Microsoft’s Groove Music Pass subscription streaming service hasn’t made a big impact since its launch in 2012 as Xbox Music, including its rebrand to Groove Music in 2015.
Its lack of success attracted less headlines than its predecessor Zune Music, as much because by this time Microsoft was viewed as a minor player in the music-streaming world. Now Groove Music Pass is shutting down, although its Groove Music app lives on as a way for people to play their owned tracks.
The shutdown of a minor streaming service wouldn’t usually be our lead story, but what’s interesting is Microsoft’s new plans: a partnership with Spotify.
“We’re expanding our partnership with Spotify to bring the world’s largest music streaming service to our Groove Music Pass customers,” explained Groove general manager Jerry Johnson in a blog post. “Beginning this week, Groove Music Pass customers can easily move all their curated playlists and collections directly into Spotify.”
The alliance builds on Spotify’s recently-launched application for Microsoft’s Xbox One console, as well as the debut of its desktop app in the company’s Windows Store.
Spotify is currently the second most popular app in that store, with Pandora (in ninth place) the only other music app inside the top 20.
The potential of this partnership isn’t about transferring over Groove Music users. In May this year, Microsoft announced that its Windows 10 operating system had 500 million active users, up from 400 million in September 2016 with ambitions to reach 1bn in the next couple of years.
If the alliance evolves into something promoting Spotify directly to buyers of new Windows computers – Spotify as a preloaded application with a free trial of its premium tier, for example – it could be meaningful for the service’s growth.
Then again, those hundreds of millions of Windows users didn’t help Microsoft’s own service gain traction, so it’s perhaps best to set expectations low for now.