Free music streaming destinations are getting more scarce, with Microsoft today announcing that from December 1st it will no longer be offering a free, ad-supported Xbox Music streaming option. Moving forwards, to access the streaming music service you will have to pay $9.99 per month for an Xbox Music Pass.
Microsoft isn't being too specific on why they're dropping the free music streaming option. In their FAQ on the matter, the company said they are focusing their efforts on delivering the "ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience for our customers". It appears that switching to a paid-only model is part of their plans.
Free music streaming was an option through Xbox Music on Windows 8.1 and on the web; to stream on mobile devices you had to purchase the Xbox Music Pass anyway. People who have purchased an Xbox Music Pass, or have purchased individual tracks or albums through the service, will be unaffected by the changes.
Dropping free streaming brings the feature set of Xbox Music closer to some of its competitors, such as Google Play Music. However, streaming music big guns Spotify still offer free streaming through their desktop, web and mobile apps, so if you really want to continue listening for free you'll have to switch services.