It's terrible, but when something new and interesting is announced for Xbox LIVE we just assume it's not going to be released in Australia. So when we found out that, yes, Australians will be getting access to Xbox music — a cool new service that gives users access to 30 million songs and allows them to listen using mobiles, tablets, Xbox 360 and PC — we were actually blown away.
But it's happening. And it's happening very soon — October 26 to be precise.
"The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device and on a global scale," said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. "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."
But here is the strange part: for the first six months, it appears as though streaming this content will be free if you're using Windows 8 on PC but, much like the Spotify service, users will have to pay if they want to stream music on other devices — such as tablets, mobile or on Xbox 360.
That's right — despite the fact the service is actually called Xbox music, you have to pay for Xbox Music on your Xbox 360, but you can get it free on Windows 8 and Windows RT for the first six months. It's clearly a move designed to drive folks towards Windows 8, but it's strange nonetheless.
Xbox music launches in the US tomorrow, but Australians will have to wait until October 26 and the official launch of Windows 8. The Xbox Music Pass costs $11.95AU. Xbox Music will feature cloud storage, cloud stored playlists and the ability to share these playlists with family and friends.
It's an interesting move from Microsoft, but Xbox Music going up against a tough competitor in Spotify, a service that has become pretty ubiquitous in recent months. There's also the fact that Xbox Music is not compatible with Windows 7. With most users a bit lukewarm on Microsoft's new OS upgrade, we have a feeling this service might have difficulty gaining traction.