SkyDrive Cloud Music Streaming Service May Launch Soon

4 December 2012, 8:44 am EST By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

Microsoft has had limited cloud storage offerings compared to rival services from Google and Amazon, but cloud music streaming into SkyDrive could change that.

While the software giant has been somewhat late to the whole cloud party, new rumors suggest that it might be getting closer to catching up with competitors.

Rumors about a cloud music streaming service coming to SkyDrive have been circling the Web for some time, but a new LiveSide report claims that now it might actually come true. According to the report, Microsoft is gearing up to add a music player to its SkyDrive service.

In other words, the software giant is getting ready to release a cloud-based music locker. What would this mean? Those who have stored audio files on SkyDrive would now presumably be able to play those files from any browser or SkyDrive-friendly mobile app.

It remains unclear, however, how Microsoft would integrate its rumored service with its recently unleashed Xbox Music service. Xbox Music allows subscribers to listen to music on their gaming consoles or other devices and systems powered by Windows 8 or Windows RT. Users also have a "free" way to access the streaming tunes, but that depends by platform.

With the Xbox "free" music streaming, users cannot even access it without a paid-for Gold membership. Meanwhile, the Windows-based "free" streaming on Xbox Music offers unlimited streaming for the first six months, after which the user is limited to 10 hours of free, monthly music streaming.

When the company officially announced its Xbox Music service back in October, it also mentioned plans to offer a "cloud storage" option for Xbox Music users sometime in the future.

"Available in the coming year, a scan-and-match feature will take you beyond the 30 million tracks globally offered through Xbox Music," Microsoft touted at the time. "It will add all the music you own to your Xbox Music cloud catalog, including music acquired through other services. This means you can add almost any content you have to your personal Xbox Music collection, even if it's not available in the Xbox Music catalog."

It remains to be seen just how Microsoft would integrate or supplement its cloud-based music streaming on SkyDrive with Xbox Music. A cloud-based musical locker would nonetheless bolster Microsoft's position against rivals such as Amazon and Google, especially since SkyDrive apps are currently used on all major mobile operating systems.

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