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updated: 10/15/2012 7:00 AM

Xbox Music to offer on-demand music free on tablet

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Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Buyers of tablets that run Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 8, are in for a pleasant musical surprise.

They'll be able to pick from millions of songs and stream them for free as long as they put up with an audio ad every 15 minutes.

The new feature, called Xbox Music, is not on offer anywhere else at the moment.

Sweden's Spotify, for instance, allows free on-demand music on PCs but not tablets. That requires a $10 a month subscription.

Although it marks a step forward for the music industry, its appeal is limited by the expense of most mobile data plans. The free version of Xbox Music won't let you download songs and save them for offline playback. That requires paying $10 a month.

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