Microsoft on Monday launched Xbox Music for the Web.
Until now, Xbox Music was only available on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices, as well as the Xbox 360, but this update provides access via the browser at music.xbox.com.
There’s no free streaming option, however. You’ll need to purchase an Xbox Music Pass to start listening. Microsoft is offering a free, 30-day trial (when you provide credit card information). After that, it’s $9.99 for a one-month pass or $99.90 for a one-year subscription.
Xbox Music was unveiled at E3 2012 and made its official debut in October, shortly before the launch of Windows 8. The all-in-one music service lets music lovers dive into tunes as they see fit by streaming custom-created playlists as well as subscribing to and streaming songs.
Xbox Music leverages the cloud to integrate the music experience across all devices: phone, PC, TV, and tablet. It comes pre-installed as the default music player on all Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices, and is also available on the Xbox 360.
On Windows 8 devices and the console, users are limited to 10 hours of free streaming per month after six months; streaming time is unlimited with a paid Xbox Music Pass subscription. Access on the TV requires an Xbox 360.
In a video about Xbox Music, Microsoft said that our online music experiences are now “fragmented,” and “managing music has become hard.” Xbox Music, it said, meets users’ music needs across the tablet, phone, TV, and console.
At this point, however, only about 5.1 percent of Windows users are using Windows 8, according to recent stats from Net Applications, while even fewer are on Windows Phone 8. That’s up from 4.27 percent in May for Windows 8, but the OS is still struggling to pick up steam, so broadening the reach of Xbox Music beyond Windows 8 might help it expand.
Microsoft will release the first major update to Windows 8, dubbed Windows 8.1, later this year. For more, see PCMag’s hands on with the preview version released at last week’s Build conference.