18 million available in the United States. More than 22 countries will have access to Xbox Music at launch.

The service is now live on the Xbox 360 and will go live on Windows-based devices Oct. 26. Windows phones will start seeing the service pop up Oct. 29.

“One of the things we did is we backed up and said, ‘Is there a consumer problem that needs to be addressed?’” Johnson said. “Music should not be work, from the consumer’s perspective. We really saw this as an opportunity to build from the ground up an all-in-one service.”

Songs purchased on Xbox Music will be stored on a dedicated cloud, allowing for access across devices. Microsoft also is introducing a Smart DJ service that helps users discover new music based on previous songs played.

Within the next year, Microsoft plans on expanding the service to iOS and Android platforms.

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