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Microsoft launches Xbox Music – what you need to know

Computing giant Microsoft has revealed that it is rolling out its new music streaming service, Xbox Music on Xbox 360 consoles this week.

The all-in-one music service, which will also feature on Windows 8, Windows RT PCs and tablets and on mobile phones at a later date, will give users the chance to stream custom-created playlists for free.

The cloud-based service will also include a global catalogue of 30 million tracks that is set to put it on a par with iTunes.

Xbox Music will also give users the choice of subscribing to access the music of their choice or downloading their favourite songs to own. Here’s what we can expect from the service.

Xbox Music features

Users can enjoy on-demand access to tens of millions of songs for free on all Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets and PCs.

The Xbox Music Pass will also allow for unlimited access to a catalogue of songs, with unlimited playback of any track for a subscription charge of £8.99 per month across tablets, PC, phone and Xbox 360.

For those who want to purchase a single track or entire album across a Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet or PC and Windows Phone 8, the Xbox Music Store provides a comprehensive store of mp3s for purchase.

The Smart DJ feature also allows users to personalise their collection by creating a new form of artist-based radio, where users can play instant mixes based on their favourite artists.

Xbox Music: Additional features coming soon

In the coming year, cloud storage will take users beyond the catalogue of 30 million tracks, and allow them to add their music collections, including those acquired through other services, to their Xbox Music cloud catalogue.

Social features will also be added to the service at a later date, giving users the chance to share music experiences with friends and family.

Xbox Music will be available on all Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets and PCs and on Windows Phone 8 smartphones, and form part of the 2012 console update for Xbox 360.

Free streaming on Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets and PCs launches on 26 October in 15 markets worldwide.

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