Microsoft to launch competitor to Pandora, Spotify

Now that the latest chatter coming from the UK surmises that streaming music services such as Spotify are hot among teenagers, while p2p-based music sharing is not, Microsoft is reportedly about to debut its own contribution to Britain's music streaming boom.

The Telegraph reported today that Microsoft's UK Web portal MSN will be launching a streaming music service this month that is "similar in principle to Spotify."

It would follow Microsoft's recent behavior in the Isles, where at the beginning of the year, the company launched MSN Mobile Music, a mobile browser-based music store vending protected .WMA downloads for £1.50, .WMV files for £2, and ringtones for £3. Subscription-based and ad-subsidized streaming services have long been a favored format among music industry professionals, but it has taken years for the concept to gain traction. Even the most popular streaming services seemed to be on borrowed time with continuing legislation over royalties, and consumers didn't have a chance to get comfortable with the monetary value of a stream since the industry really hadn't laid that value down.

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However, with royalties discussions approaching a veritable Pax Musica, Microsoft may be able to put last year's Musiwave acquisition to good use. The Telegraph report did not specify how this Microsoft streaming service will be delivered, but there was mention of integration both with Xbox Live and with Zune.

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