Tech Check: 30M songs, free for the streaming -

Tech Check: 30M songs, free for the streaming

HOUSTON—Microsoft Windows 8 comes out this Friday, and with it, a new music streaming service.

It’s called Xbox Music. In short, you can think of it as Netflix but for music.

Microsoft says it has a catalog of 30 million songs, and you can select any track you want to listen to or add to a play list. This makes it different from Pandora, which streams a mix of songs based on your preferences.

If you use the free version of Xbox Music, you’ll have to listen to a few ads now and then. Or you can pay $10 a month and get unlimited usage with no ads. You can also buy individual songs so you can play then on your device without an Internet connection.

Where does Windows 8 come in?

Xbox Music wasn’t made just for Xbox. You can use it on any Windows 8 device – from tablets, to smartphones and of course PCs.

Microsoft is attempting to capitalize off the success of its Xbox brand by centering the new music service around it. You’ll remember the company’s first attempt in the music world (Zune) didn’t turn out so well.

It’s clear Microsoft knows Windows 8 has to be successful, and for that to happen, it needs to have a setup that can compete against what Apple already has (iTunes, iPod, etc.).

What if you’re not a Microsoft fan? Here’s a quick look at three other popular online streaming services:

>> Pandora – it’s free on any platform, but you can’t select specific songs
>> Spotify – you can play specific songs free on a computer, but the mobile app costs $10/month
>> MOG – this one is very similar to Spotify, although with a different catalog of music

>> Click here to view Xbox Music's website


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