Is Microsoft About to Jump On The Music Streaming Bandwagon?

With Google Music coming to the fore, Grooveshark forced back by asking its member to pay for their service and Spotify finding a new lease of life through Facebook open graph, the online music industry is becoming more open and competitive than ever before.

Now it's rumoured that Microsoft will be the latest company to jump into the fray, preparing to launch a new music service that will be similar to what Spotify, Pandora, or Rdio offers. 901am.com are saying that the company is reportedly in talks with different record labels about developing the service.

It's stated that Microsoft's plan is to release the service as part of the applications associated with the Xbox 360, as well as desktops and laptops that use the Windows operating system and smartphones that use Windows Phone 7. While they already have a music service, the Zune Music Pass, they do not intend to use it as a name as they don't believe that it would gain traction with consumers.

Other details such as its name, terms of service, subscription fees, downloading process and payment of the record labels have yet to be decided, but its believed that the deal aims to renegotiate the terms for Zune Music Pass so that the company can provide a free version for users. Currently Zune costs $9.99 a month for access to songs via Xbox 360, Windows Phone and PC.

Currently Xbox users must have Gold membership to be able to subscribe to the service, which is practically like paying two different subscription fees (one for Gold membership, the other for Zune). The negotiations might be a way of simplifying this process but is unlikely considering that Microsoft are reluctant to use the Zune name for this service.