Microsoft Announces New Zune Pass Music Subscription Model

Consumers can now keep the tracks they love.

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 19, 2008 — Zune, Microsoft
Corp.’s digital music and entertainment service, today announced landmark
agreements with major and independent music labels to bring significant new
value to the subscription music model. The Zune Pass subscription service
currently gives consumers on-demand access to millions of tracks for $14.99 per
month. Starting today subscribers will also get to select 10 tracks per month
to keep and add them to their permanent collection (an estimated $10 value).

Agreements have been signed between Microsoft and EMI Music,
Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Warner Music
Group, as well as independent distributors INgrooves, Independent Online
Distribution Alliance and The Orchard. The Orchard delivers digital music,
video and brand services globally, and represents labels including Barsuk
Records (Nada Surf) and Fania Records (Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz). IODA
represents labels including Arts & Crafts (Broken Social Scene, The Stills)
and Ghostly International (Matthew Dear, School of Seven Bells). The new
enhanced subscription model came about as a result of close collaboration with
all of these companies.

Zune Pass subscribers will have the added benefit of
retaining digital rights management (DRM)-free MP3 tracks from Sony BMG and
UMG, in addition to MP3 tracks from EMI Music, Warner Music Group and a large
portion of the independent music labels. With the addition of tracks from UMG
and Sony BMG, Zune will soon offer over 90 percent of its music in the MP3
format.

“The way people consume music has changed. With the shift to
digital from CDs, it is more challenging than ever to offer the right mix of
deep content, music discovery and economic value,” said Chris Stephenson,
general manager of global marketing for Zune at Microsoft. “People want the freedom
to listen to whatever they want across millions of songs, combined with the
confidence that they can keep their favorite tracks forever.”

From its inception, Zune has bet on the power of
subscription, not only as a consumption model but also as a way to highlight
the music discovery features central to the Zune experience and the PC
platform. The Zune service gives consumers convenient and unlimited access to
the music they want, and also connects them to other music fans and expert
sources to help them find the music they will love. The new enhancements to the
Zune Pass subscription service offer unprecedented value for all music fans.

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Full Press Release

3 thoughts on “Microsoft Announces New Zune Pass Music Subscription Model

  1. Does the limitation on burning the songs to CD still apply to the 10 “keepers” or just to the subscription downloads?

  2. Just downloaded this month’s 10 — very cool.

    @Kevin – I’m pretty sure you can do whatever you want with them — they are just standard MP3 files. I just moved them over to my WinMo phone and they work fine. If the Zune software won’t let you burn them then use something else.

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