Zune branding is dead but the dream is still alive

Microsoft put on a true spectacle today with its E3 performance and once again raised the bar for the competitors in the field. If you got lost in all the excitement or were glued to the screen during the ridiculously long never-ending Black Ops 2 demo, you may not have thought about what is happening to the Zune brand when Xbox Music was announced

As it has long been rumored, the Zune service is turning in to Xbox Music. The information is posted up on Zune.net but states the following:

Q: You recently announced a new music service, Xbox Music. What’s happening to Zune?

A: The Zune music and video service has been a key component of Microsoft’s entertainment offering. We’re using our expertise from Zune to launch a brand-new music service under the Xbox Music brand.  When we launch, Xbox Music will bring you a world-class music library, and great new ways to enjoy, share and discover new music. We will release Xbox music on Xbox 360, Windows Phones and Windows 8 PCs and Tablets. Click HERE to watch the video from our E3 announcement.

The good news is that all current Zune subscribers will be rolled into Xbox Music when the service goes live later this year but Microsoft has yet to provide any solid details on when the new service will launch. As with most Microsoft announcements, they provided just enough details to get everyone excited but there are many questions that are left unanswered.

Xbox Music is a natural progression for Microsoft's music service as the Xbox branding has higher consumer recognition than Zune which was launched many years ago to compete with Apple. As Microsoft provides more details about the upcoming music platform we will be sure to update you with the information as soon as the company brings the spotlight back to this service. 

Via: Twitter

Source: Zune.net

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one of the reasons why microsoft sucks when it comes to many online services because they can't their act together, and this makes things even worse, yet again.

people don't like using it, because every 1-3 years they change name of their service, i can understnad doing that once or even twice, but when you keep doing it over and over it just confused the crap out of normal users.

xbox branding on windows? or on phone, come on. first they push that pathetic metro crap on windows and now xbox, another clue that MS doesn't give a crap about games on PC.

As long as My zune pass is valid and transfer to the new service, I dont care what they called except something like ITune. Everytime I hear ITune and Windows used in the same sentence, I have nightmares; just like now.

0nyX said,
So they'll have Videos,Photos and XBOX Music?

On Windows 8:
Photos
Xbox Music
Xbox Video.

So basically, the Music and Video apps in the Release Preview now just get Xbox in the name and a bit of UI tweaking.

Possession said,

On Windows 8:
Photos
Xbox Music
Xbox Video.

So basically, the Music and Video apps in the Release Preview now just get Xbox in the name and a bit of UI tweaking.

microsoft stupidity shows up again

Hopefully the WP7.5 tango will never came out, instead give us directly WP8 (since it's so close to launch), because if they release tango, then there won't be any way to upg. to WP8 IMO. Also how about the current zune software?

I fu*ck*ing hate that XBox software, I tried to music stuff and sucks, for real, but I guess they will work it out in time... I'm just wondering if my Zune Player from Lumia 800 will remain the same, or I will connect via XBox app to listen music:/

SubZenit said,
Hopefully the WP7.5 tango will never came out, instead give us directly WP8 (since it's so close to launch), because if they release tango, then there won't be any way to upg. to WP8 IMO. Also how about the current zune software?

WP Tango is already out...

I LOVE my Zune pass. I think it's a great deal. But every time I go to Zune marketplace on Xbox I lose my interest almost instantly. I can't do anything up there. The experience sucks. I just want to play my content, and there is no smooth way to do that without jumping all over the place. So my hope is they fix ALL of that big time.

Also, every time I look at the price of a video, or an episode of a TV show, it makes me want to go right over to do you know what. They need to make that stuff like .50 cents for a TV episode, not $2.50. And $4.99 for a rental?, no way man, how about like $1. If there was an Xbox pass for videos, I mean CURRENT just released DVD's not the tired old content, I'd be all over that. The movie industries greed deserves all the torrents they get.

Actually, I think the change to Xbox Music is better. I have the Zune Pass, and it seems every time I say Zune Pass, most of my friends think of it as "junk" or "inferior" to iTunes. However, most of them have an Xbox. Plus, all of Windows Phone, tablets, and desktops will have some form of Xbox integration.

I want to know what will happen with people who are running windows 7 will the zune software still work or will they make a xbox software for updates,etc.

xchaser said,
I want to know what will happen with people who are running windows 7 will the zune software still work or will they make a xbox software for updates,etc.

