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Microsoft Developing Spotify-Esque Music Service?

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The gradual removal of the Zune branding from Microsoft’s service has sparked speculation over how Microsoft will replace the service, if at all. Rumors from tech and video game Web sites The Verge and Kotaku claim Microsoft is developing a new service, called the “Xbox Music Center.”

Job openings for a Paris-based development team call for applicants to help build “a massive catalog of music content from multiple vendors and development of innovative users interfaces for music consumption on Xbox Live, Windows, mobile phones and the web.”

Job listings in March also recruited for a Musiwave subsidiary, acquired by Microsoft in 2007. Both listings are recruiting for “Team Xbox Live Music.”

The Verge reported on April 25 the music service will be called “Woodstock,” and will be unveiled at E3 2012 (probably during Microsoft’s conference, which begins 5:30PM PT on Monday, June 4). It will also be a cross-platform service for iOS, Android and Windows Phone users and will rival Spotify in functionality. Microsoft already offers the Zune Pass, a music subscription service that allows unlimited streaming. Windows 8 will come with a 30-day free trial.

Spotify doesn’t offer in-browser streaming, instead using its dedicated app for browsing the music catalogue for free. Paid users don’t see advertisements and are not limited to the amount of tracks that can be streamed. The highest paid option offers perks such as unlimited streaming, and access to the mobile app, for $/£9.99 a month. $/£4.99 a month gets users unlimited streaming, but no mobile app or offline listening.

The service also won’t require browser plug-ins, and will offer Facebook integration with the ability to build playlists and share tracks and friends. The Verge added it will use a “scan and match” service to identify existing music collections.

The references to an “Xbox Music Center” were made in LinkedIn profiles, and Microsoft has a job posting in Paris for a program manager for “Team Xbox Live Music.

Woodstock, or the Xbox Music Center, is expected to release later in 2012 alongside Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices.

Original Source: Mobile & Apps

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