updated 10:15 am EDT, Wed April 25, 2012
Woodstock music to have Facebook link, more
Microsoft's restarted music plans will see them escape the platform and feature limits of the Zune Music Marketplace, according to new leaks. Tipsters for The Verge had the service, codenamed Woodstock, being available not just to Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox users, but Android and iOS as well. It would also be playable on the web, although without needing a plugin.
Past parallels to Spotify would be borne out by a deep integration with Facebook, a heavy Microsoft investment target. Spotify-style access would also give it unlimited music access, although there's purported to be an iTunes Match-style option to scan an existing track library and make the existing catalog accessible elsewhere. Zune Pass owners would reportedly either keep their existing subscriptions or transfer over.
The service would get an early look at the E3 trade show in June, but it wouldn't ship until closer to the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 launches that are expected in the fall. Although unstated, it's likely that the service would be heavily promoted as a complement to either of the new platforms. The introduction could be part of an E3 media briefing that would unusually focus little on on actual gaming, with content deals the focus.
Microsoft launched its initial Zune Music Marketplace as a complement to Zune hardware, in 2006. Its store never took off in significant form, however, either in per-track purchases or in subscriptions. The ultimate failure of the Zune devices themselves, along with relatively few advantages for most listeners, let Apple's iTunes largely stay out in front.