Microsoft has now announced it'll shutter Groove Music entirely. This comes two years after the company changed Xbox Music to Groove in an effort to make the music service still relevant despite mounting competition from Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and other similar services.
Beginning Dec. 31, Microsoft will stop offering Groove Music passes, at which point remaining subscribers will be refunded. On that date, Groove Music users will also no longer be able to stream music or purchase them.
To its merit, Microsoft will at least help Groove Music users transition into a new streaming service. The company has partnered with Spotify to make migrating playlists over to the new service easier. Next week, Microsoft will launch a Groove Music update that'll kickstart process. Groove Music will guide users every step of the way.
The partnership isn't a surprise since Microsoft and Spotify has been working together to bring the streaming service to PCs via a Windows 10 app and to Xbox One.
Free 2 Months Of Spotify Premium
Some users might even be eligible for two months of Spotify Premium for free. This will only be available for Groove Music users who'll move their music before Jan. 31, 2018, and the user must not be currently subscribed to premium or have been subscribed previously. Make sure to check Spotify's eligibility terms.
Microsoft Groove Music Is Dead, But It's Not Going Away
Despite cutting off its streaming component, Microsoft will continue to "invest in and update the Groove Music app on all Windows devices." In addition, users can still use the app as a standalone media player for music files stored locally or in OneDrive.
Groove Music users on iOS and Android will similarly be disabled from streaming or downloading music beginning Dec. 31, but they'll still be allowed to access music files from OneDrive. Going forward, if users want to stream, Microsoft will recommend Spotify instead.
As The Verge notes, this is a boon to Spotify, although it remains uncertain just how many Groove Music users there still are. Still, being recommended by Microsoft, one of the biggest tech firms in the world, is a pretty big deal. That said, this marks the end of the Zune era for Microsoft. In its heyday, the Zune was Microsoft's answer to iPod, but it was never able to beat it.
It's probably a good decision for Microsoft, though. Dropping its music streaming service will help it put more focus on its cloud businesses, Windows 10 operating system, and its Surface line.