Rumor: Microsoft to launch another music service?

Is Microsoft going to try and launch yet another online music service? That's the new rumor which got started over at News.com earlier today. The web site claims, via unnamed sources, that Microsoft is in negotiations with a number of the major music companies about this new service. The story adds that the target platforms are the Xbox 360 and an unnamed Windows Phone-based device.

While specifics about the new operation are still sketchy, the story claims that Microsoft would like to launch this new music service later in 2012. It would reportedly support both music downloads as well as streaming music. The Windows Phone device that would support the unnamed service could be made by Nokia or HTC, according to the story.

Of course, Microsoft already has its own music service with the Zune Music Pass, which can be used on Windows Phone 7-based devices as well as PCs and the Xbox 360. The subscription service offers access to millions of tunes for a $9.99 monthly fee. It's unclear what, if anything, would happen to Zune Music Pass or if this new service would simply be an upgrade to the existing Zune Music Pass.

Previous to Zune, Microsoft teamed up with MTV to launch the Urge downloadable music service. It launched in 2006 but was shut down by MTV just a year later.

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I'm a very loyal Microsoft fan boy. I let it slide when MS and Sony screwed me on URGE. I remained loyal as MS again screwed me with PlaysForSure. I continued to remain loyal when Zune launched and I love it. I love my massive storage Zune 120, my Zune HD (that I gave away) and now my Dell Venue Pro Windows Phone. (and Dell screwed me with the DJ and now they've abandoned the Venue Pro) If Microsoft writes off Zune then its time for me to stop investing in Microsoft. It will hurt my ego big time but I'll just have to suck it up and fall into the Apple camp when its time to buy new PC's, Phones, tablets etc.

Those rumours are false. They looking to expand the Zune Marketplace. Not build a newly entire service. Stupid bloggers.

what's microsofts point on branding ?
Give with each new version of windows a new and totally rebranded media player?
Common..
We already have windows media player (like really, really out-of-date)
Zune.. (still has problems)
New one? ... WHY?

Ramcee said,
what's microsofts point on branding ?
Give with each new version of windows a new and totally rebranded media player?
Common..
We already have windows media player (like really, really out-of-date)
Zune.. (still has problems)
New one? ... WHY?
What problems does the Zune software have besides lack of codec support?

This is simply pathetic.
Microsoft never put the required efforts into Zune to make it a success and a decent player in the music marketplace.
They had the most beautiful and feature-full music experience years ago and left the software stale within its USA only market. Now that they finally opened the Music Marketplace internationally, they want to rebrand the thing again? Why would starting over work better this time?
The Zune branding is fine. What is needs is visibility and features. Refresh the client application that you abandonned, add the features requested by users, restore back the features that were removed and make the offering more appealing than ever. The Music Pass is unique, leverage it! How can Zune succeed if you stop developing it?
It just looks Microsoft is doing everything it can to fail in the consumer market. WAKE UP!

Enron said,
You can relax for now. See that word "rumor" + the name "John Callaham"?
9 times out of 10, the rumor belongs to its spokesperson.

Now that they finally opened the Music Marketplace internationally, they want to rebrand the thing again?

You do realize Microsoft has very little control with that yeah? They have to sign contracts with music companies before they can launch something in other countries. And after iTunes / streaming services like Zune / Spotify, those same companies don't really want to sign those contracts since they make less money.

Enron said,
You can relax for now. See that word "rumor" + the name "John Callaham"?

Relax? No.

We're all sick and tired of Microsoft inability to establish a decent music within the platform. With Zune, they finally started doing something different, and attractive that was miles ahead of the competition when you consider the whole musical experience.
Meanwhile, with their legendary short-sighted vision in the consumer arena, they just stopped investing in it and let it stale. They even decided to remove features with time, leaving the music platform even more crippled.
The logo is nice, it has a unique style and it already is recognized as a music platform. Why can't they just leverage what is there and properly invest in it?

I have friends that are deeply anchored in the iTunes ecosystem that just decided to subscribe to the Music Pass because of its unique and unmatched properties. Unfortunately, they notice that the client application is missing many features - most of them having been slashed out in the past. It is troubling to realize Microsoft, the 800 pounds gorilla, is unable to properly tie the knots in its music ecosystem.

And just don't get me started on the fact that Microsoft is spreading its efforts over many media consumption tools instead of focusing on a single one that would provide a real connected Windows ecosystem.

The Zune branding is fine? Seriously? lol... guy come on let's be real. Zune as a BRAND has flopped and is useless now. It's a joke per public opinion and keeping it around will just continue to hurt MS' bottom line. It's not respected as a competitor, so it's time to move on.

It doesn't matter what the small Zune fan army wants or likes. Sure, I like it the software and design and I wish it succeeded but this is a business. Don't be surprised that MS already has an exit strategy in place for Zune. It's already in motion I'm sure.

MS needs to simply re-brand the service now that the hardware side of the division is kaput. Personally, I'd recommend the functionality of the Zune desktop software be incorporated into a new version of Windows Media Center. Then, the Marketplace tab should allow the user to select his/her preferred download store. MS won't win as an iTunes competitor, so it's better off doing a partnership.

Strategy-wise, I'd like to see MS buy half or all of VEVO, then put its MP3 and video catalog together with their music video catalog. This would position MS on Google's turf (namely YouTube), where VEVO rules as its main music video supplier. This would also strengthen MS' relationship with Viacom, as VEVO and Viacom struck a deal in recent months to supply video to its music networks (MTV, VH1, etc).

I never said the brand was fine at the consumer perception level.
The brand is fine with the logo, the user experience and the fact that it is already associated with a music service. Zune failed to capture the consumer audience because Microsoft never really invested in it and took several critical years to expand the marketplace outside the USA, letting the competition dominate with, at the time, an inferior offering from the UX standpoint.

Rebooting once again will require re-branding, which is a risky and money consuming adventure. And if rumours are in any way true, branding the new music service close to the XBOX platform will be nothing more than an additional failure. It's not because the XBOX brand succeeded with the gaming and some entertainment business that a music service under the same umbrella will succeed.
In fact, it would be an excellent way to make sure people outside the XBOX ecosystem will never join your music marketplace, as won't people of a certain age that consider XBOX as a game machine only.

Microsoft, please don't brick my Zune MP3 player. That's all I ask. Do whatever you want with the branding, but please don't mess with this.

I am still not sure how I feel about rebranding zune if they do it.. Its not widely known as a brand.. It could just be a relaunch of windows media player and will likely just be called Windows Music and Windows Video.. its gets confusing with how this just may be the name of the "Music Hub" and services like zune will be able to integrate with it.