Not only is Microsoft bringing their subscription-based Xbox Music to iOS and Android devices, but they're offering up a free, web-based streaming service (with a catch).
The Zune successor (remember Zune?) will bring cloud-based music to non-Windows 8 devices starting today, with Microsoft promising a library of 30 million songs for users to stream to their devices. The release comes as the Xbox Music service gets an overall update, ensuring there's parity in the content you get from it, meaning that songs that you buy will also be available for streaming while playlists will carry over across devices. This means, your Xbox Music service experience should theoretically be the same across your iPhone, Android tablet, and Xbox 360.
Next month, when Microsoft releases their Windows 8.1 update, Xbox Music will enable the cool-sounding Web Playlist feature, which will scan web pages that you're browsing for mentions or artist names (say, if you're looking at the page for a music festival) and create a playlist based on the results. The Windows 8.1 release will be available on October 18.
Xbox Music will also include a Radio feature which creates custom playlists based on your favorite artists, offering unlimited skips.
The one catch with the free streaming, available at http://music.xbox.com/, is that the free, ad-supported service will allow unlimited music for the first six months you use it, but will offer only a limited number of hours of free streaming after that trial period is up.
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