Calm down, everyone - Xbox Music and Video are here to stay

Over the last 24 hours or so, some folks have been getting a bit worked up - or just plain hysterical in some cases - and stirring up rumors that Microsoft was preparing to pull the plug on its Xbox Music and Video services. Why? Well, it all stems from a couple of sentences dropped into Microsoft's earnings call last night by its CEO Satya Nadella. 

He said that with the company's "decision to focus on gaming, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios and streamline our investments in music and video. We will invest in our core console gaming in Xbox Live with a view towards the broader PC and mobile gaming opportunity." 

Some took this to mean that the end was nigh for Xbox Music and Video. Frankly, though, it's not that hard to understand why - the underlying implication there seemed to be that the company was planning to focusing less on these entertainment areas, and more on the gaming side of things. Nadella also referred to the imminent closure of the division responsible for producing original content for the Xbox platform in the same breath.

Nonetheless, some began to draw conclusions from comments that were really only painting a picture in very broad strokes, rather than dealing with real specifics. 

Today, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore clarified the company's position, and reaffirmed its commitment to Xbox Music and Video for those concerned that these services might be going to the great Recycle Bin in the sky: 

Additionally, Belfiore made it clear that the company is continuing development work on these services, and teased a major update on the way for Xbox Music: 

So there's no need to panic - take a deep breath and calm yourself with the knowledge that Xbox Music and Video are here to stay. And don't forget that, although the company isn't commissioning any new original shows, later this year, its new Halo live-action series, Nightfall, will be shown on Xbox Video. 

Source: @joebelfiore

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I don't blame anyone for freaking out about this.
Microsoft has been VERY unreliable lately and seems to be on a schizophrenic path of announce/cancel, product pulls and reversals. I'm holding off on purchasing ANY Microsoft products for a while until all of this madness, (which affects all of their product lines), settles down.

Defiantly said,
I don't blame anyone for freaking out about this.
Microsoft has been VERY unreliable lately and seems to be on a schizophrenic path of announce/cancel, product pulls and reversals. I'm holding off on purchasing ANY Microsoft products for a while until all of this madness, (which affects all of their product lines), settles down.


That's a fair enough position to take, but I just don't agree with it.

This particular issue was overblown by the tech media....AGAIN. This happens to many tech companies, but it seems like there is a target on the back of MS. They take quotes from execs and then blow it up way beyond the original wording.

As long as you take responsibility for looking into the stories, your going to realize that MS has not been haphazardly making decisions lately. There is a clear path that required resetting how the whole company works, including re-evaluating every section and eliminating some projects in the process.

So I wouldn't just give up on MS products because of how these stories come out. If you don't feel confident in their strategy, then I understand, but there is a strategy and MS is doing what it needs to do in order to adapt to the current market.

trooper11 said,


That's a fair enough position to take, but I just don't agree with it.

This particular issue was overblown by the tech media....AGAIN. This happens to many tech companies, but it seems like there is a target on the back of MS. They take quotes from execs and then blow it up way beyond the original wording.

As long as you take responsibility for looking into the stories, your going to realize that MS has not been haphazardly making decisions lately. There is a clear path that required resetting how the whole company works, including re-evaluating every section and eliminating some projects in the process.

So I wouldn't just give up on MS products because of how these stories come out. If you don't feel confident in their strategy, then I understand, but there is a strategy and MS is doing what it needs to do in order to adapt to the current market.

I hear what you're saying and I'm just leaning to a more cautious approach. Your right that the tech media loves these juicy stories (all media is entertainment, not "journalism") but there are numerous moves that MS has made lately that makes me this cautious.

I'm an XBOX guy. Always have been. I was SO excited at the announcement of the next gen system. Since launch they have backpedaled, changed paths and ultimately hobbled what their vision of the console was 'sold' to be. The XBOX One is the perfect example of the schizophrenia I'm pointing out.

That said, I really don't know MS's ultimate strategy. I Love my Xbox One, but I don't want to jump into another MS product that ultimately gets changed beyond recognition or gets dropped altogether. ...but, I understand that's a personal decision on my part.

The Zune Music pass was not the first, but it was fairly unique at the time. Spotify didn't quite have that range (in the UK). The Zune Music Pass was a big selling factor to me for the Windows Phone, and I could access it on my Xbox and PC too - great!

