Xbox Music and free streaming coming on October 26th

It looks like the 26th will be a major day for Microsoft as Windows 8 gets released, Surface RT tablets reportedly go on sale, third-party Windows 8 Pro tablets become available, Holiday Stores open and new services launch.

That last one is the focus here with Xbox Music aka Zune Music for days of yore. As of right now, most of the core of Xbox Music looks to be just a re-brand of the current Zune offerings but Microsoft is building off of it. Some of those new features that will come with the launch is a free, ad-supported music streaming service and utilizing SkyDrive for playlists with cloud storage of music.

Those services will be available across multiple devices e.g. Xbox 360, Windows 8 PC and Windows Phone, though it is unclear just how current Windows Phone 7 devices will take advantage of them. Windows Phone 8 is well known to support cloud storage of Xbox Music and other features, but Windows Phone 7 is still hard-coded for Zune.

Speaking of, once again we’ll reiterate that if you have Zune Pass, as of now nothing is changing to your service or offerings. In fact, you will just gain some features like cloud storage.

Source: the Verge

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Cool
  • Do you need an XBox to use this free streaming service?
  • xbox, windows phone or a pc running windows with the zune (soon to be xbox music) app/program
  • So when I get my 8X from tmo next month I'll have access to this service even though I don't own an XBox or pc?
  • That's what it sounds like.
  • I wonder if mobile will support ad-supported streaming too, that would be pretty big
  • Nokia streaming is free on Lumia. Another reason to go with Nokia devices.
  • The only thing with Nokia music is its kinda like Pandora and stations u can't pick which sing u want to hear like Zune pass
  • You can search for Artists and put in up to three of them to compile a mix of up to 50 songs. I think you can also search for a specific song.
  • If that is the case I am absolutely buying my WP8 off contract so that I can keep my unlimited data plan!!!
  • If you are on AT&T you can keep your unlimited data even if you sign 2yr agreement. They don't make you change just because you upgrade to get the subsidized price. Don't know about the other carriers tho.
  • I hope a lot more details becomes available prior to release. Past experience makes me think it'll end up being a quick switch without much warning.
  • Nice, looking fwd to it.. Now im just hoping that they add movies/videos to the marketplace and allow me to stream my purchased movies across all platforms automatically
  • +1
  • This. I bought The Avengers through the marketplace.  I can watch on Xbox and with my Zune software but I want to be able to access from any device. :)
  • They are creating xbox video, so maybe they will bundle the 2 as a second subscription option
  • Is there any limitations to the current Zune pass or coming Xbox music in Canada vs. The USA?
  • As a long time Zune Pass user, I never got the email that folks talked about on the removal of features. I have WP7 until Feb, I just would like to be able to get 7.8 and windows 8 and be in sync.
  • OMG, I can't believe they would do this to Nokia. This wipes out Nokia music. Oh no, this isn't right.
  • Well Nokia better start making android phones tomorrow.
  • I guess you missed the "/sillysarcasm"
  • I'm pretty sure he was being sarcastic too.
  • I thought Munkey was also being sarcastic.
  • I was. I didn't tag it though, so my bad.
  • will it be available in germany?????
  • I'm a Zune Pass subscriber and I still have the 10 free downloads per month plan. I fear that will be snatched away soon. I'm also a Nokia user, so the ad free Nokia Music will continue to be my streaming option. I dont think an ad supported system will allow for downloaded song and albums to replicate the Zune subscription, but we'll see.
  • The only pitfall of Nokia music is the variety. It's great for a while but sizzles out with repetition. Just like Pandora.
  • Still need to find out about Zune Hardware support
  • This completely. I'm using my Zune HD right now. Microsoft answers hasn't answered this question, Zune support on twitter has answered it, even google yields no clues. You guys at wpcentral have any idea or heard anything lately on this?
  • WPCentral and others have been reporting that MS is at least interested in making their own phones for next year. This adds a little bit of hope for a pmp counterpart.
  • Any word on some possible expansion; new countries, maybe?
  • We'll probably hear about it Oct 26th.
  • I like these updates to the service. Looks like I may dip my toe into the xbox music ecosystem.
  • This seems like a counter for Nokia's music app. This really evens the playing field for HTC and Ativ. One big plus of Nokia's phone was exclusive apps like music and drive among others. Now that Drive will be available to all WP8 devices and with this Xbox music service coming, 2 big Nokia exclusives are wiped out. I was pretty set on L920 for music app but now...i don't mind having some ads now and then. 8x is looking more attractive. Tough decision. Also with ability to store music onto SkyDrive makes the 8x's lack of storage less of a problem.
  • Considering xbox music costs $100 a year and Nokia music is free I have a hard time believeing it wipes out the advantage. Why wouldnt zune music pass wipe out the advantage?
