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All posts tagged "subscription"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zune Music Pass Launches In Australia

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 05:40 PM


Oh, yes, fellow Aussies. You'd better believe it. The Zune Music Pass has finally launched in Australia, which means 13 million songs and unlimited music video streaming are now at your fingertips on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PC, and web. You can get started now with a free 14-day trial; then, if it's to your liking, continue your subscription for $11.99 AUD per month, or go all out with an annual pass that nets you twelve months for the price of ten. Happy listening!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Zune Pass Price Coming Down?

Posted by Adam Krebs in "Zune Media" @ 09:42 AM


"Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, may cut the monthly fee it charges for streaming music on its Zune portable player, senior product manager Terry Farrell said in an interview. Zune Pass, which features unlimited music streaming and 10 song downloads a month, now costs $14.99. Farrell didn’t say by how much Microsoft may cut the service’s price. “It’s definitely a challenging business,” Farrell said, referring to competition in online music. Microsoft is contending with rivals that offer music at little or no charge, while striving to erode Apple Inc.’s lead in the market for digital music players and downloadable songs. RealNetworks Inc.’s Rhapsody service in April slashed the monthly price of a premium music service to $10 from $14.99."

This would be great if true, but I'm not sure that cost is what's holding people back from buying into the subscription service. Zune Pass is already a great deal with 10 credits/$15 unlimited, and I'm not sure how Rhapsody is faring with its price cut. I know that Napster hasn't seen a huge uptick since it went 5 credits/$5 a month. I think the problem is more in how to market such a service, which all three of these companies have struggled with in the past.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The 10 Free Tracks Explained

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 10:10 AM

“Zunerama has a great FAQ on Zune's new subscription model of Zune Pass + 10 free songs to keep per month. Inspired by the FAQ and in part by an email conversation with some friends (thanks Mike), I thought I would contribute a few thoughts by walking myself (and by proxy you) through the process of using these new credits on two albums in the Zune Marketplace and seeing where we end up.”

So I could take the time to walk everyone through all of the details of the surprising new 10 free songs feature. But Zunerama and Social Circle have done such a great job on their FAQs and walkthroughs that I’ll just redirect everyone to look at those instead! Zunerama’s FAQ is a great 10 question FAQ that just explains the basics and I think probably answers some of the confusion about this feature. The Social Circle walkthrough takes you through, complete with pictures, the process of getting tracks for both DRM and non-DRM tracks.

Both of these I think you’ll find invaluable resources to getting your monthly downloads as easily as you can!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Zune Pass: Not Always Perfect

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 10:38 AM


“This post has nothing to do with the Zune device itself as I really like my Zune and enjoying listening to it, but has more to do with the state of digital music. I have a Zune Pass which means that for a certain amount of money each month I am renting the music. I like this over having to buy everything in my collection as it allows me to try out songs and albums I might never take a chance on otherwise. It also provides a steady stream of money to the music business since I am not likely to purchase these albums anyway. The problem is that the record labels can pull the rights to the music at any time. On Friday I was driving home from work, and plugged my Zune into my car stereo system. I quickly discovered that a large amount of the music I listen to has be pulled from the Zune Marketplace. On my Zune itself I get a message that, "The item is missing or can't be played."”

First of all, Dale, you work for Microsoft man! If you have a problem with something here shouldn’t you be coming up with a solution? Or talking to someone involved with the Zune? The problem here seems to be that sometimes the record labels pull the rights to have music be part of the Zune Pass scheme. Personally I’ve never experienced this but it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to hear that it happens. I still don’t think the music industry knows what it’s really doing in the electronic realm.

That said, Zune Pass users do need to keep in mind that we are simply renting the songs. Suggestions such as letting the Zune Pass users get the expiring songs at a discount or keep them after they aren’t generally available just isn’t realistic. While I understand Dale's frustration, the benefits of the Zune Pass still far outweigh issues like this.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Apple to Trump Zune Pass?

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune News" @ 06:00 AM


“Is Apple ready to jump on the music subscription bandwagon? It seems out of character, since they won’t (at least so far) even go so far as to consider tiered pricing, but the reports are there. More to the point: does it make sense for Apple and the music industry?” - Michael Santo, RealTechNews.com

Whenever someone has ever asked me why I don’t have an iPod, I’ve always been very truthful in my answer. I would have had an iPod about three years ago if it wasn’t for the fact that I own almost no music. At that time, before the Zune, I was on board Plays For Sure and a Yahoo music subscription. That reasoning has held for a while now. Usually, the advice I’m given is to just steal the music. I am firmly against that. And so, when Microsoft offered the Zune, I jumped on it. I’m glad I wasn’t locked into the iPod ecosystem at that point because, music subscription aside, I think the Zune is a superior device. Not heads and shoulders above but it is likely to be my music player of choice for some time.

If this rumor is true and Apple is trying to come out with their own subscription model then Microsoft will lose one of its biggest edges. I think it’s almost essential that Apple comes out with subscription. Subscription is the future of content and despite Apple’s posturing, I’m sure it knows it. The plan that Apple proposes isn’t as good as what I currently can get with Zune but it does have a lot of merits. The premium on the player would pay itself off after just a few months for the end user. I can’t figure out how Apple would make any money on it that way but I’ll leave that in their hands.

