Microsoft's Zune has announced landmark agreements with major and independent music labels to let you keep your songs forever. 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). Here is more info:
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.
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.
A Zune Pass gives a subscriber access to millions of tracks that can be streamed or downloaded from a PC or directly from a Zune device when in a wireless hot spot.1 Downloaded music can be shared among up to three PCs and three Zune devices. In addition to unlimited downloads, consumers now also get to select 10 free tracks per month to keep and add to their permanent collection. These tracks can be burned to a CD or moved to other devices even if their subscription ends.
With the recent launch of Zune 3.0, Microsoft built additional value into the Zune Pass offering by adding new features focused on music discovery and personalizing the music experience for each user:
? Mixview. Customers can select an artist, album or listener from the Zune Social online music community to activate a dynamic visual mosaic of related music and listeners. With each click, users can take the view in a new direction. Mixview works with users? current collection of music, in addition to tracks and albums from across the Zune Marketplace.
? Zune Channels. Subscribers can explore dozens of channels programmed by genre; explore sources such as Billboard Hot 100, The FADER magazine and KEXP radio; or access themed channels, like fitness, to get a steady stream of new music added to their collection automatically. Zune will even create custom channels for each user, based on favorite artists and genres.
? Personal Picks. Now the Zune software learns what kind of music users like and makes personal recommendations. Each week Zune suggests artists, albums and tracks based on the music each person has been listening to, as well as channels they might enjoy and listeners like them in the Zune Social.
To give people a chance to experience the Zune Pass subscription, Zune is offering a free, 14-day trial to all new customers.2 More information is available at http://www.zune.net/free