By Jonathan Charles | Jun 29, 2012 11:40 AM EDT
Xbox Music - the service for streaming music coming to Xbox 360s and Windows Phones - will launch later in 2012, according to anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg. The source also said Microsoft will offer an iTunes-esque store, complete with monthly and yearly subscription models.
Microsoft is in talks with record companies ahead of the 2012 launch; specifically, Microsoft is talking to Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music and EMI.
The sources added monthly and yearly subscriptions fees will be available, similar to free and subscription-based streaming service Spotify, and music will be available through an online store.
Zune, which the service will replace, offers a Zune Pass for unlimited streaming and downloads in exchange for a monthly fee. That service is still available as of writing, despite the Zune being all but dead, so it remains to be seen how those customers transition to Xbox Music in practice.
"Current Zune customers will become Xbox Music customers and will have access to everything they love today, and more ... [W]e will share more details closer to launch", Microsoft said on the Xbox Music FAQ page.
"The company is also seeking to offer Xbox Music users an online locker accessible by multiple mobile devices running Windows 8 ... Users could put entire collections online, including music purchased elsewhere, for a monthly or annual fee," the sources added.
Apparently there's no guarantee Microsoft will gain the rights, but it sounds like the service will go ahead regardless. Microsoft announced the service June 4, and said more announcements would come "soon."
Microsoft announced the service during the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo, June 4, without record deals signed. Amazon took a similar approach to Amazon Music, but has continued to offer tracks and launch apps on other platforms.
The sources added Microsoft needs to sign deals with record companies if more music is to be available than on Zune.
"When we launch, Xbox Music will bring you a world-class online music library, and great new ways to enjoy, share and discover new music. We will release Xbox Music on Xbox 360, Windows Phones, and Windows 8 PCs and tablets," Microsoft outlined.
For a preview of Xbox Music, check out the video below:
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