Zune Pass: Microsoft's answer to piracy

By on April 12, 2011, 6:00 AM
Zune Pass isn't something new, nor is it something that hasn't been widely covered online, but it really could be the first good attempt at the fight against piracy. Neowin tested out the music subscription to see how well it really works, and if it could actually have a shot at the big time iTunes.

"A few months ago, Microsoft released Windows Phone, a new contender in the mobile market and the software giant's new version of Zune. I was among the few that went out on Day 1 and got a device. A launch device. Sure, it's been a bumpy, unforgiving ride, but Microsoft has changed the game with Windows Phone, even if the critics disagree right now. The Zune desktop client that goes alongside Windows Phone / Zune hardware is stunning, really focuses on the music experience, and had us in love from day one."


"Shortly after getting a Windows Phone, signing into it and setting up the account I realized I'd set it up with a New Zealand-based Windows Live account. Over here, Microsoft hasn't launched Zune fully, and Zune Pass isn't available, but I kept hearing great things about it online. So I hard reset my phone and loaded in my old Windows Live ID from the U.S., then signed up for a 14 day trial of Zune Pass. This is where everything changed."

Read the rest of the article.
- This article is brought to you in partnership with Neowin.



User Comments: 13

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LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Zune pass has been out for a long while. I've had it for a few years now. Its weird that these articles are being discovered once microsoft announced they will no longer be making zune hardware.

Guest said:

I think Rhapsody is better since it's compatible with more phones and mp3 players plus it's only $10 a month. Sure you get 10 downloads for $5.00 more with zune but if you don't need the downloads and want better compatibility you might as well save $5.00.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@super

With the advent of reasonably good quality audio on smartphones, don't you think days of music players like ipods/zune etc. are coming to an end?

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

supersmashbrada said:

Zune pass has been out for a long while. I've had it for a few years now. Its weird that these articles are being discovered once microsoft announced they will no longer be making zune hardware.

Their hasn't been any official statements that the Zune hardware is dead that I know of, besides that Bloomberg article speculating it. Sadly their also hasn't been any indication that they are working on a new generation of Zune devices. Either way, I agree with you that it's odd people are now discovering what has been around for a while. I've been personally using a Zune and its services for some time and love it.

Guest said:

I second you there brother. I had the first generation and now a Zune HD. Zune Pass is the best.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

@super

With the advent of reasonably good quality audio on smartphones, don't you think days of music players like ipods/zune etc. are coming to an end?

They probably are, but it's really a bad idea to have to a smartphone contract forced on you so you can listen to music. It's just more and more seeding control of media to the conglomerates.

Really WTF is wrong with you people? You complain about your "rights to share media being violated", then you turn around and envision relinquishing more and more control to the media corporations, thinking it's a good idea.

If this were to come to fruition, you'll basically have taught the media companies how to screw you further.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I used to have Zune Pass, then I found out there was a pandora app for my phone. I sold my Zune HD and started using pandora exclusively without paying a dime. I don't have any need to download the songs anyway.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They probably are, but it's really a bad idea to have to a smartphone contract forced on you so you can listen to music. It's just more and more seeding control of media to the conglomerates.

Really WTF is wrong with you people? You complain about your "rights to share media being violated", then you turn around and envision relinquishing more and more control to the media corporations, thinking it's a good idea.

If this were to come to fruition, you'll basically have taught the media companies how to screw you further.

That is why I always buy 'unlocked' phones hence avoiding any 'binding' from carriers.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

They probably are, but it's really a bad idea to have to a smartphone contract forced on you so you can listen to music. It's just more and more seeding control of media to the conglomerates.

Really WTF is wrong with you people? You complain about your "rights to share media being violated", then you turn around and envision relinquishing more and more control to the media corporations, thinking it's a good idea.

If this were to come to fruition, you'll basically have taught the media companies how to screw you further.

There are several non-smartphones out there which are similar to mp3 players that anyone can purchase. And you can buy them unlocked too like Archean points out.

I personally have an unlocked GSM phone that I use contractless with T-Mobile and love it. Unfortunately with the AT&T acquisition going on I have no idea if my current contractless plan will still be around down the line. It's especially frustrating since I like buying unlocked GSM phones and AT&T will be holding a monopoly on them if they get approval.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

While I vigorously defend your right to your opinion(s), I also, just as vigorously, detest them.

That is why I always buy 'unlocked' phones hence avoiding any 'binding' from carriers.
And you're still tied to a carrier, and your music still exists in some BS "cloud" environment. Plus, you're still slobbering over some crap "device, with your crap "earbuds", annoying everybody around you. Where's something I didn't say in this post.

There are several non-smartphones out there which are similar to mp3 players that anyone can purchase. And you can buy them unlocked too like Archean points out.

I personally have an unlocked GSM phone that I use contractless with T-Mobile and love it. Unfortunately with the AT&T acquisition going on I have no idea if my current contractless plan will still be around down the line. It's especially frustrating since I like buying unlocked GSM phones and AT&T will be holding a monopoly on them if they get approval.

So, please go back and read my reply to Archean, I'd deeply appreciate not having to type it twice.

With that aside, the generation that spawned me detests "plastic", and being forced to get (poor quality) MP3 music from some telecommunications provider, then being forced to listen to it on some ridiculous plastic toy, to me is offensive. And BTW, about as "plastic" as it gets.

Real music comes from vinyl records and audio CDs. After which, it goes to a high power audio amplifier, and is then vocalized by a decent set of loudspeakers, in >>wooden cabinets<<.

Music is NOT crap the being pumped out of Walmart "surround sound systems", with tiny plastic distortion generation generators, and a "500" watt plastic "subwoofer" that reproduces frequencies, (poorly), that only elephants and the entire third world can hear. In the case of third world music "afficianados", those are the only frequencies they're either interested in, or capable of, hearing.

Real music is grabbing your Les Paul or SG, and thrashing along with the music that moves you. Well, unless the piece is a 60s protest song, then I'd suggest grabbing the acoustic 12 string.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

While I vigorously defend your right to your opinion(s), I also, just as vigorously, detest them.And you're still tied to a carrier, and your music still exists in some BS "cloud" environment. Plus, you're still slobbering over some crap "device, with your crap "earbuds", annoying everybody around you.

No you're not. An unlocked GSM phone can be used on different carries (if they exist), and on board storage or microSD eliminates the need for "cloud" music, some just enjoy the convenience of it. Now the annoyance level of individuals running around with cheap earbuds listening to poor quality music is of a personal nature. And while you may be right, their seems to be an audience for it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Now the annoyance level of individuals running around with cheap earbuds listening to poor quality music is of a personal nature. And while you may be right, their seems to be an audience for it.
Well, ya gotta admit, the skritchin' and scratchin' that comes off those thing is like a body sander in 4/4 time.

And while true, there is an audience for it, I attribute to people that either, don't know any better, or don't have access to a decent sonic environment.

The first part I consider overt stupidity, the second circumstance, actually quite unfortunate.

My other objection is the curious need to divorce yourself from your environment. But then I'm old, amuse easily, and tend enjoy things like scenery and trees without constant musical accompaniment.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

And while true, there is an audience for it, I attribute to people that either, don't know any better, or don't have access to a decent sonic environment.

The first part I consider overt stupidity, the second circumstance, actually quite unfortunate.

Agreed.

My other objection is the curious need to divorce yourself from your environment. But then I'm old, amuse easily, and tend enjoy things like scenery and trees without constant musical accompaniment.

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