Microsoft has announced plans to shut down the free version of its music streaming service Xbox Music Pass in December. The ad-supported free version, which is essentially Microsoft’s attempt to compete with Spotify, will be retired so that Xbox Music can “deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers,” according to a FAQ page regarding the shift.
Currently the free service is available on Windows 8, 8.1 and over the Internet. After Dec. 1, however, free users will no longer be able to listen to those millions of songs or create playlists or collections without a paid subscription. Worried about your meticulously curated playlists? Microsoft insists they will still be visible — you’ll just need to pay-up to play them.
Microsoft also notes that the retirement of the free Pass will not impact songs purchased through Xbox Music or personal MP3 files users have added to their Xbox Music collection. Xbox Music Pass costs $9.99/month and includes unlimited ad-free streaming on all devices, offline listening, and access to Pandora-like (i.e., customized) radio stations and thousands of music videos.
The news comes days after streaming giant Spotify unveiled a deeply discounted family pricing plan that aims to bring users of its free, ad-supported version to the paid subscription side.