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article imageMicrosoft rebranding Xbox Music to 'Groove'

By James Walker     Jul 7, 2015 in Technology
Microsoft has announced it is rebranding its Xbox Music streaming service to "Groove Music" ahead of the launch of Windows 10. The company cites consumer confusion about the use of the Xbox brand as the reason for the change.
Xbox Music appears to have been going through a name change for some time. In the Windows 10 preview builds, it has appeared as just "Music," a name that the Windows Phone apps have also always used.
Yesterday, a reference to a "Groove Music Pass" was found inside Microsoft's new Phone Companion Windows 10 app. Seemingly a rebranded form of the existing $9.99/month Xbox Music Pass which provides free unlimited access to the Xbox Music streaming catalogue, speculation turned to confirmation just hours later when Microsoft formally announced the name change.
In a blog post called "Entertainment on Windows 10," the company explains that "Groove" was chosen as the new brand because "it describes what people feel and do while listening to music." However loose that may be, the long-rumoured brand change is now finally official.
The Windows 10 Music app will acquire the new branding soon, followed by the Music app in Windows 10 Mobile. The change explains why the existing app's icon seems to be a highly-stylised "G" character in the shape of a record.
In a tweet to Neowin's Brad Sams, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore clarified the brand change is required because of a long-standing suspicion among fans: consumers are confused by Microsoft's usage of the Xbox name. What used to be a pure gaming division now also has incorporated music and video streaming services, the positions of which have not been made clear to the average consumer.
Belfiore's tweet typifies what has already been heard before as he reveals how Microsoft has been asked by customers whether an Xbox is required in order to use Xbox Music. By separating the differing interests, Xbox can return to what it does best in the gaming world and Microsoft's streaming services have a better chance of succeeding amid the intense competition in the market.
Xbox Music subscribers should note that there will be no loss of functionality in the apps after the renaming is complete and that the Xbox team has worked hard to create its polished Windows 10 apps. Microsoft is not selling Xbox Music and it does not appear to be buying the independent "Groove" music app that is already in the Windows store either, as some have suggested. The change does seem to be just a simple renaming.
It isn't just Xbox Music that is getting a rebrand though. Microsoft has also confirmed that the Xbox Video moniker has been dropped by the wayside too and replaced by the simpler "Movies & TV." Both brands will debut publicly with Windows 10 later this month.
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