Microsoft just announced that it plans to go after Spotify where it lives: your ears. It has announced a new streaming service for block-rocking tunes called Xbox Music and it will let you stream music from Microsoft's cloud for free, provided you have the right device.
Xbox Music is available across the Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8. If you're rocking Windows 8 or RT, you'll be able to stream music for free. Microsoft is promising "millions of songs" and unlimited playlists for you lucky ducks. Streaming will be "limited" after six months though. What those limits are, we don't know yet.
If you're anywhere other than on Windows, though, you'll have to pay for the service from day dot.
Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 8 users will have to pay $11.99 per month for an Xbox Music Pass which gives them access to the service. That includes the millions of songs Windows users will get, as well as the option for unlimited playlists, but on top of that, Xbox 360 users get tens of thousands of music videos, too. You know, for when you want to relive the glory days of Video Hits in your lounge room.
Does anyone think it strange that the device the service is named after isn't the one that's going to be free? Just sayin'.
Comparatively, Xbox Music is priced quite competitively in the Australian market. It's exactly the same price as Spotify per month and it beats out the top Web + Mobile tier of Rdio by a whole $0.91.
Whether you're subscribed or not, you'll be able to access the Xbox Music Store, which lets you buy and download songs to your local device and store them on whichever device you like. Going forward, Microsoft plans to add "social functionality" to Xbox Music so you can share music with your friends.
Global roll-out starts tomorrow, but Australia won't get it until Windows 8 launch day on October 26.