Microsoft won't be moving to a free, ad-supported streaming model for Xbox Music on the upcoming Xbox One console, the company confirmed to The Verge. The news comes despite a tweet earlier this week from Albert Penello, Microsoft’s head of product planning for Xbox One, initially suggesting Microsoft would shift gears from subscription to ad supported, in the vein of Spotify's free tier. But Penello recanted his statements on Wednesday, tweeting:
I was wrong about Music on XboxOne: You get 15 free song plays then need Music Pass for ad-free streaming. No ad-supported streaming. Sorry!— Albert Penello (@albertpenello) November 6, 2013
Penello's original tweet indicated that Xbox One owners wouldn’t need to subscribe to the Xbox Music service to stream music, instead saying users would "get periodic ads." Even in that case, an Xbox Live Gold subscription would have been necessary to access the music app.
@Artemis_Rojo yes. You don't have to subscribe, but you will get periodic Ads.— Albert Penello (@albertpenello) November 4, 2013
The current versions of Xbox Music for Windows 8.1 and the web allow users to stream ad-supported music, but the Xbox 360 version is restricted to subscribers. The change would have placed the Xbox One version inline with Microsoft’s Windows and web variants. However, Microsoft responded to Penello's tweet with the following statement, clarifying that a free ad-supported streaming model will not be coming to Xbox One in the near future, but rather, a free trial of 15 songs or 30 days free:
Enjoying Xbox Music on Xbox One does require an Xbox Music Pass, similar to Xbox 360. Users will receive 15 free song plays before having to enter their Music Pass. New users can also sign up for a free 30 day trial. With a Music Pass, you have access to your personal music collection and can stream unlimited, ad-free music. You can use Xbox Music alongside other activities on Xbox One, including games, through Snap mode. Xbox Music is an all-in-one music service that does offer an ad-supported, free streaming option on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and online at Music.Xbox.com.
So unfortunately, Penello's comments turn out to have been nothing to get excited about, after all.
Updated to add clarification from Microsoft and correct the record.