Stream this: Microsoft rolling out Xbox Music service

Will Microsoft — post-Zune — finally succeed in the music world? The company will stream music for free on its popular Xbox game console, plus computing devices running Windows 8, it announced today. The service will roll out to Xbox users beginning Tuesday.

The service, called Xbox Music, could threaten rival streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora. Shares of Oakland-based Pandora were down sharply on the news, off more than 3 percent to $9.08 as of this post. It also will compete with Apple‘s iTunes, which does not offer free streaming. Not yet, anyway. There have been reports that Apple is in talks to add streaming to its offerings.

Microsoft’s trying to cover all the bases: Xbox Music will also offer music downloads, as well as a streaming subscription option. In addition, Microsoft told the New York Times it plans to make the service compatible with Android smartphones and Apple’s iPhone. Microsoft says users will have access to a catalog of 30 million songs worldwide; Apple tells the Wall Street Journal it has more than 26 million songs. lists another key reason Microsoft may have finally found its music match: It’s offering an all-in-one music solution. “If you subscribe, all of your stuff (including previous MP3s) will be on all your platforms, thanks to the cloud, with the option to download songs to local storage.”


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