Xbox is not only a gaming console for your living room with video streaming apps and PC integration but, it is now Microsoft’s gateway to delivering media. Just as Apple uses iTunes for distribution, so Microsoft is deploying their best known device for their new music service. On Oct. 26, they are replacing the Zune Marketplace with the new Xbox Music service. A lot of good ad-supported streaming services exist, but Microsoft says that they are inconsistent across devices. Users familiar with streaming services such as Spotify and Rdio with notice similar features adopted by Xbox Music.
So far, it looks as if Xbox music is trying to combine all of a user’s music services into one large area consisting of Xbox 360 (and future editions), Windows Phone, Windows Tablet, and PC. Xbox Music will have arguably the largest music catalog of all music services, with 30 million songs, and that the experience offers music discovery they are calling Smart DJ. Thirty million is a large number to tout compared to that of iTunes and Apple’s iTunes Match service which does veritably the same thing. Also, the service will let adopters listen free to any song on computers and tablets with the latest software (Windows 8 released Oct. 2012) and also on the Xbox gaming console. No ceiling is set for the number of tracks you can listen to, and users can also skip as many tracks as they want (unlike Spotify but could be changed over time). Cross-platform adoption, such as for iOS and Android users, will also gain access within the net year.
Microsoft’s Xbox Music service will begin appearing on the Xbox game console this week. For now though, Microsoft’s promises seem weak compared to those services such as Pandora which already work. Though, looking ahead at their platform and users who will adopt the new Windows 8, it could be the only music service they need.