Microsoft closing some Zune Music features after Friday

In June, Microsoft (sort of) confirmed that it would soon be shutting down its online Zune Music service, in favor of the upcoming Xbox Music service. While Microsoft has yet to reveal any concrete details on Xbox Music, it is already starting to phase out Zune Music.

In an email sent to one of Neowin's readers, a statement from Microsoft said that it would be closing some of the features in Zune Music after Friday, August 31st. The list of features to get the sunset treatment include the ability to send and receive messages and being able to invite friends. Microsoft will also shut down Zune Music's ability to share songs, playlists, and albums.

Being able to purchase or stream music videos on a PC is also out, as is Zune Music's Mixview playback and channel playlists. Apps for the now discontinued Zune HD media player won't be available either. Finally, if you plan to upgrade your PC after Friday, you won't be able to re-download, re-activate, or re-license any previously bought music videos from Zune Music.

Hopefully Microsoft won't keep us in suspense about its new Xbox Music service for much longer. We should get some details before the launch of Windows 8 on October 26th.

Thanks to Matthew_Thepc for the tip!

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32 Comments

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So... You buy videos, Microsoft disables the ability to access those videos... And people wonder why people resort to piracy nowadays? Maybe because pirated content isn't at the mercy of corporations who can disable access to them at their whim like this crap?

Just to be clear, the only thing being removed is the free access to Music Videos and the ability to purchase Music Videos. With Vevo and other services, it makes sense for Microsoft to not have to license these in the future. It is also possible they may be replace in some other form or in agreement with services like Vevo, etc.

Zune users have had the ability to play a lot of Music Videos for free for a few years, long before Music Videos were easily available on other services.

As for the 'social features' they will no longer be handled though Zune services. However, they are not really going away, just moving to other social services.

So in the future to share your playlist and music information, you will do this through an existing service like Facebook instead of specialized servers that were built for the Zune social mechanisms.

I mostly don't use these features (Mixview maybe occasionally), but it kind of has me worried about the future. Like many people, I really prefer the desktop Zune client to the new Xbox Music app, and hope it still continues to be usable ...

Yeah kinda sucks but they're going to be rolling out new stuff. It's not like we're losing things to never have them replaced. I've loved my Zune experience since day one so they better not screw it up.

Its things like this that will drive more people to piracy or a competitor that does not put DRM on digital music.

So like with MSN music any purchases are basically useless when you eventually get a new PC? Or reformat? That's why I don't purchase from services like this.

InsaneNutter said,
So like with MSN music any purchases are basically useless when you eventually get a new PC? Or reformat? That's why I don't purchase from services like this.

Purchases are fine but any content with DRM on it won't function i.e. Zune Pass Music and, possibly, Movies.

neo158 said,

Purchases are fine but any content with DRM on it won't function i.e. Zune Pass Music and, possibly, Movies.

Zune Pass music is still fine, and is stated as such in the e-mail. It appears to be limited to music videos only.

Everything else content wise should continue to behave as usual.

InsaneNutter said,
So like with MSN music any purchases are basically useless when you eventually get a new PC? Or reformat? That's why I don't purchase from services like this.

Only Music VIDEOS...

Since the majority of them have been available for free through Zune Pass via Streaming, there are few people that have actually bought Music Videos.

Microsoft's licensing with content providers is changing to expand the service to more places globally, and with services like Vevo, this is a small change.

Most people didn't even realize that Zune Pass members were able to Stream most Music Videos for free, so for people to get outraged by something they didn't know existed is kind of freaking strange.

I am wondering if Xbox Music is being rolled out in more coutries. Since Zune Music Pass wasn't available in the Netherlands for example.

thats why I will never support any microsoft hardware again. these idiots can't make up their mind. every 2-3 years they rename the service shut down previous, drop support for hardware.

nekrosoft13 said,
thats why I will never support any microsoft hardware again. these idiots can't make up their mind. every 2-3 years they rename the service shut down previous, drop support for hardware.

Exactly the point I have been trying to make across all boards.

nekrosoft13 said,
thats why I will never support any microsoft hardware again. these idiots can't make up their mind. every 2-3 years they rename the service shut down previous, drop support for hardware.

2-3 years is a long time to be using a technology product, especially a phone and probably too an MP3 player. I don't even require my Zune HD anymore, due to me being able to use Spotify on my smartphone.

I'm happy that Microsoft are progressing in the way they are, instead of ceasing to innovate just because they'd like to please people who want their devices to be completely supported for half-decades or decades.

nekrosoft13 said,
thats why I will never support any microsoft hardware again. these idiots can't make up their mind. every 2-3 years they rename the service shut down previous, drop support for hardware.

