Zune was a brand and music service that never caught on and to say it was catching up is being extremely generous. Recently Microsoft killed off the stand alone Zune mp3 player and now with Xbox Music, a new music offering officially announced as part of their E3 keynote, they're killing off Zune all together. Maybe it feels like no one's talking about it because it only seems like a rebranding of the Zune service, but there are a few interesting things that may make you reconsider, or just take notice for the first time.
Microsoft announced that there will be over 30 million tracks available. This caught my eye because as of right now, Amazon and Apple are both still claiming "over 20 million" tracks for each of their services. 10 million additional songs from one of the last ranking music services is kind of crazy. Maybe Apple and Amazon have yet to update their count, or maybe Microsoft really does have a lot more songs, but either way it seems that if you're looking for it, it will be on Xbox Music.
Microsoft also announced that they had become the top video console maker in the world, moving up from the biggest in North America. That means that there's a good chance you own one of the many variations of the Xbox 360. Easily putting music in your living has been hit or miss and while Apple is moving in that direction with Apple TV, it's still far from beating out the Xbox. Xbox Music will be available on Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox initially, though the company seemed to hint that other platforms would also get a client for listening to music. That is a lot of devices that will have access and could lead to Microsoft coming out of nowhere to be a competitor in the music space. Who would have thought a few years ago that the Xbox would be a trojan horse for music, or that it could actually pull it off?
There are a whole lot of additional features [found here] that were briefly shown off that makes the service competitive not only with iTunes, but also Spotify and Rdio. It will be really exciting to see someone put Apple's feet to the fire on their home turf of music, once Xbox Music launches later this year. So, are people not more excited about this new music service because they aren't aware of it, or simply because that until Mircosoft proves they're serious about competing in the music space no one's holding their breath?