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Microsoft: New music service on Xbox Live?

April 25, 2012 | 11:58 am

Zune Pass

Microsoft Corp. is reportedly rehearsing for the launch of a new digital music service for its Xbox Live platform and elsewhere that could be announced at E3, set to take place in Los Angeles in June. 

The possibility, first reported in The Verge, would replace the Zune Music Pass service that Microsoft currently offers in favor of a more versatile service that would be available on more devices and platforms, including Facebook.

A Microsoft spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

Microsoft has worked hard in recent years to beef up Xbox Live, an online entertainment marketplace accessable via the Xbox 360 game console. The Redmond, Wash., technology giant has been adding movies, television shows and live sports events via agreements with Netflix, Comcast, ESPN and others.

But music has also quietly gained momentum on the platform. Earlier this week, the company forged a deal with Epitaph Records to stream an upcoming album from a Los Angeles punk band, Pennywise. Microsoft also offers on Xbox Live.

Last month the Microsoft said that for the first time since the Xbox 360 launched in 2005, time spent watching videos and listening to music on Xbox Live eclipsed the amount spent playing online games. More than 20 million people pay for the premium Xbox Live service, out of more than 66 million Xbox 360 consoles sold.


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Screenshot of Zune Pass music subscription service courtesy of Microsoft.

— Alex Pham