Liveside.net reports that it has discovered evidence of an upcoming embedded music player feature in Microsoft's SkyDrive service. Reference to the unannounced feature was discovered within the code of the current version of SkyDrive.com which describes "MusicPlayer" followed by a variable containing "MusicPlayer," and "getPlaylist".
In addition to discovering the code, the site also supposedly obtained resource images relating to the music player from an internal testing version (v17 or Wave 6) of SkyDrive.com. This set of images include play, pause, forward, backward and other media functions using the "Metro" or "Modern" typeface.
The move to add music playback to SkyDrive shouldn't be a surprise given that Amazon and Google have offered this type of service for quite a while. Users of the competitors' services can upload music to the cloud and stream or download to any mobile or stationary Internet-connected device. Both Google and Amazon offer a limited number of uploads for the free accounts (20,000 and 5 GB respectively), but purchased music is excluded from those limits.
Rumors of a music player in SkyDrive have been around since Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" back in May 2011. Later on at E3 2012, Microsoft introduced the multi-platform Xbox Music service, signifying that the "Xbox" brand was no longer merely associated with console gaming, and would replace the "Live" and "Zune" branding. At the time, rumors of a SkyDrive music player surfaced again, backed by sighting of album covers in SkyDrive folders.
Then in October when Microsoft officially launched the all-in-one Xbox Music music service, the company confirmed that cloud storage would be integrated into the service next year. It was unclear whether Microsoft would take the same route Google initially did with Google Music (separate virtual lockers), or if Microsoft would simply tie Xbox Music into SkyDrive.
"Available in the coming year, a scan-and-match feature will take you beyond the 30 million tracks globally offered through Xbox Music," the company said. "It will add all the music you own to your Xbox Music cloud catalog, including music acquired through other services. This means you can add almost any content you have to your personal Xbox Music collection, even if it’s not available in the Xbox Music catalog."
Xbox Music on Windows 8 offers a free Pandora-like service, allowing users to create a new radio station – or Smart DJ in Microsoft's case – by typing in their favorite artist. The app also offers playlist creation, playback of locally stored music, the ability to purchase music, and to test drive Xbox Music Pass which is a subscription-based music service for steaming Microsoft's library of tunes to compatible devices.
We expect to hear more about SkyDrive and Xbox Music at CES 2013 in January, so stay tuned.