Xbox Music Free Cancelled: Microsoft Terminating Ad-Supported Version, Will Only Offer Subscription Service
So long, free Xbox music streaming. Microsoft has chosen to can the free portion of music streaming on its game console, and will soon offer only the subscription version of the service.
The termination will come December 1, according to Microsoft's subdued posting. Only the $10 Music Pass will be available, though there isn't much reasoning given for why this change is occurring. The explanation serves more to promote the Music Pass than describe why the free, ad-supported version will be no more (despite that this is taken from the 'why' section of the FAQ):
"We are focusing Xbox Music to deliver the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers. With Xbox Music Pass, you have access to millions of songs on your PC, tablet, Xbox, phone, and the web. Download music for offline listening and create playlists that automatically sync across all your devices."
In case you're concerned, there are no changes to the Music Pass subscriptions. Xbox Music is available on any Windows 8 and 8.1 device, not just the Xbox consoles, and competes against other music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora. There is a free 30-day trial available, if you're interested in testing out the service before paying, which is now the only long-term option.