Microsoft Launching Music Service With Windows 8

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is reportedly planning to launch an Xbox-branded, cross-platform music streaming service along with its new Windows 8 operating system.

Current expectations point to an unveiling of the new service at this year's E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) convention set for June, in Los Angeles.

Microsoft is calling its new service 'Woodstock' and promises to offer its customers many more features than the music service's predecessor, Zune Music Pass.

Rival Device Compatibility

While 'Woodstock' will have an Xbox branding, it will not be limited to the video game console. Rather, the music streaming service will be compatible with Windows Phone, as well as Android, iPhone and iPad.

By contrast, Zune Pass is available only on Windows Phone, PC and Xbox 360, significantly limiting its potential user base.

Another difference for the new music service will be an upgrade on the "scan and match" option (comparable to iTunes Match). Here, users can scan their music libraries to seek songs already stored in their database.

The upgrade for 'Woodstock' will reportedly make it easier for individuals to listen to their personal music collections while using the mobile app.

There are also rumors of Facebook integration, which would enable users to create playlists and share them with friends. (Source:

Woodstock to Debut with Windows 8

Although it's expected to be unveiled in June at E3, Microsoft's new music service may not actually be released until a few months later.

Many experts believe that the Redmond, WA-based company will launch its new music service alongside its upcoming Windows 8 and new Windows Phone 8 mobile platform, later in 2012. (Source:

Consumers who already have a Zune Pass account will likely be able to transfer their existing subscriptions to the new music service when it launches.

Regardless of the launch date, however, a big question looms in many observers' minds: How much will it cost to use the new Microsoft music streaming service?

The company currently charges $10 a month (or $100 a year) for its Zune Pass service. Experts suggest consumers should expect Woodstock to stay relatively close to this price point.

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