Microsoft is reportedly looking to improve its less-than-stellar track record when it comes to digital music. Having already scrapped its Zune player and Urge service, the software giant could be contemplating rebuilding the Zune Music Pass program as a new, Spotify/Rdio-style service by year's end.
According to an unnamed CNet source, Microsoft hopes to re-brand Zune Pass as XBox Live and integrate it across its game stations as well as Windows Phones and the Windows desktop platform. The service will reportedly offer streaming and downloading options similar to current Music Pass offerings but will be easier to navigate and may also include a video component.
Microsoft is in preliminary talks with music labels, attempting to hash out agreements to either transfer its existing Zune Pass licensing to the new service or obtain new ones. The labels are apparently receptive to the plan given the potential exposure to Microsoft's 40 million or so XBL subscribers. Microsoft has also reportedly reached out to HTC and Nokia to support the Windows Phone component. Barring any delays, the new music service is expected to roll out in time for the holidays. [CNet via The Verge]