After failing to gain traction in the digital music market with its Zune player and service, Microsoft Corp. hits the reset button with the launch of a new music offering for the Xbox 360 game console, and smartphones and computers running Microsoft's new Windows 8.
Xbox Music debuts Tuesday on the game console, offering a combination of free music streaming, a subscription option that would allow users to download individual tracks or listen to songs without advertising, as well as a digital music store.
It will be available Oct. 26 on Windows 8-fitted computers and tablets, and later on Windows 8 smartphones. Microsoft announced its plans for a revamped digital music offering during the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles, effectively replacing the Zune with its better-known Xbox entertainment brand.
Xbox Music will compete with music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, Apple Inc.'s iTunes store and the Sony Entertainment Network, Sony's streaming music and movie service that runs on the PlayStation 3.