Microsoft (News - Alert) is replacing its Zune brand of digital music with Xbox Music, which it hopes will more effectively compete with Apple’s (News - Alert) iTunes and Amazon’s Cloud Player. As the name implies, the new digital media brand will be available for Xbox game consoles in addition to computers and tablets utilizing Windows 8 operating systems. Xbox Music will become available first to console owners on October 16, while it will become available to other consumers on October 26.
The new brand will center on the game console, which has sold more than 67 million units since its introduction in 2005. Microsoft is utilizing this platform due to the widespread use of the console for purposes other than video games. Almost 60 percent of time spent using the Xbox is now geared towards entertainment outside of video games.
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The selection that Microsoft will offer consumers will include more than 30 million songs, which will surpass the 26 million that Apple offers through iTunes. Xbox Music will also offer free music streaming that will be supported by ads, in addition to a premium service that will charge subscribers $9.99 per month.
Xbox Music should become available in 22 countries at the outset. There are also plans to make it available on phones with Android (News - Alert) and Apple iOS operating systems in 2013.
Present Zune music subscribers will be able to transfer their membership to Xbox Music. PCs and tablets operating on Windows 7 will not have access to Xbox Music. Although, Windows 7 users may have access to a music system that possesses Zune-like features, they will not be able to utilize all of the features that Xbox Music will offer.
Edited by Brooke Neuman