Chances are, you will have a lot to think about before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, including whether the stranger you’re about to kiss still has coffee breath. As of this afternoon, some of you can add finding a new streaming service to that list of things. Microsoft is killing Groove Music Pass and effectively ending a journey that is started more than a decade ago with Urge, PlaysForSure and Zune.
Microsoft revealed in a post on the Windows Experience Blog that it’s ending Groove Music Pass once and for all this afternoon. It will stop selling Groove Music Pass subscriptions immediately, and it plans to have the whole service retired on January 1st, 2018. Subscribers will get refunds and store credit if they prepaid for a Groove Music Pass already.
The company has teamed up with Spotify to let subscribers move their existing library and playlists to its service, which makes sense; Spotify is by far the leader in paid music subscriptions. Everyone has until January 31st to move their collection.
If all this sounds a little familiar to you, context is necessary. Microsoft killed the Zune Software years ago, but renamed Zune Music Pass to Xbox Music Pass. Xbox Music Pass became Groove Music Pass when Windows 10 launched. The entire ordeal is pretty strange considering Microsoft just added access to music videos back to the Windows 10 version of Groove a few months ago.
What makes this situation even stranger is Microsoft’s decision to stop selling music for a flat price too. So, if you purchased music through Windows 10, Zune, Groove or Xbox Music at any time, be sure to back up your songs. Getting out of the music subscription business makes sense because Apple, Pandora and Spotify locked that market down after Microsoft failed to do anything meaningful in the space. Not selling MP3s completely undercuts confidence in the Windows Store and utterly guarantees that those who know better will buy their television shows, movies and books from anyone but Microsoft. I know, I certainly will spend my money on video elsewhere going forward.
Groove Music, that is the app that’s available on Windows 10, will stay around to play music you already own and stream content from OneDrive. Read more about the service’s cancellation in this FAQ Microsoft posted just moments ago.
On the plus side, Microsoft killing Groove Music Pass means I can cancel my yearly Groove Music review. I did one in 2016 and I had another planned for early next week.