There are some things I don't like about the current digital music market. I'll buy (i.e. pay for) a song/album when it is out, but I'll buy it from where I want. Stupid exclusivity deals don't and won't make me sign up for iTunes or Google Play, You never had to go to certain shops to buy a CD/Tape (except maybe a special sleeve but you still got the track anywhere), so why do they think they can get away with exclusivity with digital providers. Now, if you can't get it legally when it is available, people will find ways to get it otherwise, so why not offer it legally through as many channels as viable.

A little bit off topic, sorry.

Microsoft's other main competitors, Apple and Google (and Amazon to a degree), do the same so to be getting rid of Xbox Music and Video would be stupid. However, if they did, what happens to those that have 'bought' films from Xbox video? I understand and partially support the concept of DRM, especially for the rental market; however, the digital music market only really took off when DRM was removed.

Disposing of the ecosystem would be stupid so I'm glad they clarified their position. They're OK in the UK, even with the Sky monopoly over most new content. I'm actually one of those people that foremost have an Xbox One for the TV integration and TV/Films and only then for games.

MS have sold so many Xbox 360s that they probably have more Microsoft Set-Top-Boxes than Apple or Google do put together (that's an assumed statistic), yet that is a market that apple and google are dying to break into. They should perhaps look at expanding the apps available for the Xbox 360, add a Blu-ray player, and other enhancements such as miracast to turn it into a decent STB - the Samsung Smart TV stuff is so slow and crap! That way, you capture the basic user and the casual gamer with the older 360 games and arcade games and end up with Windows on more TVs. The Xbox One is developed for the gamer and tech enthusiast.

It would go on the list of "Biggest Tech Fails of 201X" if they did. "Lets take something vital to the ecosystem and torch it. Bwahaha!" Seriously. I'd never think for a minute they'd drop the services. If anything, they need lovin'. The Zune app of old is so... good and the music/video app of today is so... crappy. :/

no surprise. they can't ditch it. bottom line is if they want people in their eco system, they need to offer what the others do. lack of music/video platform would be a shot to the head.

They need to get an Xbox Music locker working soon though. I have a lot of music on my OneDrive that I would like to play on my phone.

Microsoft doesn't seem to "get" how central/core/vital the music & video experience is on smart-phones and tablets.

They don't even ship earbuds with any of their phones. Or even offer matched accessories for sale for all models or cases.

And their music/video experiences seem to have been going backwards over time, not getting better. And some very standard things you have been able to do on other platforms have just been inexplicably missing from the MS platforms. And gross inconsistencies between the platforms as well. They seem to remove features as often as they add them.

It's a needlessly frustrating and annoying experience. Until they get their act together here, they're going to struggle in the consumer space.

This might be a US carrier-only thing, but yeah not shipping earbuds is stupid. Especially stupid since Nokia actually makes great earbud accessories and headphones.

On a counterpoint, dropping their own native apps for music and video while opening the door up for third party such as iTunes or Google Play could potentially offer a boost in sales for windows phone and tablets.

Also, keep in mind, Microsoft doesn't produce the phones. The OEMs do. While Nokia was purchased by Microsoft, it can very possibly be remaining a silent entity behind the Nokia brand. Any accessories included will depend purely on the OEM itself.

An example of this is the number of phones produced by Motorola while it was owned by Google. Google doesn't like the OEM skins put on Android, (they have said this several times), but they still allowed Motorola division to put out several handsets with Blur.

Back on topic, in the days of Zune Marketplace, all the music purchased was DRM-free. I'm not sure if that is still the case today, but if it isn't, then Xbox Music really doesn't have a "benefit" over other stores. I could see Microsoft having talks with one of the other 2 stores to sell a license for exclusive rights to place their music store on Windows phone/Windows 8/windows RT.

banggugyangu said,
Back on topic, in the days of Zune Marketplace, all the music purchased was DRM-free. I'm not sure if that is still the case today, but if it isn't, then Xbox Music really doesn't have a "benefit" over other stores. I could see Microsoft having talks with one of the other 2 stores to sell a license for exclusive rights to place their music store on Windows phone/Windows 8/windows RT.

You can't have a subscription model and have DRM free music. Otherwise you could download a few million songs, then cancel your subscription.

But... Xbox Music also allows you to buy songs and albums completely DRM free, if you choose. Those you'll be able to keep forever.

Dude, I abandoned my iPhone to get AWAY from iTunes (YUCK!) and have no desire to tie myself to Google either.

There's no reason Microsoft can't have a top-tier music and video service.

