Microsoft Prepares 'Woodstock' Streaming Service

Program will be more social, link to Xbox Live

xbox live music
Courtesy Microsoft/XBox Live
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Microsoft is getting ready to give users a sneak peek at their new music streaming service at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, according to insider sources cited by the Verge. The new service, code-named "Woodstock," will be a replacement to the sagging Zune brand and will be more closely linked with Xbox Live.

Microsoft has been looking to revamp their music streaming offerings for quite some time, initially considering a direct Spotify competitor. However, Woodstock will not require a plugin; instead, the cross-platform streaming service will be playable via browser on Windows 8, Google Android, iOS and Xbox. The main similarity to Spotify is that Woodstock will also have a deep integration with Facebook, making it more social than Zune by allowing friends to create and share playlists.

 Also similar to iTunes Match, Woodstock is being tested to come equipped with "scan and match" features that will allow users to identify and categorize their music collection.

Woodstock sounds ready to follow in line with the company's new entertainment content strategy and the phasing off of the Zune brand. Last October, Microsoft stopped producing the Zune MP3 player. "Going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy," a company rep said in a statement.

Although Woodstock is expected to make a splash this summer at E3, the product won't be available until later in the year, in conjunction with the launch of the new Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Pricing has not been revealed, though current Zune Pass subscribers will likely be able to retain their plan when they move on to Woodstock.

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