After revealing it at E3 2012, Microsoft is rolling out the all-new Xbox Music service onto its Xbox 360 console today, October 15, and will soon bundle it with all Windows 8 devices, once the OS is launched on October 26.
Xbox Music is basically an overhauled version of the similar service Microsoft was offering under its Zune brand and is designed to compete directly with the likes of Spotify.
While initially rumored for a release later this month, alongside Windows 8, the Xbox Music service will be available later today, October 15, on the Xbox 360 home console, replacing the old Zune Marketplace.
The service practically consists of two parts: the Xbox Music Pass, which replaces the Zune one, and the Xbox Music Store, from where users can buy new tracks.
Xbox Music will have two tiers, consisting of a free one that’s limited to 10 hours per month and only for Windows 8-powered devices, and a premium one that costs $10 (€7.74) and allows unlimited streaming to all your devices, including the Xbox 360, provided you also have an Xbox Live Gold membership.
30 million songs will be available globally in the 15 markets Xbox Music will initially roll out, and 18 million in the U.S. What’s more, the tracks that will be available for streaming will blend in the Xbox Music player with the songs that the user already has on his or her device.
Check out the official list of Xbox Music features below.
Free music streaming
Every Windows 8 and Windows RT tablet and PC lets you stream music from one of the largest digital music catalogs on the planet….free. Listen for over 80 years and never hear the same song twice. Seriously. Try it.
Music should never be work. That’s why we’ve made it easy to discover new music with great features like Smart DJ, which creates custom stations based on your favorite artists.
Xbox Music Pass allows you to download songs to your device so that you can listen to all your favorite music whether you're sitting in your living room or stuck on a plane.
Xbox Music is cloud connected, automatically syncing your Xbox Music Pass collection and playlists across your tablet, PC, phone, and Xbox 360.
Create and Save Playlists
Easily create and save playlists so you have easy access to your favorite songs. With Xbox Music Pass, your playlists follow you and stay in sync across all your devices.
The Xbox Music Store gives you 24/7 access to one of the largest music catalogs on the planet with over 18 million songs. Buy full albums or just your favorite songs.
Xbox Music will be available at first on the Xbox 360, on Windows 8 PCs and Windows 8 RT tablets on October 26, as well as on the new Windows Phone OS. Apps for other devices, like iOS or Android ones, will be released in the following months.