The new music service that Microsoft is the beginning stages of negotiating would provide tunes to Xbox and Windows Phone, with a possible launch date of later this year, according to CNET, which cited sources with knowledge of the talks. CNET says it’s unclear how the new music service would differ from the Zune Music Pass.
The Zune Music Pass, which requires a monthly subscription, currently provides streaming and downloadable music accessible through Xbox 360 (streaming only and requires Xbox Live Gold subscription.), Windows Phone, PCs and over the web.
The Zune Music Pass has outlived its hardware brethren — the Zune player — which was killed by Microsoft last year.
CNET reporter Greg Sandoval believes the new music service is a move by Microsoft to upgrade its music store to better serve mobile devices.
The Verge sees it as a move to use “the Xbox Live branding across Xbox, Windows Phone, and Windows on the desktop” and says that “Microsoft intends to re-launch the music service as a simpler, easier to understand, and better integrated offering that is described as very similar to Spotify.”
Microsoft declined to comment.