You can still use the Zune player like any other PMP with your own music, it just won't have the zune pass music.

nekrosoft13 said,
thats why I will never support any microsoft hardware again. these idiots can't make up their mind. every 2-3 years they rename the service shut down previous, drop support for hardware.

Hardware support has not ended... WTF are you ranting about?

ZuneHD App availability is essentially like this, download all the Apps now, as they will not be making any new ones.

ZuneHD can side load software as there is not any application protection mechanisms, so enthusiasts that want to keep working with the ZuneHD, can.

The other features of ZuneHD haven't changed, it still has the same Music, Video, Audiobook, Podcast access as it always has had.

Why is it when Apple drops support for an entire series of Macs just a couple of years old, that is ok, but if Microsoft changes or removes a features from a hardware product they are crucified by people like you?

In the technology industry, Microsoft maintains some of the oldest legacy support of any company.

Go ask other hardware MFRs to provide support or new features for products that are a couple of years old.

Want some examples that are just overlooked or quickly forgotten?
In 2006 NVidia dumped support for their 2 year old Geforce 5xxx GPUs, and just recently ATI is dumping support for their 4xxx series Radeons.

Microsoft has so few Hardware products that it seems to 'make news' but when companies produce tons of hardware, support for a few missing product lines are not notice or overlooked.

gullygod said,
I use zune services a lot, but I will not miss any of the above mentioned.

Agreed. I was worried until I saw the list of features removed.

gullygod said,
I use zune services a lot, but I will not miss any of the above mentioned.

I very much valued the features that would share my listening habits with my friends and followers, but as I no longer use Zune, I'm more disappointed that Xbox Music apparently doesn't include Facebook Open Graph integration, so our music listens won't be shared with our Facebook friends and subscribers. That would be a dealbreaker for me, I think, and I'm gutted, considering all of Xbox Music's main competitors do it and Xbox Music is the best overall.

I thought Microsoft "got" social when I first heard of Zune Social. Now they're falling behind with it.

gullygod said,
I use zune services a lot, but I will not miss any of the above mentioned.

I agree but Im very concerned about how I'll be able to manage my music in Win8. I use the little heart and broken heart icons to tell me which tracks I have put into playlists. I tried the Win8 Release Preview for about three weeks and I came away feeling underwhelmed. My absolute favorite aspect of Zune is the visualizations that play with the floating text during music playback. Granted the Release Preview is not a finished product, the transitions were choppy and they removed the text in favor of the typical Artist Name, Song Title and Album that we can see anywhere.

Thats a really big disappointment for me especially because every time I have guests over they're looking at my TV and ask what app that is and are surprised when I tell them its Zune.

Anywho, im just very disappointed by this move to take music playback backwards when it was so good the way it was.

NPGMBR said,

I agree but Im very concerned about how I'll be able to manage my music in Win8. I use the little heart and broken heart icons to tell me which tracks I have put into playlists. I tried the Win8 Release Preview for about three weeks and I came away feeling underwhelmed. My absolute favorite aspect of Zune is the visualizations that play with the floating text during music playback. Granted the Release Preview is not a finished product, the transitions were choppy and they removed the text in favor of the typical Artist Name, Song Title and Album that we can see anywhere.

Thats a really big disappointment for me especially because every time I have guests over they're looking at my TV and ask what app that is and are surprised when I tell them its Zune.

Anywho, im just very disappointed by this move to take music playback backwards when it was so good the way it was.


I completely agree with this entire comment. I won't judge Xbox Music until I've seen the final thing, but I'm concerned that instead of just enhancing what was great about Zune, they may have removed some of the features that contributed to such a great user experience.

Aletheia said,
OK. I might be missing something here. If there is no Zune, how do you sync your Windows Phone 7.5/7.8/8 ?

They are shutting down some of the Zune specific services related to the players & the 'social' aspect of it.

They are not totally disabling the software and it will still work as a backup solution for Windows Phone for the time being.

That said Microsoft has stated that they plan to have a new solution for Windows Phone moving forward, but have not yet shared full details on their plans.

Shane Nokes said,

[. . .]
That said Microsoft has stated that they plan to have a new solution for Windows Phone moving forward, but have not yet shared full details on their plans.

I hope it's a WinRT app, or at least something that ties in with the new Windows experience

good one Microsoft - what ever happened to your "plays everywhere" (or was it "plays for sure" promise?

won't play anywhere soon!