Microsoft launches Xbox Music



Microsoft has launched a new digital music service, Xbox Music, which offers millions of songs

Music-loving gamers looking to give their thumbs a rest during an Xbox 360 session can now stream their favourite tunes via the console with a new digital music service.

Xbox 360

Xbox Music has already launched for Xbox 360 and will also become available via PCs, tablets and smartphones running Windows 8 after the operating system launches later in October.

Replacing Microsoft's Zune media service, Xbox Music offers 30 million tracks so it's likely you'll find something to fit the bill - whether you prefer listening to bubblegum pop or boys with grubby fringes, grubbier Converse trainers and jangling guitars.

The service offers a few options for listening. You can stream tracks for free - provided you don't mind adverts. But if you prefer listening to an album without any interruptions the premium service may be the answer. The Xbox Music Store means there's also an option to purchase and download those tracks you just have to own.

The service is being launched as research shows we're using our games consoles for more than, well, gaming. Last year Microsoft found Xbox owners spent more than half of their time on the console watching films and streaming TV rather than playing video games. Xboxers can already catch up on EastEnders or Match Of The Day on the iPlayer, or check out a movie with Netflix. All this suggests the Xbox is becoming a living room entertainment hub for many people, and now listening to the latest music has entered this dextrous multimedia fray.

"As an entertainment company, music is an important ingredient on its own and as a part of different user experiences," said Xbox Music general manager Jerry Johnson.

The service also goes big on personalising your music experience - providing recommendations based on your past listening and creating playlists and instant mixes. Musos can also swot up on the artists they like with discographies and other info at their fingertips. When you've got your listening tailored just so, you'll be able to access it across multiple devices once the service has launched across all platforms.

"The launch of Xbox Music is a milestone in simplifying digital music on every type of device, and on a global scale," said Microsoft's president of interactive entertainment business, Don Mattrick.