Xbox Music is going free over the web today, and its long-awaited iOS and Android versions are also set to launch at some point today. The move puts Xbox Music and Microsoft on a new course, positioning the service to rival major streaming music providers like Spotify and Rdio. “The Spotify model is the most disruptive thing that’s happened in the music industry in the last five years,” Xbox Music GM Jerry Johnson told Engadget in an interview this week.
With the move to free streaming on the web — something that’s been available to Windows 8 users for some time now — Johnson and Microsoft are hoping to get in on that disruption. The first six months of streaming are entirely free, and becomes more limited after that. Like Spotify, Johnson reasons that users will be drawn in for free on the web and upgrade to the Xbox Music Pass ($10/month or $100/year). Also like Spotify, the mobile apps are essentially useless without a paid subscription. It’s unclear if streaming will be free for the Xbox One version that launches this November, though we’d bet that the first 30 days are free (like with the Xbox 360 iteration). There are