You’re probably not aware that Microsoft has its own streaming service called Groove Music, and that’s exactly why the company is now dumping the platform in favor of Spotify instead. The company plans to stop selling subscriptions soon and will completely phase out the service by the end of the year, which probably won’t break too many hearts when it happens.
Groove Music was previously called Xbox Music until it was rebranded a couple of years ago, but it always seemed like it was still just the old Zune service wrapped up in a slightly different interface. The service was far more successful in the download era than when streaming took over, and as a result Microsoft is doing its best to make sure that any user MP3 libraries remain intact in Windows 10. Likewise, the company has partnered with Spotify to ensure easy playlist transfer, according the Microsoft, although there’s no telling how easy it will actually be at this time.
What this move shows is that even giant tech companies can get music wrong, not once, but over and over. Apple’s been far more successful, but still hasn’t caught Spotify in paid streaming subscribers even though it dominated the download world. Amazon is a silent giant for now, since it has most of its music properties tied up with its Prime membership. It’s been rumored that there are actually more Prime members than Spotify’s 60+ million paid subscribers, but Amazon has never released the exact number. Besides, most Prime members choose the service for features other than music anyway, so the figure might be moot.
Now what would be interesting is if Microsoft bought Spotify, a move that would help both companies. Microsoft’s deep pockets would get a more or less loss leader music service that it’s always wanted, Spotify would get out from under the specter of having to make money to appease investors and, soon, stockholders, and it would have more resources to market itself. This is an unlikely scenario, but it’s fun to think about.
In the meantime, another music service bites the dust.