Microsoft rebranded its Xbox Music service as Groove with the release of Windows 10 in 2015. Groove Music Pass costs $9.99 per month or $99 per year, and it allows customers to download or stream millions of songs and upload their own music collections to the OneDrive cloud.
As of Dec. 31, Microsoft said in a blog post it will cut off the ability to stream, purchase and download music in Groove. Microsoft said the app will continue to support playback and management of music customers already own.
Microsoft is rolling out an update beginning this week designed to make it easy for Groove Music Pass subscribers to transition their music collections and playlists to Spotify. Microsoft called Spotify the world’s largest streaming service, and said Spotify’s presence in everything from smartphones to connected cars make it easiers for Groove Music Pass users to access their tunes on the go.
Microsoft has put a lot of time and effort into its music service over the years, but the crowded and competitive market that includes Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music and others has been a tough nut for Microsoft to crack. Groove Music Pass went through, at one point, three names in five years. Users could get 10 free songs per month with a Zune Music Pass subscription before Microsoft switched to the Xbox Music service.
The move is also an example of Microsoft’s recent trend in jettisoning services and products that haven’t caught on and instead choosing to partner with others.
“Our partners are at the center of delivering great experiences on Windows and enabling them to shine on our platform is a top priority,” Jerry Johnson, GM of Groove Music wrote in the blog post. “By collaborating closely with industry leaders like Spotify, we can deliver the music customers want and focus on new and innovative ways to experience music.”