Groove Music (formerly Xbox Music and Zune Music and also known as Microsoft Groove) is a digital music streaming service developed by Microsoft that offers music streaming through subscription or purchase through the Windows Store. The service is web-based and also available via applications for the Microsoft Windows and Xbox product lines, as well as Android and iOS. The Groove catalog has over 38 million tracks.
Microsoft had previously ventured into music services with its Zune brand. The Zune Music Marketplace included 11 million tracks. The line of Zune players and Zune music store were somewhat unsuccessful, and the brand was largely discontinued at the beginning of the 2010s, although it continued to exist on different devices and the Zune Music Pass offered unlimited access to songs for US$9.99 per month.
Meanwhile, Microsoft had been emphasizing the strength of its Xbox brand because of its appeal to consumers. It had been expanding the multimedia services available through its Xbox Live to include services such as a video store and online game marketplace. It decided to introduce a new music service to build upon these existing features.
Microsoft introduced the new service at its press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012 on June 4. Xbox Music was launched along with Xbox Video service on October 16, 2012.
On July 6, 2015, Microsoft announced the re-branding of Xbox Music as Groove to tie in with the impending release of Windows 10. The new brand utilizes the Microsoft-owned "Groove" trademark formerly used for the unrelated product Microsoft Office Groove (now OneDrive for Business). Joe Belfiore explained that the re-branding was intended to disassociate the service from the Xbox product line, making it more inclusive to non-Xbox platforms.
On 17 September 2015, with a system update for the Xbox 360, the name of the app changed to reflect the new branding. The Xbox One app had also changed in a previous update.
Groove Music Pass is a subscription-based service allowing unlimited streaming of the service's catalog. An advertising-supported streaming tier was previously available, but discontinued effective December 1, 2014. Music can also be purchased directly from Windows Store.
Users' purchased music, and playlists consisting of songs available on the service can be synced through OneDrive and accessed from multiple devices. Songs in a user's local library on a Windows 8.1 PC can be matched and made available to other devices if available on Groove Music Pass. Uploading of non-Groove music will also become available on Windows 10.
Custom "radio stations" can be generated using songs related to user-selected songs. Songs can be downloaded for offline listening on smartphones.
Windows 10's Anniversary Update allows users to hide features that require a Groove Music Pass from the interface.
Groove Music Pass (formerly Xbox Music Pass and Zune Music Pass) is a pay subscription service that allows users to listen to their subscription music on any device with the service installed. The pricing in US includes monthly and annual subscriptions. A one-month trial offer is available, but those who previously tried the Zune Music Pass subscription prior to the rebranding are ineligible for this offer.
Groove Music lets users create a collection of songs and playlists that roam through the cloud on all the supported devices. The songs can be added from the Groove Music Store or matched (within the Groove Music Catalog) to songs either saved locally on the user's machine or uploaded to the user's Microsoft OneDrive account for the country the user is in.
The Groove Music API provides access to RESTful web services for developers to leverage the catalog and features of the service in their application or website.
Groove apps are available for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Phone, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android and iOS. A web-based version is also available.
Countries where Groove is available include: