This comes in the shadow of Microsoft’s previous failed attempt to enter the same marketplace with the Zune. Not only was the Zune music service a flop, but the device itself is now defunct.
Throughout the Zune’s entire product life I’ve only ever known one person who owned one and he spent a lot of time trying to convince everyone else that it was cool to own a Zune. It’s funny to look back on that now, but it was pretty funny back then too.
So what is Microsoft doing differently this time around that they didn’t do with Zune? What kind of product or online marketing strategy are they using now?
First of all Xbox Music will let users stream over 30 million music tracks. Not a bad start but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before (Spotify).
Much like other streaming services, there will be a free and a premium option. Free comes with the joy of having to deal with ads to support the service while Premium gives you unlimited listens but will run you about $10 a month.
You can also purchase music right from Xbox Music for about a dollar per song, but again this is nothing we haven’t seen before (iTunes, Amazon).
Perhaps the strongest thing Xbox Music has going for it is the fact that it will come built in to future Windows 8 PCs and tablets by the end of this month. Nothing helps boost the popularity of a service like pre-loading it onto everything else that company makes.
At the end of the day Xbox Music doesn’t look to be anything revolutionary, but it looks passable. I don’t think it will surpass iTunes or any of the other heavy hitters in the online music industry, but it should stick around a little longer than any of Microsoft’s previous attempts at the industry.