Earlier this week Microsoft announced that it was going to be re-branding some of its media services with the release of Windows 10. Xbox Video will just be called Movies & TV, while Xbox Music is going to be called Groove.
The blog post announcing the new branding talks a lot about the UI changes in a way that just causes my eyes to glaze over. I think I'll have to actually use the new interface to really grok what they're talking about.
But one new feature mentioned for Groove has already become available in Xbox Music: the ability to stream songs from your OneDrive without paying a subscription. Hat tip to The Verge for bringing this to my attention.
Of course you'll need a Microsoft account but if you have a Onedrive account you've already got that covered. Just create a folder (if you don't already have one) called Music at the top level of your OneDrive, copy some music into it, and then fire up the latest version of the Xbox Music app on your phone (here're links for Android and iOS) and (after a few moments spent syncing) you should see your OneDrive music in the app.
You can stream your music or store it for offline listening on your phone. A free OneDrive account gives you 15 GB of storage so you might need to be a bit choosy (or spend $1.99/month for a 100 GB plan) but this seems like a great deal for folks who don't want to pay for a subscription and maybe have some bootleg or street musician tracks that they can't get on a free streaming service.
Now that I have you excited about this new feature, here's a huge caveat. The Xbox Music OneDrive page specifically says that Android and iOS devices are NOT supported. But it works on my Android phone, so maybe that OneDrive page needs to be updated? In any case it's free so why not give it a try?