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With Apple Music’s launch, looks like tech giants have suddenly realised the huge potential that lies in music streaming. And Microsoft isn’t too far behind. In a bid to enhance it’s presence in the online music streaming category, Microsoft is rebranding it’s Xbox Music service to ‘Groove,’ the software giant announced in a blog post.

Windows 8’s music entertainment app was originally titled ‘Xbox Music.’ Then it got named as ‘Music,’ with some parts of the OS still retaining the original title ‘Xbox Music’. On Windows 10,  it’s set to be called ‘Groove.’

At launch, alongside Windows 10 later this month, the Groove app will work in both light and dark themes with features that are currently in the Windows 10 preview.

However, the nomenclature still provides ample confusion. The software giant has registered a domain name and Twitter handle for the newly-titled service is Groove Music, whereas the blog post mentions it as “Groove.”

The subscription service’s access to the 40-million and counting track repository can be obtained by $9.99 a month or $99 a year. UK and European pricing hasn’t been announced yet. As expected, Xbox Music Passes will be providing functionality on this platform as well. Unlike popular counterparts like Rdio and Apple Music, there’s no free trial or streaming option available here. Groove will support the ability to upload music to Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service and access the songs for free from Windows devices, Xbox consoles, and Android or iPhone handsets.

Ineterstingly, there exists a similarly named app in the Windows Store already. Called “Groove: Smart Music Player” developed by Canadian startup Zikera, but a Microsoft spokesperson has asserted that they have nothing to do with Zikera.

In other news, Microsoft seems to be wanting to overhaul it’s entire entertainment portfolio, with even Xbox Video getting a new name on Windows 10. It will be called just plain ‘Movies & TV.’ Microsoft says “Windows Insiders who are a part of the Fast ring and upgrade to the next PC build will see these updates,” which suggests that a new build will be made available to testers ahead of the Windows 10 release on July 29th. Microsoft is looking to release a finalized version of Windows 10 after detailing little touches on the OS, to be ported to OEMs before July 29.

Microsoft fanboys will recall that Groove has been used by MSFT in name a non-music property back in 2005. The tool now powers offline access for SharePoint files.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore tweeted that the reason for both changes was simple: people who don’t own Xboxes didn’t think the Xbox-branded apps applied to them.

I have to say I couldn’t stand the Xbox branding on the music app, it made no sense especially when using my PC. I don’t know if Groove is a better name but it’s at least a step in the right direction.


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