Microsoft is throwing in the towel when it comes to music streaming and downloads by announcing the closure of Groove Music.
The service will continue running through 31 December, after which customers will no longer be able to download or stream music. In the meantime, Microsoft is encouraging subscribers to migrate their music collection over to Spotify, while Groove Music Pass subscribers will receive a 60-day free trial of Spotify’s premium tier in order to entice them.
Anyone who is a paid-up Music Pass subscriber beyond December will also get a refund for the amount of outstanding time they are unable to use the service.
End of the road for Microsoft’s music services
Just as it did with the ill-fated Zune against the sleek iPod, Microsoft never found a good way of competing with the likes of Apple when it came to iTunes-style downloads of Apple Music-style subscription streaming services.
Groove Music was Microsoft’s last standing attempt in this area, having taken over from the Xbox Music service. With Groove Music now winding down, it leaves Microsoft without any music service of its own for the first time in years.
Hints of the impending closure emerged back in August, when Spotify support was added to the Xbox One platform. Microsoft has said that its Windows 10 Groove app will continue to function as a media player for downloaded songs even after the end of this year.
Spotify is currently the leading premium music subscription service worldwide. It has more than 140 million active users, with 60 million of them paying a monthly fee for the premium service. Apple Music, by comparison, recently announced that it has more than 30 million subscribers worldwide.
Did you ever subscribe to any of Microsoft’s music services? If so, how did they compare to their rivals? Leave your comments below.