Is The Xbox Music Project Dead On Arrival?
Microsoft has recently come up with a service that allows you to handle all your music collection with one single app across as many platforms as you have that are working under the Microsoft license. The program, called Xbox Music, is a bundle of two services, the Xbox Music Pass and the Xbox Music Store. The latter is pretty self-explanatory and the only relevant thing to add about it is that it allows you to pay with money and not Microsoft points. The Xbox Music pass has both a free version and a paid subscription of $10. The free version will allow you to stream about 18 million songs if you leave in the US and can go as high as 30 million songs in the global market.
Of course the free version is not permanent and will most likely last for only the first 6 months of use, after which you will have to move up to the paid version. However many users will probably opt to go pro from the first month simply because the free version only works on PCs and Tablets using Windows 8 and you need to upgrade in order to be able to stream music over your smartphone or Xbox.
However Xbox Music was designed to be the exclusive service lunched with Windows 8 and that means there is no cross platform support for it. In face you won’t be able to use the service on any system running Windows 7 or even 7.5. So Microsoft is really playing for the end game with this lunch is counting on really making money on the system a few years from now when Microsoft 8 will have been adopted by most PC users that are now using Windows 7.
The problem is that, the way things look today, Windows will not own that much of the mobile market even in 10 years from now. So the system may be great and, as is the case with almost every Windows product, as long as you accept its limitation, it does work great. And even in this situation there is a problem with syncing hard drive based songs to the phone and it will take you a bit of effort in the beginning to learn how to navigate the program. The biggest problem, though, is the fact that most people today like to stream music over their phone more often than they use their PCs or tablet PCs.
So the Xbox Music may be the perfect choice for listening to music under Windows 8 but the only question will be just how many systems will you be using working on this particular platform. For PC users, yes, it is probably the future, but for smartphone users, unless Microsoft adds in a cross platform module, they are probably going to lose a lot of their customers to other services. And obviously Zune users are going to migrate naturally to the Xbox Music but except for them there isn’t really anything about the software that will get users to abandon their favourite music streaming software in favour of the new Microsoft app.