By NICK WINGFIELD
SEATTLE — Music fans have often viewed Microsoft as something like a bad cover band, one that pumped out uninviting facsimiles of Apple’s iPod and iTunes with its Zune music players and service.
Now that the Zune brand is dead, Microsoft is once again in search of a hit in digital music. But this time, to improve its odds of success, it is marshaling some of its most powerful brands as never before: Windows and the Xbox.
On Monday, the company plans to announce a service called Xbox Music that will offer access to a global catalog of about 30 million songs. The service will let consumers listen free to any song on computers and tablets running the latest version of its Windows software, as well as on the Xbox console. Microsoft will not initially limit how much music can be streamed, though that could change over time.