Microsoft’s attempt to compete with Spotify and Apple Music has reached its end. Groove Music was a well-built platform that had all the makings of a market leader, but as the last cab off the rank, it never managed to gain back the ground it had lost before it even started.
The end of Groove isn’t a massive shock, but the way in which Microsoft will be shuttering its music offering is. If you are a Groove user, you will be automatically transitioned to Spotify in an arrangement that will have Spotify senior management patting each other on the back.
While the obvious increase in users will be useful for Spotify, arguably even more important will be the change to the Groove website which will now be used as a transition tool and a promotional tool for Spotify. This positions the streaming service as the best option as far as Microsoft is concerned.
This can be seen as a kick in the face for Apple, but the reality is that Microsoft had no choice. Having transitioned Groove out of the ashes of the failed Xbox Music product, which in turn was a rebranded version of failed music service, Zune, the business was in danger of becoming a graveyard for music services. Secondly, due to the competitive nature of Microsoft’s relationship with Apple, and the fact that encouraging people to use a single Apple product is a gateway to more Apple products, the only option left was Spotify.
It’s unlikely that too many tears will be shed at Microsoft. Music is always felt like an add-on for a company that has never suited incorporating third-party options. By definition, the music industry requires an acceptance of third-party products and an understanding that distribution platforms cannot be involved in the intentional promotion of certain brands or bands beyond acknowledging the launch of new albums or singles. Microsoft by nature likes to control the inputs and generate manageable outputs as a result.
Spotify and Microsoft will likely make ideal partners through this
transitionary period.