Sorry, folks, the Zune Marketplace isn't turning into "Xbox Music." In fact, there's no such service as "Xbox Music."
Earlier today, stories began circulating about how Microsoft was planning to launch a new music service for the Xbox 360 later this year. The service was dubbed "Xbox Music" and was supposedly announced at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference by CEO Steve Ballmer. Speculation immediately led a lot of folks to suppose that this was the eventual fate of the Zune Marketplace. Now, it turns out that this was actually all due to an error in the article that covered the conference.
Up until now, Microsoft hasn't been willing to comment on the future of the Zune Marketplace, but- since this story was erroneous- it had no problem issuing a statement:
"Reports that Microsoft is launching a new music service on Xbox this fall are inaccurate. A recent demonstration of upcoming Xbox features showcased what we will deliver later this fall on Xbox, including voice search with Bing on Xbox to locate and access entertainment content on the console. This includes Zune music which has a catalog of more than 11 million tracks."
The original story was posted over at Business Insider, which has since printed the following correction:
An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that Microsoft is launching a new music service called Xbox Music this fall. This is wrong. Users (in some geographies) can already access 11 million songs on the Zune Marketplace via Xbox Live, and this service is not changing. What's coming this fall is voice commands through Kinect, and the way to get that music is to say "Xbox. Music." So that's the command, not a new name service.
So, once again, the future of Zune Marketplace is firmly relegated to the realm of rumors, uncertainty, and guesswork.