Three years after debuting its Xbox Music streaming service, and almost exactly a year after CEO Satya Nadella announced a “streamlining” of its media offerings, Microsoft today announced that the service would now be known as Groove -- a word that “describes what people feel and do with music,” the company says.
In a blog post today (July 6), Microsoft explains that Groove will be available on Windows 10, Xboxes and smart phones (Android and iOS, though not at launch). The app, $9.99 or $99 a year, offers all the streaming standards -- radio play through a selected artist a la Pandora, playlists, and the standard gargantuan catalog -- and works with Microsoft’s cloud storage service OneDrive for MP3 access across devices.
The company has also rebranded its video content hub, from Xbox Video to the more-sensible “Movies & TV.”
Microsoft made the service subscription-only last October, days after Spotify’s announcement of a competitively priced family plan. As well, the relaunch of Xbox Music as Groove comes on the heels of Apple Music, launched last Tuesday by Apple and seen by many as a stout alternative to Spotify.