SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has unveiled a free music streaming service dubbed Xbox Music.
Debuting on the Xbox 360 console via Xbox Live on 16 October, the service is said to combine parts of Spotify and Itunes, and will launch across PCs, laptops and tablets running the Windows 8/RT operating system (OS) when the it becomes available on 26 October.
A Microsoft spokesperson told The INQUIRER that the service will also launch on Windows Phone 8 and possibly Android devices eventually, though there is so far "no definitive date, but [it] will be launched as and when handsets become available".
The free service will offer unlimited streaming for the first six months along with Spotify style advertisements, after which time that will become restricted. Users wanting unlimted ad-free access will have to buy an Xbox Music Pass that will set you back £8.99 a month.
The spokesperson couldn't confirm whether the service will be similar to rivals such as Itunes by having a playlist feature, but there will also be the option to download tracks and albums like Itunes, as well as a cloud storage and an Itunes Match style "scan and Match" feature coming later in the year.
Microsoft said it has been working with record companies for quite some time in the buildup for the launch, but is not releasing details as to which ones. However, it said it has "teamed up with a fair few multi-global record labels to ensure it has the widest possible catalogue tens of millions of tracks".
Whether Micrsoft can make the service unqiue and compelling enough to draw customers from the already popular Spotify and Itunes services remains to be seen. µ