Groove Music is Microsoft's streaming digital music service. It offers ad-supported and subscription streaming options to users on all major platforms are the globe. It launched officially alongside Windows 10 in July 2015.
Groove doesn't make any changes to the core service that was Xbox Music. Microsoft determined that having Xbox in the branding was confusing to consumers, since there was no requirement to have an Xbox console to use it. Apps are now available on Windows 10, Android and the Xbox One as well as the web. The remaining Xbox Music apps will be replaced at a later date.
Xbox Music was the follow-up to Microsoft's Zune products. Zune was a brand that consisted of digital media products and music services for Microsoft. Zune was started in late 2006. The Zune brand consisted of media players, a music marketplace, desktop software and more. Microsoft discontinued development of Zune hardware in March 2011, the brand itself didn't have much longer. The end was the October 2012 when Microsoft transitioned and replaced Zune products and services with Xbox Music.
Xbox Music went public on October 16, 2012 in the same launch window as Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. Xbox Music became the new music player within Windows Phone 8 and replaced the previous Zune branding. On Windows 8, consumers had an Xbox Music app that was met with lackluster reviews and plagued by poor performance. The Xbox Music app was improved dramtically with the launch of Windows 8.1. Whi
The Groove Music catalogue is extensive and has something for everyone. Customers in the United States have access to over 18 million tracks, while the global catalogue offers up over 38 million tracks.
Users can buy albums and songs ala carte, but free-streaming and subscription options are available. Consumers are able to access an ad-supported free stream of Xbox Music content through the Windows 8 app and through the web browser player. It's currently available in 15 countries with no restrictions on music listening time for the first six months. After six months, the limit is set to the hours of free streaming available.
The Groove Music Pass is the subscription service that gives users access to the entire catalogue. It's available in 22 countries and retails for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year.
Other components of the Groove Music platform include Radio, a music store and more. The Groove Music Radio feature allows users to get playlists based off of a music artist. The Xbox Music Store is where users can buy and outright own single tracks or albums.
An API was announced for Groove Music in December 2013. Microsoft then announced full access to the catalog and streaming for developers using the Groove Music API. This move will enable developers to build their own music appliations around the Xbox Music library.
Countries with support for Groove Music include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.
Groove/Xbox Music is available on Windows Phone, Windows 8, Xbox One, Xbox 360, web, Android and iOS.