Microsoft rebranded Xbox Music to Groove Music two years ago, in a bid to make its music streaming service more relevant to consumers. Despite the name change, Groove always felt like a vestige of the Zune era at Microsoft and something that consumers were unaware of. Microsoft is now giving up on Groove Music today, and partnering with Spotify instead.
Microsoft will stop selling Groove Music passes soon (to stream music), and any customers subscribed to the service will be refunded pro-rata once Groove Music Pass is discontinued on December 31st. After December 31st, Microsoft’s Groove Music app will no longer support streaming music or the ability to purchase and download songs.
Microsoft is partnering with Spotify to make it easy for Groove Music subscribers to move their playlists over to the rival music streaming service. An update to the Groove Music app will be available for Windows 10 users next week, and Windows Insiders will get early access this week. Microsoft and Spotify have been working together on a Windows 10 app and a separate app for the Xbox One, so it’s not a surprise to see Microsoft pick Spotify as its preferred partner for Groove Music subscribers.
While the streaming music element of Groove Music is disappearing fully, Microsoft says it will continue to invest in the music app for Windows 10 to ensure users can still access local MP3 files and those stored in OneDrive. iOS and Android users of the Groove Music app will also be able to continue using music from OneDrive, but streaming will finish on December 31st. Microsoft will now recommend Windows users try Spotify if they want streaming music. That’s a big boost to Spotify, but also an admission that the Zune era is fully over at Microsoft as it seeks to partner instead of creating its own rival services.