A couple of weeks ago we heard that Microsoft was preparing to launch Xbox Music alongside Windows 8 on October 26.
Well, turns out that wasn’t quite right, as Microsoft fired out a meaty press release just a few hours ago, and the service – which we’re told has a catalogue “on par with iTunes” – begins rolling out today.
Xbox Music lands initially on – you guessed it – the Xbox 360, and is part of the 2012 console update. It'll join Windows 8 at launch in 11 days.
Key features of Xbox Music include free streaming for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, though that’ll be limited after the first six months.
An Xbox Music Pass, meanwhile, gives you unlimited, ad-free access to 30 million tracks. It’ll be $9.99 per month (UK pricing to be confirmed).
The Xbox Music Store also welcomes purchases of single tracks or entire albums, while Smart DJ “is a quick and dynamic way to personalize your collection, discover new favorites and create ultimate playlists by launching instant mixes based on your favorite artists.”
Cloud Storage for Xbox Music will follow “in the coming year”, and welcomes tracks acquired outwith Xbox Music.
Microsoft also confirms plans for “Platform Expansion”. The aforementioned rumour tipped Xbox Music for iOS and Android.
“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 Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business.
“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.”