  • Well if you read the article you would have read about the free streaming service. So it being free, just like Nokia music, then nokia's advantage is gone.
  • Nokia Drive+ for Nokia is supposed to be more than Nokia Drive for WP,
  • Yeah I heard about the drive+. My point is a lot of people, myself included, were looking at Nokia for the exclusive apps but it seems like some of those exclusive apps will have comparable counterparts for all WP8 OEMs. Right now my Nokia drive works great. Don't know what more Drive+ will offer but excited to find out. With 8x rumored to be around $99-$149 price range and with comparable apps and specs some people may change their minds and get the 8x. I am probably getting the L920, my brother has an upgrade available on one of his lines and is letting me use it.
  • Cool
  • Awesomeness!!!
  • Like others have said, I just want my ZuneHD to still work.  I can't see why it wouldn't... maybe a quick update to the software on board to rebrand it as well.   I care not as long as it works. :)
  • I'll have to wait & see what countries are supported. MS doesn't have a good record of making this available outside of US, if the Zune is anything to go by.
  • Daniel , just so that I understand. From what this article is stating is that we won't have to pay the $99 yearly pass?
  • $99 pass is for downloading/renting of music. The streaming part is free and ad-supported and should not require the Pass/$99 fee, although it may require a Gold Pass from Xbox.  Obviously, details are scare ;)
  • Funny you mention that, Daniel. The first thing that came to my mind when I read the post was: "No way free music streaming will come to the Xbox without a Gold subscription." I mean, you need the dang Gold subscription to watch Netflix, which you are already paying for (my biggest peeve about Xbox, btw).
  • Thanks for making as clear as it can get. I don't mind the $99 fee as I download a variety of music and have built a nice library of 3 terabytes of music. Just waiting on the Lumia 920 and the surface tablet and I will be all good!
  • Wait, so the only differences are that streaming will be free and easier to do? I can stream music with my Zune pass either with smart DJ or going through the marketplace. Granted I can't do this often cuz of lack of connection here in the rocky mountain foothills.
    Second I wish they had an Xbox media/entertainment Pass with music, videos, and Gold subscription included, I'll would like it to be $25-$30. That would be sweet.
  • Another reason for a Note sized Nokia device. Build it and they will come. I will at least.
  • iTunes Match is $25 a year to stream/download your own music. This sounds like that same idea, but again also like Pandora.
    If it was part of Xbox Gold, isn't that saying well what you were paying before wasn't value, now this is the real value for the same $60 ?
    That price to access Netflix is just wrong anyway. Nowhere else charges to access Netflix.
    Apple charges $25 a year, Amazon charges around the same. It can't be anymore expensive.
    What about your Sky Drive Storage ? Like myself, I have the 25 GB, but most just have the 7 GB ?
    Lots of questions, again MS being silent. This silent treatment is risky. Developers need the SDK now!!!  The iPad Mini is going to steal the Surfaces coverage as well. You need to pounce now with the media!!!
  • Itunes match is where you put your own songs in the cloud and you can stream them from anywhere. This aloows you to get all 20 million songs streamed to your device thats why it costs more. Its better to compare it to spotify.
  • Isn't it 30 million songs?
  • Daniel,
    Is there support for offline playlists in Xbox Music (ad-supported)?
    That is extremely important to me because there is no wifi at my job. Nokia Music's offline support was one of the reasons I was leaning toward the Lumia 920.
  • Maybe the 7.8 update will change Zune to XBOX Music, which would explain the delay.
  • Like this idea, but please don't take away my Zune Pass with 10 purchases a month away. I love that I can switch devices and be able to use it on other devices if needed. I hope the Xbox Video has some interesting features.
  • I would like to say to my Swedish comrades that there is i % that we might be om the Xbox music train. If so, its a huge change for us, for a nation that really loves music....and have next to none online stores. If this happens, I think I will never wine again on MSFT....exept that it took em forever and ever. Source? Sorry, can't tell and can't confirm wish way it will go, but there is....some indications on it.
  • If it's free, it's for me.
  • What are the chances it's going to keep the podcast functionality my zune has? Like, is this replacing the zune software or is it in addition ot it?
  • There are several free music services, Microsoft's not hurting Nokia. If they were with android only, they would be having the same problem. They might want to try android also, but they still have great phones and services to compete with...
  • It may add another option is the states, but I dont know if Xbox Music is available there, so Nokia still will have plenty of users. Nokia also is bringing many apps to their device others won't have immediately. I'm considering waiting to see if MS offers a phone in December/January before upgrading, but I will buy one L900 & two 8X devices for family members. So, guess what this means, my money will be spread out across all manufacturers so the Nokia should go to Android chatter should STOP because just like my buying a variety of WP phones, so will others.