Software update will
enable Zune users to tag songs and buy music directly from FM radio and
download and stream music on the go beginning Sept. 16.
REDMOND, Wash. —
Sept. 8, 2008 — Zune, Microsoft Corp.’s end-to-end music and entertainment
service, again revolutionizes how customers discover and connect to the music
they love, where and how they want it. Starting next week, every Zune portable
media player will let consumers wirelessly download or stream millions of songs
on the go from thousands of wireless hot spots around the country. Free,
powerful software and firmware updates will give Zune owners the ability to
discover, tag and purchase songs directly from the built-in FM radio,
wirelessly access the Zune Marketplace store on the go, and tap into
interactive, personalized music recommendations that add even more value to the
Zune Pass subscription. Zune is also expanding its device lineup with new 16GB
and 120GB capacities as well as shiny new blue-on-silver and sleek all-black
color schemes. The new features will begin rolling out on Sept. 16, 2008.
“Digital music services really come alive when they help
people find not only the music they know they like, but the music they didn’t
know they would love,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of Global
Marketing for Zune at Microsoft. “With the combination of subscription,
wireless access to millions of tracks, and powerful discovery features like
personal recommendations and the ability to buy music from FM radio, Zune is
taking the digital music experience to the next level.”
More than 61 percent of people say they discover new music
by listening to the radio. (1) With that in mind, Zune is taking advantage of
the wireless connection and the built-in FM tuner to deliver a new feature
called Buy from FM, which lets customers tag and purchase songs they hear on FM
radio stations (2) directly from the Zune device. When the customer is in a
Wi-Fi hot spot, the song can be immediately downloaded to the Zune device. If
Wi-Fi is not available, the device will have a queue of songs ready to download
when connected to a home computer or in a hot spot. Buy from FM uses Radio Data
System and RT+ data feeds within the FM broadcast frequencies that identify
song and artist data and enable the Zune service to identify and deliver the
track to the customer.
In addition, users can now access the Zune Marketplace music
store directly from their device when they are in a recognized Wi-Fi hot spot,
or through a home wireless network. To make it easy to discover music on the
go, customers can browse lists of featured new releases and top songs and
albums sorted by genre, or use the on-screen keypad to type in the song of
their choice. Once they have picked a track or album, they can either download
it or stream it directly to the Zune device.
Zune customers have a choice in how they acquire music: They
can pay per track or choose a Zune Pass subscription. Zune Pass subscribers can
download or stream music to the device or their computer interchangeably, all
for a flat rate of $14.99 per month. So whether a device has 4 GB or 120 GB of
storage, Zune Pass customers can access and stream millions of songs directly
to their Zune.
More Ways to Discover
Music: Channels and Picks
The new Zune software update taps expert sources,
recommendations from the Zune service and online music community, and the
user’s own play data to create a dynamic, digital music experience where
discovering music is easy and seamless.
- Channels. Channels are an exciting new tool for music
discovery. Customers can explore channels programmed by experts from the music
industry such as the Billboard Top 100, The FADER magazine and KEXP radio, in
addition to workout-themed channels tailored for high, medium and low impact,
and top chart channels from all genres and subgenres. The powerful Zune
software will even create custom channels for each user, based on favorite
artists and genres. Channels are included with a monthly Zune Pass subscription
and can be synced to the device for playback on the go. For non-Zune Pass
subscribers, the Channels are available for a la carte purchase.
- Personal Picks. Now the Zune software learns what kind of
music users like and makes personal recommendations. When users log onto Zune
Marketplace, they’ll find a new area called Picks where the Zune recommendation
algorithm will suggest artists, albums and tracks based on the music they have
been listening to, as well as channels they might like and listeners like them
in the Zune Social.
- The Zune Social online music community. Customers can
connect with millions of like-minded fans and share music via the Zune Card, a
real-time playlist of each user’s favorite and recently played tracks that can
be accessed on the Web or within the Zune software, or synced to the Zune
device. Zune Pass subscribers can play full tracks from Zune Cards synced to
their device while on the go, and now the playlists will even automatically
update with the most recently played tracks when Zune connects to a wireless
hot spot. It’s like subscribing to a free feed of music from the sources people
trust most — their friends.
The Zune PC software is a free download at
http://www.zune.net that provides rich discovery and media management
capabilities to help consumers make the most of their existing music
collections, in addition to providing access to the Zune Social and Zune Marketplace
so they can add to it.
- Mixview. Customers can select an artist, album or Zune Card
to activate a dynamic, visual mosaic of related music and listeners. With each
click users can take the view in a new direction, creating a fun, graphical way
to discover new music. Mixview works with users’ current collection of music,
in addition to tracks and albums from across the Zune Marketplace.
- Now Playing. The improved Now Playing view is more
interactive and cinematic. Users can sit back and enjoy the combination of
great artist imagery, colorful effects, bio information and data from the Zune
online music community, all combined in a full-screen view. They can also click
to dive deeper into the music behind the picture, providing another great way
to interact with their collection.
A new firmware update will also improve the experience on
the Zune device. In addition to the new wireless functionality, Zune will bring
new features customers have been asking for:
- Games on the go. Two free games, “Hexic” and “Texas Hold
’Em,” will keep users entertained on the go.
- Audiobooks. All Zune devices will feature support for
audiobooks this fall from industry leaders in the digital distribution of
- Audible. Customers can visit audible.com to download and
sync favorite books from the 50,000 titles available from over 600 publishers
and content providers.
- OverDrive. They can download content from sites powered by
overdrive.com, including 7,500 libraries’ Web sites worldwide. (http://search.overdrive.com)
Information Effective Sept. 16
120 GB: $249.99
80 GB: $229.99 (3)
16 GB: $199.00
8 GB: $149.99
4 GB: $129.99 (3)
More information on Zune and related images is available at
Zune is Microsoft’s music and entertainment brand that
provides an integrated digital entertainment experience. The Zune platform
includes a line of portable digital media players, elegant software, the Zune
Marketplace online store, and the Zune Social online music community, created
to help people discover music. Zune is part of Microsoft’s Entertainment and
Devices Division and supports the company’s software-based services vision to
help drive innovation in the digital entertainment space. More information can
be found online at http://www.zune.net/en-us/press.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide
leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses
realize their full potential.
(1) According to a Kelton Research study sponsored by Zune
(2) The song needs to be available in Zune Marketplace for
consumers to purchase it. If it is not available, but the radio station is
broadcasting the song’s meta data, consumers can tag the song (so they can
remember the name and artist), but will not be able to purchase it.
(3) There are a limited number of 80GB and 4GB devices
remaining in the channel, and those that are will be available at this price.