Is Microsoft Preparing A New Music Service?

More than once in the past I’ve talked about how I feel that Zune Media Player and the services it leverages, could be very important both for Windows 8.

With Zune you have a rental system, a multimedia purchase system, and the Zune Music Pass that allows unlimited streaming songs for a fairly low cost. While Zune hardware died more than a year ago now, Zune has lived in as its found a way over to the Xbox, PCs, and even Windows Phone as a media player that has some pretty interesting features.

Of course, Microsoft apparently doesn’t seem content with what Zune has to offer anymore, at least if rumors prove true. Redmond has begun talks with major record companies to create a brand new music service. Supposedly it would be better suited for multiple platforms like Windows 8, WP, and Xbox. The launch date of the service might be later this year, possibly even coinciding with the Windows 8 launch (which would actually make a great deal of sense).

So why make this change now when they already have a system in place? There could be many reasons I suppose. First off, do you really want to push a music/video service under the name of product that has clearly failed in the eyes of its consumers? Zune failed, whether you liked it or not.

By keeping the Zune branding, MS might seem less attractive since its movie/music service is associated with the failed iPod competitor. On the other hand, MS could easily just change the name of its Zune service to something else without renegotiating terms.

More likely they feel like it is time for a new, improved model that will be easier to use, going back to the drawing board. Whether or not this will be music only, or will see video integration too, remains unseen.

So what do I expect out of this alleged new service? While its too early to say for now, maybe services that are more like spotify? Additionally, I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a Pandora-like system as an option to find new and different music.

My biggest problem with finding new music is that I have to use multiple resources. I own Zune’s Media Pass actually. I enjoy the program. At the same time I use Pandora to find new music that is like what I already enjoy. And then there is the radio…

If MS could offer radio stations, an improved Pass system, DRM-free content, and even Pandora-like functionality? I would have less need for multiple different services just to find new music that matches my taste.

Regardless of what form this ends up in, you can pretty much bet money that if this rumor proves true, it will likely end up as launch or near-launch app for Windows 8’s Metro interface.

So what do you think? Does MS need a new music/video service or is their current offering just fine? Share your thoughts below.

  • http://twitter.com/digitalsyrup Digital Syrup

    I think I might be one of the few that subscribes to the Zune Music Pass. I use it on my 360 and with my wife’s Zune as well.

    I have a problem with TWO separate places for media on the 360. Zune for music and “Video Marketplace” (*yawn* how generic) for movies.

    Accessing media means having to load each app separately and it takes a couple minutes to drop in and out of them. It would be nice to have it all under one roof.

    As far as the Zune Pass goes, I would pay a little extra to get unlimited streaming (a la Netflix) of the content in the Video Marketplace. There’s a few titles which are in the VM for rent or purchase but are included in my Netflix subscription. It would be awesome to get quick new release content and older content with a revamped Zune subscription service.

    If Microsoft can pull off an ALL IN ONE service, all the power to them!