They could make a new client, basically zune but with the new branding etc. I don't see why not, I use the zune client for all my music management etc, don't use it to watch video though, just music.

I absolutely love my 16GB Zune HD. I think my next phone will be a WP8. In regards to the Xbox Music I believe it sounds quite bland as compared to "Zune". As mentioned above, it just has a certain ring to it.

Well this is dumb... I've been waiting to get my wife a Zune Music Pass for her own account until some kind of announcement was made regarding if the service was still going to be around. Since it seems like it is, I went to sign her up, but only me as the Xbox Family Gold plan can have a Zune Music Pass account apparently??? WTF? Hopefully they'll add a family option here since it will be under the Xbox umbrella.

I was thinking the same thing. If it's branded as XBOX, some will think it only works with a gaming console.

Who really associate XBOX with a Phone, Tablet or even Windows?

What, Microsoft Music isn't good enough? Why the hell would they tie in the Xbox name when it's a gaming console? Just doesn't make sense...

bjoswald said,
What, Microsoft Music isn't good enough? Why the hell would they tie in the Xbox name when it's a gaming console? Just doesn't make sense...

its is the center of their entertainment division...

bjoswald said,
What, Microsoft Music isn't good enough? Why the hell would they tie in the Xbox name when it's a gaming console? Just doesn't make sense...

There are people that hate Microsoft, but like XBox. This is part of it. There is also the MSN Music/Video that was forcibly shutdown because of the Anti-trust regulations, and the naming is too close.

The XBox branding makes sense as it is the entertainment hub of the Microsoft Online Media services for games, music, video.

bjoswald said,
What, Microsoft Music isn't good enough? Why the hell would they tie in the Xbox name when it's a gaming console? Just doesn't make sense...

It's not just a gaming console anymore, I thought this was made clear last year when they started to bring in all these tv streaming services and on-demand video/music services etc? Xbox is a "media" brand now, that's gaming and music/video.

From the passport wiki:

Microsoft Account (previously Microsoft Wallet[1], Microsoft Passport[2], .NET Passport, Microsoft Passport Network, and most recently Windows Live ID) is a single sign-on web service developed and provided by Microsoft that allows users to log in to many websites using one account.


And in Win 8 it will be renamed again. Right?

kiddingguy said,
From the passport wiki:

Microsoft Account (previously Microsoft Wallet[1], Microsoft Passport[2], .NET Passport, Microsoft Passport Network, and most recently Windows Live ID) is a single sign-on web service developed and provided by Microsoft that allows users to log in to many websites using one account.


And in Win 8 it will be renamed again. Right?

Never heard of Microsoft Wallet. I don't like the sound of that. It reminds me of those Capital One commercials, what's in your wallet. Microsoft Passport wasn't a bad name, but Microsoft Account is the most logical name for the service.

Oh, and Microsoft Account is the renaming of it for Windows 8.

Enron said,

Never heard of Microsoft Wallet. I don't like the sound of that. It reminds me of those Capital One commercials, what's in your wallet. Microsoft Passport wasn't a bad name, but Microsoft Account is the most logical name for the service.

Oh, and Microsoft Account is the renaming of it for Windows 8.

Microsoft Wallet was the original project, as it was not just an authentication system, but an online secured purchasing system.

If you look up Google Wallet, the base concept is the same, except Microsoft was trying to implement it 15 years ago, and without Google using your purchase information to sell marketing.

Microsoft Wallet was to be mechanism for a shared payment system that users could store credit card and other billing mechanisms and was designed to be a launching point for NFC purchases.

If the industry and the anti-trust wasn't happening, we would of had NFC payments and a unified standard for online payments 15 years ago. Instead Sun and others played politics, just like they did with W3C submissions. (Which is why Ajax and HTML5 concepts Microsoft proposed in the 90s are just now being accepted, almost 15 years later as well.)

The only wallet portion that survived was the micro-transaction aspects for XBox Live and Zune where Microsoft Points are used through Microsoft Wallet aka Passport/LiveID/Microsoft Account

Microsoft is the worst at building brands... You need to keep them the same because consumers aren't following a smorgasbord of brand names.

I mean how many times have they renamed "Microsoft Passport"...