Enron said,
Microsoft should start shipping Tonez by Tupac (better than Beats by Dr. Dre) with all of its phones.

Oh jesus, is that a thing? Please tell me you're joking?

I guess marketing + Big Name > Quality audio equipment then. :(

Kalint said,
well yeah they strip any more services out there wont be anything left.

On that note, at this point I honestly see no reason why one should (or would) buy an Xbox One if he or she already owns an Xbox 360.

Because its a fantastic console that is way more powerful and provides a much faster and better experience to the user using the kinect, multitasking, snap mode, apps and of course the much better looking games.

Mandosis said,
Because its a fantastic console that is way more powerful and provides a much faster and better experience to the user using the kinect, multitasking, snap mode, apps and of course the much better looking games.

LOL! Did you copy that out of a brochure? Yeah it is a fantastic console (provided its 2005).

No. I wrote it myself based off of my daily interactions with my xbox one. Yeah it's a fantastic console (provided its 2014).

Mandosis said,
Because its a fantastic console that is way more powerful and provides a much faster and better experience to the user using the kinect, multitasking, snap mode, apps and of course the much better looking games.

This deserves a longer response, but for now . . .
It is funny that you list the Kinect as being the first feature that offers users a better experience. Microsoft apparently didn't think so when they unbundled it from the console.

Microsoft has backpedaled so many times with the Xbox One that it, as another Neowinian wrote, lacks an identity or purpose.

Well I guess I don't love using the kinect and the xbox one is horrible console that should never have been made. I guess Microsoft should never try to correct issues either. Oh well. I guess I should just return it now.

Mandosis said,
Well I guess I don't love using the kinect and the xbox one is horrible console that should never have been made. I guess Microsoft should never try to correct issues either. Oh well. I guess I should just return it now.

I did not say that it was a horrible console or that Microsoft should not correct its issues. Your sarcasm puts words in my mouth which taste bad.

Kalint said,

LOL! Did you copy that out of a brochure? Yeah it is a fantastic console (provided its 2005).

Yawnsome comment if ever there was one and also a pretty damn stupid thing to say.

Ian William said,

This deserves a longer response, but for now . . .
It is funny that you list the Kinect as being the first feature that offers users a better experience. Microsoft apparently didn't think so when they unbundled it from the console.

MS offered the new sku due to negative feedback from the online community. There was such a dark cloud built up around it, that they felt it was better to offer end-users the option instead of sticking to it. That has not changed their belief that Kinect offers some very useful features for users.

I find it funny that once they start offering a sku without Kinect, as people demanded, then the attack is that MS doesn't believe in it, or that they aren't willing to stick to their guns, as if MS could get away with that.


Microsoft has backpedaled so many times with the Xbox One that it, as another Neowinian wrote, lacks an identity or purpose.

If you really believe that, then I guess the next gen consoles lack a purpose. Again, all of the backpedaling has been in response to feedback, so you would think it would be applauded, but no. Instead, it is turned around as proof that the X1 has no purpose, no direction, totally ignoring what it can do. MS can't win on that. Luckily, outside of the online community, there are a host of end users that will see reasons to own a next gen console.

The X1 really does have good points against the 360, but as with any next gen console following a very popular console, it will also take the release of many new games to convince many 360 owners to upgrade. The X1 is not backwards compatible, so that means there has to be a strong library of games on the X1 before many 360 owners switch. That is a huge deal that is only fixed over time.

MikeChipshop said,

Yawnsome comment if ever there was one and also a pretty damn stupid thing to say.

How dare you deflect what people say to you onto me.

"In fact, we have one of our bigger/stronger Xbox Music updates just a couple weeks away…you're gonna like it. Perf, fixes and some features!"

yardmanflex said,
"In fact, we have one of our bigger/stronger Xbox Music updates just a couple weeks away…you're gonna like it. Perf, fixes and some features!"

I've read that yardmanflex, but I don't think that it guarantees anything.

Yeah, it's hard to see why they'd take the word of the leader of the Windows Phone team on something Windows Phone related.

MarkKB said,
Yeah, it's hard to see why they'd take the word of the leader of the Windows Phone team on something Windows Phone related.

There is no need for sarcasm.

TechJunkie81 said,
Joe Belfiore is hardly someone who you should take their word for.

I wouldn't go that far, I don't remember something he's said they'd do and haven't done to this point. The only thing I'd blame is how long things take to happen, like this lockscreen app, that could've been out by now.