Microsoft Offering Xbox Music Service

Say goodbye to Zune and hello to Xbox Music.

Microsoft is launching a new digital streaming service to compete head on with Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Cloud Player and the slew of other services blanketing the music scene such as Rdio, Pandora and Spotify.

Current users of the Xbox in 15 markets worldwide, including the US and Canada, will have access to a 30-day free trial and roughly 30 million songs starting Tuesday, October 16th.

Xbox Music will be expanded to Windows software-based computers and tablets, including the upcoming Surface tablet, to coincide with the launch Windows 8 on October 26th. Service on phones will be added shortly after.

Besides the obligatory free ad-based service, a premium paid version called Xbox Music Pass, which includes offline access and unlimited ad-free streaming, is available for $9.99 a month.

Microsoft also plans to sell individual tracks in its Xbox Music Store.

Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, said: “The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device and on a global scale.”

Mattrick adds: “We’re breaking down the walls that fracture your music experiences today to ensure that music is better and integrated across the screens that you care about most – your tablet, PC, phone and TV.”

Apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad users are in progress but no release dates have been mentioned.

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