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The aim of this blog is to collect and archive my selected thoughts, ideas, feelings, reactions, and opinions on subject matters that pique my interest. These entries represent initial drafts that may contain grammatical and spelling errors and whose substance and position could still change, and which, at some point, I could decide to put together into in-depth articles that will be posted on the main Saved Content and Poverty Sucks sites.

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Apple and Microsoft to Compete in Music Streaming Services

Both Apple and Microsoft made moves to capture strong positions in the music streaming services market.  Apple, with its immensely popular iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac, ventured into online music streaming by launching its Apple Music service.  Microsoft, which has a foothold on consumers via its Windows monopoly, Xbox One and 360 consoles, and Windows mobile devices, seeks to gain market share in music streaming by rebranding its service from Xbox Music to Groove Music.

Apple announced its music streaming service, Apple Music, in early June 2015 and launched it later at the end of that month, together with iOS 8.4.   It was announced that it would be free for its first three months and then cost $9.99 per month.

Microsoft announced the rebranding of its online music streaming service in early July 2015.  From Xbox Music, it would be now known as Groove Music.  A Groove Music Pass will still have the same price as an Xbox Music Pass at $9.99 per month or $99 a year.

Apple’s first entry into music streaming was its iTunes Radio.  It was free but ad-supported and only available in the U.S. and Canada.  It was announced in June 10, 2013, and launched on September 18, 2013 with the release of iOS 7.  iTunes Radio has been rebranded as Apple Music Radio with the launch of Apple Music.  It will still be free but ad-supported.  Apple Music will also include another free and ad-supported online streaming radio station, Apple Music Beats 1.

Microsoft has already rebranded its music service twice.  At first, it was known as Zune Music, back when the unpopular Zune device was still being sold.  It was renamed to Xbox Music to take advantage of the popularity of the Xbox 360 console after the Zune player was abandoned.  This time, because the Xbox brand was not well known by non-gamers, Microsoft decided to rename the Xbox Music service to Groove Music.  Originally, Microsoft’s Groove brand was used for non-music purposes.  Microsoft bought Groove Networks for its Groove software.  This software has already been supplanted by OneDrive for Business.

The most popular competitors of Microsoft and Apple in the music streaming service marketplace include Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Rhapsody.  Of these, only Microsoft and Rhapsody do not provide a free and ad-supported option.   Apple offers its Apple Music Beats 1 and Radio for free listening.

For ad-free listening, Spotify offers Spotify Premium for $9.99 and Spotify Family for more users, starting at $14.99.  Pandora has an ad-free subscription, Pandora One, for $4.99 per month or $54.89 per year.  Aside from its basic listening option for $9.99 per month, Apple also provides a family plan for up to six family members for $14.99 per month.

Apple Music is available on iTunes for Mac and Windows.  On iOS devices, it is only available for iOS 8.4.  Supported Apple devices include 5th gen iPod Touch, iPad 2 and later versions, iPad Mini and later, and iPhone 4s and above.  Apple Music for Android is not available at launch but will come out later.

Microsoft’s Groove Music is currently available on the Xbox One and 360, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8, iOS 6 and later, and Android 4 and later.