London: Microsoft has unveiled its Xbox Music that will be available for its Xbox game consoles on Tuesday.
The service will be expanded to Windows software-based computers and tablets, including the upcoming Surface tablet, from 26 October, when Microsoft launches Windows 8. It will be expanded to phones shortly after that.
The new service will have a 30 million-song catalog that will challenge European subscription music service Spotify.
The company has been trying for years to make the household living room an entertainment hub with its Xbox. More than 67 million units have been sold since 2005.
About 18 months ago, the company realized that Xbox users were spending half to 60 percent of their time on entertainment services rather than video gaming, Xbox Music general manager Jerry Johnson said.
The market-leading video game console already streams Netflix, ESPN and other channels and is bolstering its service with music and other video content.
“We also realize, as an entertainment company, that music is an important ingredient on its own and as a part of different user experiences,” Johnson said.
Free streaming will be available on Windows 8 and Windows RT machines, while Xbox and Windows Phone users can purchase an Xbox Music Pass for $9.99.
It has cloud-storage features similar to iTunes and Amazon Cloud Player and an artist-based radio function like music streaming services Pandora and Spotify.
Xbox Music will be available in 22 countries. Microsoft hopes to take the service to Apple iOS and Google Inc Android devices next year.