Frazell Thomas said,
Microsoft is the worst at building brands... You need to keep them the same because consumers aren't following a smorgasbord of brand names.

I mean how many times have they renamed "Microsoft Passport"...

Really no worse than buying iPhone/iPad apps in iTUNES.

ScottDaMan said,
<sarcasm>I mean seriously, what were they thinking with Microsoft Windows? That brand has totally failed. </sarcasm>

They have a few that they haven't tried renaming every other month, like Windows. Everything else they rename so often no one can keep up with them from a branding perspective. Bing was renamed a handful of times. "Messenger" was renamed a handful of times. "Passport" was renamed a large amount of times with the latest change being to "Microsoft Account". The list goes on...

They need to pick a name and stick with it so regular consumers can stay familiar with them. We will keep up, but the average user doesn't so they are starting over constantly and wondering why they aren't winning mind share.

You don't see Apple renaming stuff every other week. Arguably their "i" naming convention has gotten old, but they keep it consistent and relate all of their consumer offerings via that branding. Microsoft needs something similar that ties this all in and allows customers to know it all works together without changing it all the time.

XBOX is a bad choice since that is focused around games. If anything XBOX should be its own sub-brand in the larger pool similar to how iOS is a sub-brand in Apple's "i" ecosystem.

Frazell Thomas said,

They have a few that they haven't tried renaming every other month, like Windows. Everything else they rename so often no one can keep up with them from a branding perspective. Bing was renamed a handful of times. "Messenger" was renamed a handful of times. "Passport" was renamed a large amount of times with the latest change being to "Microsoft Account". The list goes on...

They need to pick a name and stick with it so regular consumers can stay familiar with them. We will keep up, but the average user doesn't so they are starting over constantly and wondering why they aren't winning mind share.

You don't see Apple renaming stuff every other week. Arguably their "i" naming convention has gotten old, but they keep it consistent and relate all of their consumer offerings via that branding. Microsoft needs something similar that ties this all in and allows customers to know it all works together without changing it all the time.

XBOX is a bad choice since that is focused around games. If anything XBOX should be its own sub-brand in the larger pool similar to how iOS is a sub-brand in Apple's "i" ecosystem.

I don't totally disagree with the concept that Microsoft should have kept branding more in line; however, you are not apparently aware of restrictions that prevented this and you are also skipping the original Microsoft naming conventions from a long time ago.

Microsoft was forbidden from integrating Zune into Windows or associating it with Windows, they even had to rip out Media Player if you look back at the EU rulings.

This goes deeper than just Zune, as all the online services that were well branded like MSN, had to be separated from Windows artificially too. Add in a bunch of other products and services that could not integrate or be associated or operate under the same department or branding because of anti-trust rulings and you see where it gets messy.

One of the biggest impacted areas was Microsoft's online store and music/video services. This is why PlaysforSure v2.0 became Zune, MSN Music was FORCED to be shut down.

The irony is this specific area all happened because of anti-trust monopoly rulings and regulations. In doing so, it effectively created an defacto Apple monopoly in the same market space, that still has pricing control, and industry control over media distribution and hard lockin to their devices as well.

So by 'protecting' the world from Microsoft's 20% of the online 'store' industry, they handed 95% of the industry to Apple.


The history part that is overlooked is that Microsoft is known as Microsoft, and there is no mistaking who makes Word or Windows because going back to the 80s, all Microsoft branding had a common theme, the company name was a part of the product name.

Which has always been clever but with the anti-trust ruling also came back to bite Microsoft in the butt, because Microsoft XYZ, Microsoft ABC started to blur in the scope of what the anti-trust rulings and regulations covered and how they were able to separate out core and essential aspects of Microsoft products down artificial lines.

Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft XBox, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word are all understood by consumers and work, which is why Microsoft Account killing off the Wallet/Passport/LiveID branding is a good idea that they were not able to do a few years ago because of the Anti-trust crap.

The XBox Music/Video should be Microsoft Music/Video, but there is the problem and overlap of MSN Music/Video that was forced out, and even if Microsoft could wiggle around the legal aspects, the consumer bad taste from how it was shut down would hurt them.

thenetavenger said,

I don't totally disagree with the concept that Microsoft should have kept branding more in line; however, you are not apparently aware of restrictions that prevented this and you are also skipping the original Microsoft naming conventions from a long time ago.
<snipped>

I am aware of the restrictions that Microsoft were under until last year regarding their Antitrust rulings. The limitations were put in place to limit their ability to leverage products like Windows in other markets, but it didn't prevent them from creating unified brands in other areas that were not connected to those products.

