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Microsoft announces Groove, its replacement for Xbox Music

Earlier today, it appeared that Microsoft might be planning to make changes to its Xbox Music platform, after references were spotted in its Phone Companion app to a 'Groove Music' service. Now, the company has formally announced changes to its music offering, starting with that new name.

"We’re proud to introduce the evolution of our current Xbox Music experience, now titled Groove, with new features we think you’re going to love," Microsoft said today. This, by the way, finally explains why the icon for the Music app in Windows 10 changed in recent builds to what looked like a CD or record, stylized as the letter 'G'.

But why 'Groove'? Microsoft says: "Groove describes what people feel and do with music, and is more intuitive for our Windows 10 customers on what they’ll find with the app."

It's more than just a name change too - Microsoft posted an overview of new features on the way in Groove:

The Look and Feel: Groove provides an improved experience for listening to and managing your music in Windows 10. Getting into music is faster than ever with easy-to-use menus and navigation controls that work well with both mouse/keyboard, and with familiar touch gestures on touch-screen devices. Pinch to zoom in or out of different views, drag your favorite tracks in to playlists, hover over the Taskbar icon for playback controls, or right click for contextual menus to pin an album to your Start menu. And you can also infuse your personality in to Groove – choose a light or dark theme for the app depending on your mood, or pick an accent color in Windows Settings and the Groove app makes it shine.

Accessing Your Music on your favorite devices: We’re also making it easy to access your content across your favorite devices – with built-in OneDrive integration making your favorite songs only a few clicks away. Upload all your MP3’s to OneDrive, even songs purchased from iTunes, and access them all for free with the Groove app on your Windows devices, Xbox, the web — and even on your Android phones and iPhones (coming soon).

Music and the Windows Store: You can also sign up for a Groove Music Pass subscription – a premium ad-free listening experience with no interruptions. $9.99/month or $99/year gets you complete access to stream and download music from the Windows Store — one of the largest music catalogs on the planet with over 40 million tracks*. Subscribers can also create custom radio stations based on their favorite songs, albums and artists. If you already have an Xbox Music Pass (like me) – don’t worry! This will become Groove Music Pass and you don’t need to do anything.

Microsoft has also rolled out a new site promoting the new Groove Music service.

The company says that Windows Insiders will be first to see these changes via the Store Beta, while others will be able to try out Groove for the first time when Windows 10 launches on July 29.

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