Microsoft is apparently preparing a music storage system to be combined with its subscription streaming service, Xbox Music. That feature would put Xbox Music on a more equal footing with Google’s All Access plan.
The discovery of this unannounced upcoming feature (which must be treated as speculative until Microsoft confirms it) belongs to a Chinese publication called LiveSino, which found source code references to a music locker component for Xbox Music. (Source code, including unpublished code that is not visible on a published web page, can be viewed by anybody — it’s not hacking.)
The hidden code reads in part:
Meet your OneDrive Music folder. Upload your music files to this folder, so that you can play them via Xbox Music from any of your devices. You can also add files to this folder using the OneDrive app for your computer.
Combining owned files with a cloud-based streaming service covers all the bases for users who likes streaming music, but still value their purchased music collections. Mixing the two parts together puts the music collection in the cloud, where it can influence the streaming song collection, or be accessed via the streaming service’s app.
That is the integration which Google emphasized when it launched All Access, a subscription-only plan. Amazon also offers upload-to-the-cloud service via its CloudPlayer app — it gives users multi-device access to their music collections stored online. but Amazon lacks (for now) a big-catalog streaming component. It is combining the two — celestial jukebox and personal collection — which Google has, and which Microsoft is apparently developing. The hybrid service eases the migration from owning music to accessing music.