Meaning, Microsoft could have created a new branding that would cover their consumer products (excluding Windows and other monopoly products) placed these products under that umbrella and not run afoul of Antitrust restrictions. They just don't seem to have a clue on how to do this...

Even with these restrictions having expired they still haven't made sensible branding decisions. They should be creating a unified consumer brand and not extending the XBOX brand so far they run the risk of diluting that brand into obscurity.

Enron said,
I hope they add a video subscription service that works like Zune Pass.

I think it would be too expensive to add that. Anyway Netflix is doing that and they only show older music online. Would not work well for xbox music.

Enron said,
I hope they add a video subscription service that works like Zune Pass.

They did drop the price of the music pass so to $10 right? So then maybe for say, $20 or so you can get video as well.

The "Xbox" music just doesn't have the same ring to it, especially when you're on Windows Phone etc. Why not just call it "Music" across all platforms?

McKay said,
The "Xbox" music just doesn't have the same ring to it, especially when you're on Windows Phone etc. Why not just call it "Music" across all platforms?

While we're at it let's re-brand Windows Phone to "Phone"

McKay said,
The "Xbox" music just doesn't have the same ring to it, especially when you're on Windows Phone etc. Why not just call it "Music" across all platforms?

So, you'll tell your friends to buy music on "Music"?

They're taking advantage of one of their most successful brands. Xbox is instantly recognizable even if you don't use a PC you probably know someone who plays console games and know of the Xbox. I do agree to a certain extent, that Xbox Music isn't a good fit for the PC space, they probably would have done better to call it Microsoft Music or MSBeats or something like that.

McKay said,
The "Xbox" music just doesn't have the same ring to it, especially when you're on Windows Phone etc. Why not just call it "Music" across all platforms?

ahinson said,
They're taking advantage of one of their most successful brands. Xbox is instantly recognizable even if you don't use a PC you probably know someone who plays console games and know of the Xbox. I do agree to a certain extent, that Xbox Music isn't a good fit for the PC space, they probably would have done better to call it Microsoft Music or MSBeats or something like that.

Could confuse a lot of people into thinking Xbox Music is only available on the Xbox.

McKay said,
The "Xbox" music just doesn't have the same ring to it, especially when you're on Windows Phone etc. Why not just call it "Music" across all platforms?

Zune. Something easy to pronounce, sounds powerful, and you are not timid to say it.
Why drop it?

McKay said,

Could confuse a lot of people into thinking Xbox Music is only available on the Xbox.

With XBox Live, and XBox Live Games on WP7 and Windows 8, I don't think this will be a problem. XBox moves to be more of a media hub and gaming console, so it ties into it better than the Windows brand name, which many people associate with a multitude of conceptions.

McKay said,

Could confuse a lot of people into thinking Xbox Music is only available on the Xbox.

It will be integrated into Win8 so that will reduce confusion. Is it much more confusing to tell people to buy an iOS app in a music store?

ahinson said,
They're taking advantage of one of their most successful brands. Xbox is instantly recognizable even if you don't use a PC you probably know someone who plays console games and know of the Xbox. I do agree to a certain extent, that Xbox Music isn't a good fit for the PC space, they probably would have done better to call it Microsoft Music or MSBeats or something like that.

Xbox is also on the PC now, in Windows 8. So it's not like it's limited to the console. Xbox is the new, i'd say, top brand for all their entertainment. Case in point, people normally just say the 360 and not the xbox 360, well, most do anyways. With the Xbox being more about media in general now and not just games I think it's fine to use it in the name. Besides the next console could have it's own unique name and not a number that people will call it while still being a "Xbox".

Jose_49 said,

Zune. Something easy to pronounce, sounds powerful, and you are not timid to say it.
Why drop it?

I'll give you the first point. Powerful? Uh. Not timid to say it? Most people tend to be embarrassed when they say "Zune".

McKay said,
The "Xbox" music just doesn't have the same ring to it, especially when you're on Windows Phone etc. Why not just call it "Music" across all platforms?

xbox music is dumb name. time to uninstall zune, don't want xbox crap on my pc.