Personally I’d like to see it happen so that all the people on iPods will finally come to understand what a music subscription is. I’m not sure if Apple’s business model is workable but if it is then the bar for Zune 3G will be that much higher!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Leander Kahney: An iTunes Subscription Service Won't Happen

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 06:09 AM


"Don't hold your breath for music subscriptions from Apple's iTunes music store -- Steve Jobs will never offer them. Renting music flies in the face of consumer behavior. Consumers want to buy music, not rent it, and a big part of Steve Jobs' genius is his firm, intuitive grasp of how consumers behave, and tailoring Apple's technology to accommodate it -- not the other way around."

Leander Kahney agrees with Steve Jobs' assessment of the music subscription concept. Once you get past him drooling over Steve and his "firm, intuitive grasp" he does offer a good point of view for why people may not be interested in music subscriptions. The reason he gives is mainly that he doesn't listen to much new music. He has things that he knows he likes to listen to and doesn't want anything else. I know a lot of people who listen to music like this. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that either. On that front, I completely agree with Mr. Kahney. If you aren't looking for anything other than what you already listen to then just buy your music and be done with it.

Of course, I do disagree with him on an important point. He's operating under the assumption that the service is meant to be used as a vehicle to discover new music. While you CAN do that it’s not easy. Yahoo is actually very good for this as they recommend music to you based on your preferences. Zune Marketplace doesn't do this so the only real way to discover music is to slog through the catalogue.

Music subscription is not for everyone. I'm in my mid-twenties and the bands I mostly listen to today aren't the same ones I listened to ten years. For me, music subscription is an absolutely incredible service. I think what would really help other people discover the service is simply better marketing and education about what subscription really is and how to make it work for you. I'll save that for another time. In the meantime, if your music consumption resembles Mr. Kahney then you can probably pass on subscription.

Tags: subscription

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jobs Says No One Wants a Subscription

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 09:24 PM

"Never say never, but customers don't seem to be interested in it," Jobs told Reuters in an interview after Apple reported blow-out quarterly results. "The subscription model has failed so far."

Statements like that take me back to the heady days right at the turn of the new millennium. There was a company called Palm that made all sorts of claims about what the customers did and did not want. The customers amazingly never wanted what the company didn't offer. I see a parallel here. Everyone says Microsoft can't beat Apple at this game and Apple is invincible. No, they're not.

Two of the largest services, Napster and Rhapsody, lay claim to nearly 2.3 million subscribers. Yahoo doesn't release their numbers and I could find no information about what the Zune subsciber base is. The estimated number of people who own an MP3 player in the United States is about 60 million. About 45 million people own an iPod. That leaves us with a mere 15 million people who own something else. For the time being, I'm going to pretend that only Napster and Rhapsody exist since I have no other numbers. That means that at least 15% of non-iPod owners have a subscription service.

I wouldn't be surprised if the actual number was closer to 20%. So does no one want a subscription service? Hardly. I think so many people have bought into the "me-too" craze of owning an iPod that they've totally missed out on subscriptions simply because they don't have it available.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Are You A Sucker for Zune Pass?

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 06:45 AM


"Last month the Zune was released, and now the way I listen to music has changed radically again. Music makes me really happy, and I’m listening to more of it and I’m discovering new types of music too. I do like the Zune better than the iPod, but that’s not the point of this post or really the reason that I’m listening to new music. Every Zune comes with a free 14 day free trial of Zune’s subscription music service - that's what changed everything. I may never buy another CD. I’ll warn you, if you try it you may get hooked just like I did."

Much like Terry Gold, I love music and I love discovering new artists, so I wasn't the least bit surprised to find that I was able to relate to his love for Zune Pass - an all-you-can-eat music service (similar to URGE et al.) that the iPod/iTunes ecosystem lacks. For the cost to own roughly one album per month, you gain access to many, and that's a hard deal to beat. As "rented" music (good for as long as the subscription is active), the DRM isn't overly restrictive; while tunes cannot be burned, or synced to more than two devices, they can be played back on three computers and even the Xbox 360 (either via the Zune software or the Zune player). That's a reasonable amount of playback rights for most people. This new door to music is one edge that the Zune has over the iPod, and is even the reason that some people have chosen a Zune over an iPod this Christmas. Are you in that boat?

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Zune Pass Details Revealed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Off Topic" @ 05:19 PM


"Open the door to a whole new way of downloading music with the Zune Pass subscription. Zune Pass offers ‘all you can eat’ access to discover and explore millions of songs on Zune Marketplace. Browse the entire Zune Marketplace online catalog, then download as many tracks or albums as you like. Explore new genres or find old favorites. It's an absolute smorgasbord of music! What's more, once you download your songs, you can sync them to your Zune for music on the go. What's not to love? There are three ways to get your Zune Pass: Get your tunes month-to-month with a monthly Zune Pass. For only $14.99 a month, plus applicable taxes, you can explore and download as many songs as you like from Zune Marketplace. Your subscription will automatically renew itself at the end of each month."

Details about Zune Pass, the monthly subscription service, are now public and official over on Zune.net. I wish I could say there were some cool surprises, but there aren't: $14.99 a month will give you access to "millions" of songs, and as long as you keep paying the monthly fee, you get to keep all the music you downloaded. It's like cable TV, though it seems people have a hard time thinking of music that way. They also offer a three monthly option for, are you ready for this, $44.97. If you're quick with math, you'll notice that's 3 x $14.99. Why offer a three month option at no discount? You got me - it makes no sense. The good news is that they'll offer a 14 day trial, without a credit card, meaning you can load up your Zune with 30 GB of music and listen to it for two full weeks. That's really cool when you think about it - nicely done Zune team!

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