It looks like there's another Microsoft music service brewing ... Microsoft is reportedly in talks with the major record companies about some type of Microsoft music player that could be extended to support Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile and even peeps on Microsoft's Zune Music Pass.
This could play out well for both sides, as Microsoft is in need of an overhaul in comparison to the host streaming music services that have arrived in the the past year and a half -- sites like Spotify, MOG and Rhapsody alongside the Google Music Beta and Apple's iTunes and iTunes Match for iCloud. Microsoft has a seven nation army of 40 million Xbox live subscribers and Windows Phone users that are all missing out on the action. PLUS, Microsoft still has music licensing in tact from its foray with the Zune music player and Urge music service. This could jump Microsoft right to the front of the game by bundling it with the Xbox service, giving it 40 million users for a Microsoft music player. Then think about how Windows Phone vs Windows Mobile could be the Microsoft equivalent of an iPhone (plus give them a much needed leg up in encouraging Xbox people to buy a Windows Phone), and you've got a lot of potential.
They could offer their own product ecosystem, which is all the rage these days (just like residencies are for touring) as Apple, Google and Amazon all have deep stakes in their own combinations of music, video, products and services that all point users directly at other products in the ecosystem. Microsoft would then have the Xbox hardware, an online Microsoft music player as a streaming service, the ability to have a Microsoft store to buy music from (a la iTunes, Android Market, Amazon MP3) and a self-sustaining beehive of musical activity.
"Negotiations are still in a preliminary stage and the two sides have yet to drill down into all the specifics, the sources said. Nonetheless, Microsoft has roughly outlined a service that it hopes could launch sometime this year and include streaming music as well as downloads, the sources said," reads the news from Greg Sandoval at CNET. "Expect the labels to work hard to make this deal happen," he went on to say.
Check out the Spacelab Guide to Streaming Music Services for more information on streaming music sites.