In a refreshed effort to focus on music streaming services, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) plans on dropping the free version of Xbox Music on December 1st.
Microsoft makes changes to compete
Microsoft will continue to offer Xbox Music Pass, an unlimited ad-free music streaming service that starts at $10. Although the company did not mention why it was dropping the free option, it did claim, “We are focusing Xbox Music to deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers. Xbox Music Pass, you have access to millions of songs on your PC, tablet, Xbox, phone and the web.”
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Xbox Music was initially launched in 2012 to replace Zune. This product was designed for users to purchase, store, and stream music. This music service has been accessible through personal computers and mobile devices. The one problem with the PC version is the fact it was limited to Windows 8 and 8.1.
Streaming music is the future
The bigger picture shows Xbox Music faced stiff competition from other big streaming services such as Pandora, iTunes Radio, and Spotify. Most streaming services already offer a free and paid premium option. Spotify already announced plans to roll out family share plans that allow users to have separate playlists and recommendations for one low monthly price. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) hopes to cut the monthly fee for its newly acquired Beats Music. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) even unveiled Prime Music service last summer.
There is even more competition coming in the near future. Global music service Deezer is set to expand in more countries including the United States. What sets this service apart from rivals is that it is tackling the diverse U.S. market in smaller increments and work its way to getting a larger part of the market. With so many offerings from various companies on the market right now, it seems like a smart approach.