It's not quite Christmas yet, but Microsoft's kicking off the season of giving with an insanely generous offer from Xbox Music and its Music Deals companion app. Make that offers: The company's giving away 100 full-length albums for free and 50 additional multi-album box sets for just $2 through the weekend. (Update: Folks on Twitter and Facebook tell me this is a U.S.-only deal.)
These aren't garbage throwaway albums nobody's hear of before, either--they're music that people actually want. Here's a small selection of the free albums:
Night Visions by Imagine Dragons
The Joshua Tree by U2
Let it Bleed by The Rolling Stones
808s and Heartbreak by Kanye West
Catch a Fire by Bob Marley
Born to Die -- The Paradise Edition by Lana Del Ray
Quadrophenia by The Who
Unplugged by Eric Clapton
Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne
Sublime by Sublime
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are no duds here, nor any strings--the albums are free as in beer free aside from the need for a Microsoft account. Once you've claimed them, they're permanently added to your Xbox Music cloud account for anywhere, everywhere streaming. Even better, you can download MP3s of the music anytime you'd like.
As cool as the free tunes are, the $2 box sets are almost more compelling. You'll find a ton of top-tier music collections available, including Nirvana's "With the Lights Out," John Lennon's "Signature Box," Frank Sinatra's "The Complete Capitol Singles," complete studio album sets from The Doors, The Grateful Dead, ZZ Top, and Led Zeppelin, and a whole, whole lot more.
Each for $2 a pop? Fuhgeddaboutit. That's crazy good.
How to claim the free Xbox Music Deals
To get in on the action, you'll need to download Microsoft's Music Deals app for Windows 8 or Windows Phone (which normally offers full studio albums for $1 or $2, rotating weekly).
Just fire it up, find a deal you want to claim, and click the Get It For Free button. You'll be asked if you want to switch to the Xbox Music app; say Yes, then once the album opens in Xbox Music, click the Get it free button located above the individual tracks.
That's it! Just lather, rinse, and repeat for each free album or $2 box set you're interested in.