Nearly a year after Microsoft brought Xbox Music to Canada on Windows Phone and Windows 8, the company is launching the $9.99/month music streaming service on iOS and Android.
The introduction coincides with a branding overhaul across all its platforms, simplifying terms, improving navigation and improving speed. As is customary for such events, Microsoft is also giving away six months of ad-supported streaming to web users; Rdio and Slacker Radio have the same deal.
With a single Xbox Music Pass, users can access 30 million songs on one of many platforms, including the upcoming Xbox One console and built into Windows 8.1. While there is little to differentiate the service from Canada’s favourite services like Rdio, Slacker Radio, Deezer and others, Microsoft’s ability to bring Xbox Music to nearly every possible display and screen size speaks to a well-integrated cross-platform strategy, at least on the Xbox side.
Features like Web Playlist create playlists out of all the music on a web page — a favourite music blog, perhaps — curating photos and concert information as well. Instant Mixes create mobile playlists out of a single favourite artist, while Radio streams similar artists to the one selected.
One feature still missing, but coming soon, is the ability to download songs for offline playback.
While the $9.99/month price tag may chafe a little, it’s now standard throughout the burgeoning streaming music industry, and goes towards paying artists a substantive amount of money.
If you happen to use a music streaming service, which one have you chosen? Xbox Music gives all users a 30-day trial, so go ahead and let us know how you like it.