We come here today to pre-mourn the impending loss of Zune, a music service you may or may not remember. In its place, Microsoft is apparently planning to unveil a new streaming music service at the E3 conference in June, “sources familiar with the company’s plans” told The Verge.
Code-named Woodstock, it will reportedly be a cross-platform service that will be playable from a browser, with support for Windows 8, Android, iOS and Xbox 360. It will require no plug-ins and “integrate deeply with Facebook, allowing friends to build group playlists and share tracks.”
Don’t worry, Zune Pass subscriber, you’ll apparently be able to keep your subscription or switch over to the new service once it premieres. It will also apparently offer an iTunes Match-like “scan and match” feature that searches your computer for music you already have and makes it available in your streaming library.
Right now there are no details on price, but if the rumors pan out, the service might provide some nice competition to Spotify – especially if Microsoft can negotiate successfully with the major music labels. The fact that it will be playable from a browser will also be a big plus since Spotify, even with embedded tracks, requires you to download a desktop or mobile app.
This would also be yet another sign that Microsoft is serious about making the Xbox an all-in-one home entertainment device. With streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, and partnerships with Verizon and Comcast, Xbox owners already have a good alternative to their cable boxes. If this rumored music service takes off, it could provide an excuse for users to replace their home stereos as well.