Microsoft has made its first move towards dominating, not just gaming, but also the streaming industry. Redmond would like to hope that their XBOX Music platform will be as successful as some of their rivals, but since the launch of services such as Spotify, Rdio and Pandora – the music market has become a lot harsher to enter. Nevertheless this won’t stop Microsoft from trying to enter the market.
Four, maybe even three years ago, you could have said Microsoft stood a good chance of bagging the streaming industry – but now bigger rivals have moved in. Spotify has already accumulated a hoard of users and has their service on almost every platform, while internet radio has also become a popular past time. Microsoft offers XBOX Music as a side subscription from XBOX Live, this hasn’t proved popular and XBOX continue to allow cheaper, alternative music options through XBOX Live; therefore eliminating the need for users to chose Microsoft’s offerings.
But apart from their poor marketing, it isn’t all bad. XBOX Music has been available on the web for some time now, but the company has now made its web tunes free, a feature previously only available to Windows 8 users. The first 6 months of streaming are completely free and unlimited but following the deadline, users will start to run into a few road blocks here and there. Jerry Johnson, GM of XBOX Music, recently said that:
“The Spotify model is the most disruptive thing that’s happened in the music industry in the last five years,”
And he isn’t wrong. Spotify has grasped its users and now sits on a pile of cash. It’s clever. Like Spotify, Microsoft will soon be offering Android and iOS apps for users to listen to their tunes. However, without a subscription, the app will be useless. Users will be able to upgrade to a XBOX Music Pass for $10 a month/$100 a year – but can trial this free for 30 days. At this point we do not know if XBOX One streaming will be free at this point, even so, if Microsoft follow the same pattern as the XBOX 360 – users will have to pay for their music streaming on the console.
Android and iOS apps won’t launch with the ability to save and play tunes offline as Microsoft has said that this functionality will be available within “the coming months,”. Alongisde the Windows 8.1 launch, Microsoft’s Web Playlist tool will also become available, allowing users to create playlists based on website viewing.
With Microsoft in disarray, as least they’ll have some tunes to relax too. It will be a push to get their voice heard. They are going to have to fight, and it will take a long time. So for all those who love Cherly Cole, she puts Microsoft’s situation in perfect perspective.
Music video by Cheryl Cole performing Fight For This Love. (C) 2009 Polydor Ltd. (UK)