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All posts tagged "zune pass"


Friday, August 12, 2011

Have Music Subscription Service Finally Gone Mainstream?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 01:00 PM

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/glob...article2124186/

"Acquiring new music can be a very addictive and expensive hobby. Downloading an album or the new single from that hot new band from iTunes a few times a month can add up quickly. Which is why new subscription services are garnering so much buzz lately - for $5 to $10 a month these websites offer an easy, affordable (and somewhat legal) way to get all the music you want."

I can hear the people inside the Zune offices at Microsoft screaming "We've been doing this for years!?!" as they sob quietly in their cubicles. For whatever reason - likely because it's Microsoft - the Zune Pass option just never managed to gain wide-spread traction. The price probably had a lot to do with it - $15 is too expensive for many people, especially when the competition comes in closer to the $10 price point.

I've personally never really gravitated toward a service like this because my own collection of music is somewhere in the realm of 14,000 songs. When it comes to needing music to listen to, I've got it covered - however, I've shifted from purchasing full CDs to the more common practice of cherry-picking the tracks I want and the growth of that collection has slowed considerably.

The social aspect of these services may be their most compelling feature; I just signed up for a trial of Rdio, a service I'd heard of but hadn't tried, and I'm really impressed with how I can see what others are listening to and explore music in different ways. Yes, Zune has had similar features for a while now, but I've never found the Web-based version of Zune very intuitive or functional. Part of that is the ongoing struggle I have being a Canadian trying to use Zune services. I grew tired of the cat-and-mouse game with the Zune team making it increasingly more difficult for non-supported countries to access Zune goodness. But let's not get started down that road, or I'll be spitting at my screen in no time.

Do you subscribe to a service like Rdio, Spotify, Rhapsody, Zune Pass, etc.?


Monday, January 17, 2011

Nokia Shuts Down "Ovi", Music Streaming Service, in 27 Countries

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Competition" @ 04:06 PM

http://unplugged.rcrwireless.com/in...-music-service/

"Nokia Corp. has announced it will be shutting down its Ovi Music unlimited subscription service in 27 countries. The service - similar to Microsoft Corp.'s Zune Pass - allowed people to pay a set fee to access as much music as they wanted, legally and conveniently. Originally launched with much fanfare in Britain in late 2008, and seen as a major threat to the iTunes dominated market with Nokia securing all four major music publishes [sic], it has seen a sad decline in most markets."

Subscription music is a hard sell, so it's not surprising to see Nokia giving up on it - I have to commend them on getting it all up and running in so many countries in the first place...it's something Microsoft hasn't been able to do with Zune as of yet. Hell, I can't even buy music from the Zune Marketplace in Canada, let alone have a Zune Pass subscription. A key problem with Nokia's Ovi approach was that it locked the music to the handset - I don't think there was a way to get it onto the user's computer. The concept of subscription music is also hard for people to wrap their heads around, even though it's similar to a cable TV subscription.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Zune Marketplace Expands Elsewhere in the World - Sort Of

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune News" @ 05:44 PM

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/...zuneintlpr.mspx

"REDMOND, Wash. - Sep. 20, 2010 - Microsoft Corp. today announced the further international expansion of Zune, its digital entertainment service. This fall, Zune will expand its music and video footprint and bring the free Zune software, Zune Marketplace online store, Zune Pass music subscription service and enhanced features on Zune.net to new markets, providing a comprehensive entertainment experience on Windows-based PCs, on the go with Windows Phone 7 and in your living room through Xbox LIVE. "The integration between Zune, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE is an exciting expansion in our entertainment offerings," said Craig Eisler, corporate vice president, Interactive Entertainment Business Group at Microsoft. "Zune enables users to access the entertainment they want, wherever they want it - and now, more people than ever will be able to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that the Zune service offers." "

No surprises here, except perhaps that Microsoft has failed to expand the world-wide reach of the Zune Pass as much as I'd hoped they would. I live in Canada and was hoping - no, expecting - to be able to get a Zune Pass to go along with my upcoming Windows Phone 7 purchase. Here are the highlights:

  • The Zune Pass is coming to the U.K., France, Italy and Spain - consumers in that country will get the full subscription package for £8.99 / €9.99. However - and this is a bit of an issue for some - there are no free 10 tracks per month.
  • Music purchase is available in the U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany - this means MP3s from the Zune Marketplace.
  • Video purchases from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Movie rentals from the Zune Marketplace for the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Is that a confusing mess, or what? As a Canadian, I can buy videos from the Zune Marketplace, and rent them, but I can't buy music? Or can't get a Zune Pass for the Windows Phone 7 device I'm pretty sure Rogers is going to be launching here in the next 90 days? Ridiculous. And why can someone in Ireland rent a movie, but not buy one? The Germans will be able to purchase MP3s from the Zune Marketplace, but they can't get a Zune Pass? And my head will explode if I try to figure out who can do what with Xbox Live - I've been able to rent movies from Xbox Live for months, but I can't rent them or purchase them on my PC.

This not the unified vision I was hoping to see from Microsoft. This is a slapdash, fragmented effort that fails to deliver a solid entertainment experience to everyone in the countries Microsoft is supporting. Yeah, yeah, I know that this is complicated legal stuff, but if Apple can get it done, why can't Microsoft? I'm tired of having to use a loophole to purchase music from Amazon. I'm tired of iTunes being the only source for video purchases I have available. I was hoping Microsoft was going to deliver a solid solution here, and they haven't. It's no wonder Apple is kicking ass and taking names when this is the best their competition can do.

The glimmer of good news in all this is that there's finally a new release of the Zune desktop software; I hope they've added useful features and improved performance, both of which are sorely needed.

What's your take on this? Am I being too hard on Microsoft? Should I be patting them on the back for achieving a tiny fraction of the digital entertainment unity that Apple has been able to create?

The remainder of the press release is after the break. Read more...


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