Microsoft reportedly working on new music service

Apparently Microsoft wants to start up a new music streaming platform even though it already has one called the Zune Music Pass.

There are reports that the software giant has been in discussions with major record labels about launching a new service, but details about exactly how Microsoft plans to differentiate it from the other offerings on the market have not been exposed.

Right now, Microsoft’s Zune Music Pass allows users to stream as much music as they want for a monthly fee. This type of model has not been a runaway success for any company, as platforms like Rhapsody and Napster learned. It’s not a terrible business model, but it just doesn’t rake in a whole lot of money because users want to own their music.

The Zune Music Pass is of course named after the now-defunct Zune music player, so it would make sense for Microsoft to want to get rid of that moniker. It was also primarily designed for that device, whereas now the company wants to focus its entertainment content on the Xbox platform.

Sony has a streaming music platform on the PS3 known as Music Unlimited. It has a two-tier structure that also offers unlimited streaming, but with a premium subscription users can download individual song files. The basic subscription works more like Pandora in that users are prompted to tune into one of several different online radio stations.

If Microsoft is in talks with the record labels, that can only mean it wants to do something different than what its licenses with those companies already allows. We’ll stay on top of this story.