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Rocking out with Xbox Music

If you are a Windows PC user, then there are lots of reasons to upgrade to Windows 8: better personalization, live updates, built-in apps, etc. But if you’re a music lover like me, there’s another reason to jump on the Windows 8 train – Xbox Music.

Microsoft’s new digital music service began rolling out to Xbox 360 consoles in October and was expanded to PCs and other devices running Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system later the same month. I recently upgraded to Windows 8 and was thrilled to discover the reach and versatility of the new service.

I have always been a big fan of Pandora, Spotify and other music streaming services but Xbox Music blows them away. First of all, Xbox Music gives you access to millions of songs. You can search by song title, artist or album and instantly play whatever you want; you can create playlists or artist-based stations; you can download music and listen to it offline; and you can even purchase a song for your permanent collection.

With the free Xbox Music service, you get unlimited streaming for 6 months and up to 10 hours of free music per month after that. However, a simple upgrade to Xbox Music Pass gets you even more. As well as unlimited streaming, your Xbox Music collection will automatically sync across all your Xbox Music devices, including Windows 8 PCs, Windows RT tablets, and Windows Phones.

With Xbox Music Pass you also get SmartDJ, an instant mix feature that creates Pandora-style playlists from a single artist. You can then view the playlist, skip to any song, and play songs as many times as you want. (Not surprisingly, SmartDJ was an instant hit with my teenage daughter and her friends!) Xbox Music Pass costs $9.99 per month with no long term commitment.

Xbox Music also allows you to manage your entire music collection right there in the Xbox Music app, including music purchased from iTunes and other stores. And it’s not just about the music. Xbox Music is rapidly becoming my home for video, podcasts and more, pulling together all my media files via the cloud.

If you’re a PC user and into music, then Xbox Music will change your life. Give it a try; I guarantee you won’t look back!

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