When you think of the word “Woodstock”, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If it’s not a new streaming music service by Microsoft, don’t feel bad. For one, most of us are probably thinking about the traditional Woodstock, the outdoor music fest that was an historical event back in 1969. Two, it’s not technically even out yet (it’s scheduled to make its debut at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in June). And three, the name is actually a work in progress. However, with some of the features that it plans to provide to its consumers, it’s a pretty safe assumption that Microsoft doesn’t mind being compared to “the other Woodstock”. Not in the least.
What this service is designed to do is replace their current Zune media service. If you’re not familiar with Zune, it’s basically a combined music and video software that can sync up your digital media to any Windows phone or laptop.
Woodstock is basically like an upgrade as Microsoft works to continually build its highly-successful Xbox brand. It will be available to various platforms including Windows 8, iOS, Android and Xbox users and it will be easily accessible from any browser. One perk that is piquing the interest of people is that it will not require any browser plug-ins (which can sometimes be a pain when it comes to updating other software while finding plug-in compatibility). It will also be a service that can easily assimilate with Facebook. This means that Facebook users will be able to conveniently build their own playlists while sharing some of them with their Facebook friends. The engineers are also exploring a way to create a feature that will be similar to iTunes Match in the sense that users will also be able to be able to retrieve their existing music collection from within the service (in other words, Zune subscribers can keep their current subscription if that is what they would prefer to do once Zune has transitioned to Woodstock).
If you’re getting excited just thinking about it, the heads up about the Expo in LA is that it’s basically the “red carpet event” for Woodstock. It actually won’t be available for the general public until sometime later within the year; presumably around the same time that Windows 8 and the Windows Phone 8 plan to make their debut.
It’s also worth noting that even with the upcoming premiere of Woodstock, it is highly unlikely that Microsoft will showcase any forthcoming Xbox hardware at the expo, or in the immediate future, for that matter.
However, as Woodstock is gaining more and more momentum as being what the media has referred to as being Spotify-like, it will be interesting to see how consumers will ultimately respond to it. This is a service that could prove to be fun and user-friendly certainly for music fans, but even as it relates to professionals in the music industry. Sharing playlists could be a convenient approach for them too. For example, think about what it could do for certain music entertainers when it comes to how they use their DJ equipment. Playing playlists from their phone (or Xbox) could definitely make their load a lot lighter (literally).
Thus far, this is the information that Windows has released regarding what Woodstock has to offer, but as we all know, technology changes daily. Besides, chances are, if the name of the service is not yet set in stone, there actually may be a couple of more surprises during “its” official debut. Stay tuned and in the meantime, prepare to say your goodbyes to Zune.
Evan Fischer is a contributing writer for Unique Squared, where you can find the best pro audio and DJ equipment, like the Mackie SRM450, at the lowest prices