Xbox Music is taking a page from Spotify’s book. The service is now free for all users over the web, and mobile apps launched for both iOS and Android today.
Windows 8 users have enjoyed free streaming for some time now, but with this new move Microsoft hopes to reign in paid customers. Similar to (or exactly like) Spotify’s business model, Xbox Music will be free to stream over the web, while the mobile app will require a paid subscription. You can purchase an Xbox Music Pass for $10 a month or $100 a year when paid in full. Web streaming will be completely free and unlimited for six months; access becomes more limited after that.
While Microsoft is obviously emulating Spotify and Rdio in this endeavor, Xbox Music still lacks much of the functionality that makes those services appealing. Currently, the mobile app does not provide the ability to play tracks offline, although Microsoft claims that feature will be added “in the coming months.” Xbox Music also doesn’t allow users to link out to tracks. And according to recent user reviews, catalog browsing and automated playlist creation, as seen in Google Music, are conspicuously absent.
If you’re interested in giving Xbox Music a try, download the app using the market package below. It’s free to try for 30 days.