Microsoft is ditching its Groove Music subscription service. And if you’d never heard of it, that probably tells you all you need to know.
Groove launched in July 2015 as a combination of a rebrand of the Xbox Music service and a replacement of the Zune service (which itself was tied to a largely failed range of portable music players.)
It was a subscription service with no ad-supported free tier. As with some of its more popular rivals, it combined the user’s personal collection with streaming of a large catalog. There was also an option to buy tracks outright to play without needing to stream.
The problem was that it didn’t have any obvious advantages to persuade people who were willing to pay a music subscription to use it ahead of Google Music, Spotify Premium or the various Apple offerings.
Microsoft says the streaming and download elements will be axed on December 31. After that the Groove Music apps will only play locally stored music. Monthly subscribers will receive a proportional refund for however long their final month extends past December 31 (assuming they don’t cancel earlier.)
Annual subscribers will also get an automated proportional refund to cover the rest of their subscription period past that date. You’ll need to check the card or other payment details are up to date as if Microsoft can’t automatically refund the money, it will instead pay 120% of the amount in the form of Microsoft gift card.
Annual subscribers also now have the option to cancel before the end of the year and receive a proportional refund on the same basis. Those who cancel within 30 days of starting an annual subscription will get a full refund.
An update to the app will roll out over the next two weeks and will allow customers to automatically transfer their playlists and existing music collections to Spotify (or at least those tracks which are on Spotify).