The nature of online music streaming services is shifting gradually, not to mention heating up as new contenders enter to compete with long-standing services, and reflecting that change is a new announcement from Microsoft: the free streaming aspect of Xbox Music will be going dark on December 1, leaving only the Xbox Music Pass subscription option. The company has preemptively posted responses to some anticipated questions in the form of FAQ, though it danced around answering the most pertinent inquiry: why?
According to Microsoft, it wants Xbox Music to “deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience”, and as part of that goal the ad-supported free streaming option has to go. Nothing more specific about the company’s motives behind the change have been stated.
Nothing will be changing for Xbox Music Pass subscribers, with that being available across just about any device you might own: Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices, to name a few. The company is hawking a free 30-day trial for those who will be stripped of their free-listening fix.
All purchased songs will remain, and nothing will happen to MP3s added to Xbox Music. With things like collections, playlists, and radio stations, however, they’ll remain up for viewing once the change happens, but won’t be playable without buying the music or an Xbox Music Pass.