Microsoft recently rebranded its music service from Xbox Music to Groove Music, and the reason is pretty simple: consumer confusion.
In a tweet earlier this week, Microsoft’s corporate VP for operating systems Joe Belfiore said "Lots of people were saying ‘I don't have an Xbox, why would I use Xbox Music?’"
It’s easy to see why consumers would be confused, with the Xbox brand focused on gaming for over a decade. That said, Sony is using the same logic with PlayStation, with a music, TV and movie streaming services all available under the brand.
Microsoft recently dropped the Xbox moniker from the Video app as well, shoving the Xbox brand back into gaming-only. Groove will be its own brand, similar to Zune, focused directly on music.
Whether this has any effect on the success of Microsoft’s music streaming service, we are still unsure. Groove is certainly more...groovy than Xbox Music, but without the brand recognition and lack of advertising, we cannot see how Microsoft plans to win over customers.
Add to that the fact Microsoft has to compete against Spotify, Rdio, Tidal, Google Play All Access and Apple Music, it is going to be a tough battle. Microsoft needs to have the same investment Apple is putting into its own music streaming service, with Internet radio, social networking and curated playlists, to stand a chance.
The problem if Microsoft does not see music as its core market, meaning it is likely to receive little to no advertising, like Zune.