The interface looks great on Windows 8 tablets, but other platform support is limited.
(Credit: Microsoft )
Digital music fans have never had more options, but the experience is more fragmented than ever. iTunes rules digital downloads, Spotify is the subscription music leader, and a slew of other services (Rhapsody, Pandora, Rdio, Amazon Cloud Player, Google Music, etc.) fill in the variety of remaining niches.
Xbox Music is Microsoft's latest entry in this space and while it's easy to write it off as another "me too" digital music platform, it's surprisingly comprehensive. Like Spotify, Xbox Music offers free ad-supported streaming of its subscription music library, plus Pandora-like artist-based Internet radio and a premium tier called Xbox Music Pass ($9.99 per month or $99 per year) that offers ad-free streaming and "cloud locker" functionality.
It's strong initial offering, particularly its combination of subscription streaming, locker storage, and music store, which no other service currently offers. In the demos I saw, it's the best of all worlds if you're a subscriber, offering up your own music collection (synced to all supported devices), subscription tracks and the option to buy tracks not available fo... [Read more]