For a time, Microsoft's Music app on Windows 8 and Windows Phone was called Xbox Music. Then it became just Music, with little bits of Xbox Music branding still poking through. Today, Microsoft has given the service yet another new name: Groove.
Or perhaps it's Groove Music. The blog post announcing the change says "Groove" and we're told over Twitter that it's "Groove," but the screenshot in the blog post and the official website all currently say "Groove Music." Microsoft has also registered the domain groovemusic.com and has obtained access to the Twitter account @GrooveMusic.
For slightly more confusion, the subscription service giving access to the 40 million track library is now a Groove Music Pass, priced at $9.99 a month or $99 a year. UK and European pricing hasn't yet been announced, but it will presumably remain at £8.99/€9.99 per month. Xbox Music Passes will continue to work regardless of the renaming.
The announcement of the new name means that the Music app's icon now makes a little more sense. It switched from headphones to a record player a few builds back; it now looks that the record player is a stylized letter G. Awkwardly, the Groove name is already being used by a music app. Canadian startup Zikera has an app for Windows Phone and Windows 8 called "Groove: Smart Music Player." That Groove app ties into Last.fm to figure out what music you like. It's possible that Microsoft has come to some arrangement with this company, though Mary Jo Foley writes that Microsoft has nothing to announce in this regard.
Microsoft previously used the Groove name for non-music purposes. In 2005, Microsoft bought Groove Networks to acquire its Groove product for providing offline access to SharePoint files. Groove was initially developed by the creator of Lotus Notes, Ray Ozzie, and it was subsequently renamed to SharePoint Workspace. Today, it's been mostly superseded by OneDrive for Business.
The Xbox Video app was also renamed, though it has merely become "Movies & TV."
Microsoft's Joe Belfiore tweeted that the reason for both changes was simple: people who don't own Xboxes didn't think the Xbox-branded apps applied to them. With this change, the Xbox brand has once more become a pure gaming brand, not a broader media brand.