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Microsoft launches ad-funded Xbox Music audio streaming

Consoles, Win 8 kit even iDevices to be covered

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Having failed to take on Apple and win in the music download business, Microsoft is hoping it can dominate - or, at least, stay relevant - with a streaming offering, this one free to users - provided they’re willing to accept advertising.

With a library extending to some “tens of millions” of tracks in a catalogue claimed to be “on par with iTunes”, Xbox Music makes "more than 30 million songs" available to stream to Windows 8 computers, tablets and phones, and to Microsoft’s games console free of charge.

Advertising-phobes are invited to pay £9 a month for uninterrupted access. They also get unlimited streaming.

Freetards will have the carrot of unlimited streaming dangled before them, but Microsoft's small print reveals it will be removed after six months.

Trailing music locker offerings from Apple and Amazon, Microsoft will next year offer punters the ability to ‘upload’ their music libraries to the cloud, no matter what the source of those files - Microsoft diplomatically refers to “other services”.

Microsoft said it will also bring Xbox Music to “other platforms in the coming year”, so expect iOS and Android apps to follow.

Xbox Music Pass - the subscription service - goes live tomorrow, Xbox Music today in 22 countries. ®

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