By Claire Reilly

2011 has been the year of ‘listen-when-you-like’, with a range of new music streaming services getting their start this year, vying for dominance in a burgeoning consumer market.

The year has seen the launches of the Samsung Music Hub and Sony Music Unlimited, with JB Hi-Fi set to launch JB NOW before Christmas. Now Microsoft has joined the fold, with the announcement today of the Zune Music Pass and Zune Marketplace for Xbox, Windows Phone and PC – services that will be in direct competition with Samsung, Sony and JB.

Described as an “all-you-can-eat” music service, Zune offers unlimited access to a catalogue of 13 million tracks, accessible through multiple devices for a subscription fee of $11.99 per month or AUD $119.90 per year. The service will also offer music video streaming on Windows-PC and Xbox LIVE “later this year” according to the company.

In addition to the Zune Music Pass, Microsoft has launched the Zune Marketplace, allowing users to purchase and download individual songs or albums that can be accessed across their Windows Phone and PC, without the need for a Zune Pass subscription.

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“We are giving Australians the option to choose how they want to organise their music collections,” said Microsoft director consumer channels group, David McLean. “They can stream unlimited songs across their favourite devices with the Zune Music Pass or buy tracks to own and collect with the Music Marketplace, so whichever their preference we have an option for them.”

“Australians have such a strong passion for music and it is an important part of the entertainment mix – we are thrilled to bring this service to Australia and give people alternatives in how they wish to play their favourite songs,” he said.

The Zune Music Pass and Zune Music Marketplace will join Zune Movies, a service that has been running for almost two years. Zune Music will be available from today through an Xbox, smartphone or the Zune website.

Microsoft's Zune Music Pass offers unlimited music for $11.99 per month.