Xbox Music launches on iOS and Android, free streaming comes to web version

Microsoft is extending Xbox Music past Windows Phone and Windows 8 with the release of iOS and Android versions.

Soon available on their respective app marketplaces, the Xbox Music app allows users to access 30 million tracks, build playlists, and build radio stations around specific songs, artists, or albums. To use the mobile apps, Microsoft requires users to have Xbox Music Pass, which comes in several different pricing structures ($10 a month or $99 per year).

Missing from the mobile apps is offline streaming, a feature Microsoft says will become available in the coming months.

Furthermore, Microsoft has opened up free music streaming to users through its web interface and devices running Windows 8. After six months of use, Microsoft says users will be limited to the hours of free streaming, but can get unlimited access with a paid subscription - similar to Spotify.

The beefing up of Xbox Music is obviously a move to take on Spotify, Rdio, iTunes, iTunes Radio and other music streaming services head-on. With the Xbox One launching in the coming months, Microsoft picked a good time to extend Xbox Music availability across all platforms for ultimate convergence.

New Xbox Music features for Windows 8.1 were also announced. A new Web Playlist feature on the Xbox Music app for Windows 8.1 will allow users to scan a webpage scans for artists’ mentions and create a custom playlist of their music. "Think about the Web page of your favorite radio station, or an upcoming music festival, and all the bands and songs included on that Web page," writes Microsoft.