Microsoft set to launch Xbox Music with free unlimited streaming

Microsoft has launched Xbox Music, a digital music streaming service to take on Apple’s iTunes and other on-demand music services such as Spotify.

The service will let people stream music to their computer, phone andd games console. Xbox Music is set to launch this Tuesday on the XBox 360, and the service will reportedly come pre-installed on all Windows 8 tablets and computers, as well as Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

The firm hopes that my allowing people to access the same service on phones, computers and tablets, it can compete with Apple’s iTunes download service and Spotify’s streaming service.

Although this is seen as a step forward for the music industry, its appeal is limited by the expense of many mobile data plans. Most cost more the more data you use, which can make streaming music on cellular networks fairly expensive.

The free version of Xbox Music won’t let you download songs and save them for offline playback. That will require paying $10 a month.

The paid subscription is also required if you want to use Xbox Music on the Xbox 360 game console or on smartphones that use Windows Phone. On the game console, an Xbox Live Gold membership, which costs $60 a year, is also required.

“For local music files that you add to your library, Xbox Music sort of works like Google Play Music, with a bit of iTunes Match thrown in,” Wagner wrote. “It uses a ‘scan and match’ process to see if you’ve uploaded tracks that it has on file, and if it finds a match, you’ll be able to stream it from the cloud, even if it’s not available over XBM’s streaming service.”

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