Zune expanding its entertainment services to international markets

Microsoft announced today that they will be expanding their Zune marketplace, music and video services to international markets this fall. Microsoft made plans to launch their Zune services internationally earlier this month.

Zune will be expanding some of its services to international markets this fall, including Zune Pass in UK, France, Italy and Spain, their music purchase service in UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, and their video purchasing in UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Microsoft will also be expanding their movie rental service in 14 countries including: UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Microsoft's press release listed all of the features that each country and service will be providing, including detailed pricing for the expanding services:

Zune Marketplace will extend services to several markets in Europe and beyond.    

Zune Pass (U.K., France, Italy and Spain). The monthly music subscription service will be available for 9.99 euros /8.99 pounds per month for unlimited download and streaming access to the Zune music catalog and will be accessible on Windows-based PCs, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE. The offer in the U.S. will remain at $14.99 per month for unlimited downloads and streaming access, with the ability to keep 10 MP3s per month.

Music purchase (U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany). Expansion to these markets will enable consumers to purchase MP3s and listen on their Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 or any other device that supports MP3 format. Users will also be able to purchase music videos to enjoy on Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune on Xbox LIVE.    

Video purchase (U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Consumers will now be able to purchase movies to download and watch anywhere — on the big screen in the living room with Xbox LIVE or their Windows-based PC as well as sync it to their Windows Phone 7 to enjoy on the go.

Movie rental (U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). In addition to Zune video on Xbox LIVE, consumers in these countries will now be able to rent movies for viewing on their Windows-based PC or choose to sync the rental to their Windows Phone 7.

The global expansion of the service is the latest step in a series of milestones for Zune, including powering Bing music search results, the added ability to purchase music and video on Zune.net, and the forthcoming integration with Xbox LIVE and Kinect for Xbox 360. By continuing to integrate Zune across the most important screens to consumers, Zune provides an all-in-one music and video service for users to discover, enjoy and experience their entertainment wherever they want.

With the expanding services, the Zune software will see an update to version 4.7 in the coming weeks and will be available in over 20 countries to manage, purchase and rent thousands of songs and videos. Windows Phone 7 users will also be able to enjoy the benefits of Zune Pass on their phone, with unlimited streaming and song downloads directly on your device.

Microsoft didn't mention if the Zune HD will also be available internationally, but rumors suggest that that Zune HD2 might be in the works, which we may see in the Spring, after the launch of Windows Phone 7.

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57 Comments

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Zune Pass is coming to Canada in 2011, from a recent interview with a Canadian MS manager. Hopefully that will include keeping 10 songs per month, like the US version.

That's great but MS should start by selling the device internationally. The Zune is nowhere to be found in province of Quebec, Canada.

LaP said,
That's great but MS should start by selling the device internationally. The Zune is nowhere to be found in province of Quebec, Canada.

They'd much rather sell you one of the many WP7 devices coming at this point. On the other hand there is talk of a ZuneHD2 of sorts coming sometime next year, that should be the one to go outside the US once the service gets going.

LaP said,
That's great but MS should start by selling the device internationally. The Zune is nowhere to be found in province of Quebec, Canada.

Or any other place in the world.

LaP said,
That's great but MS should start by selling the device internationally. The Zune is nowhere to be found in province of Quebec, Canada.

That's because you guys suck. You have different rules then the rest of the country. There are plenty of Zune120-Zune4 around the prairies. Come out for a visit.

Still, Marketplace would have been nice. I hope i can use the built in podcast interface once it launches internationally.

Edited by deadonthefloor, Sep 21 2010, 4:49pm :

dotf said,

That's because you guys suck. You have different rules then the rest of the country. There are plenty of Zune120-Zune4 around the prairies. Come out for a visit.

Still, Marketplace would have been nice. I hope i can use the built in podcast interface once it launches internationally.

Different rules don't seem to be a problem for the iPod or the XBox 360 which can be found everywhere in province of Quebec

LaP said,

Different rules don't seem to be a problem for the iPod or the XBox 360 which can be found everywhere in province of Quebec

Those devices and services are completely different than the Zune Pass, which is what Microsoft is trying to get into these markets. You can't compare it to either iPod or XBox 360... And it isn't about selling a Zune either, it's about their services and being able to make the entire service available in these regions...

Keep 10 MP3s per month feature available to U.S. Zune Pass subscribers only, on their PC or Windows Phone 7.

Well, that sucks. That was one of the best features and they couldn't do it over here.

When they say they'll have the zune pass available in the UK, does that actually mean we'll be able to get UK music rather than just the US selection?

LynxMukka said,
When they say they'll have the zune pass available in the UK, does that actually mean we'll be able to get UK music rather than just the US selection?

It's....called.....LICENSING. Holy crap. Is no one on here aware of the fact that content providers need to license their stuff to Microsoft before it comes to you? Does Microsoft own Paramount? Can they make all Paramount movies available to you just like that? No, they can't.

LiquidSolstice said,

It's....called.....LICENSING. Holy crap. Is no one on here aware of the fact that content providers need to license their stuff to Microsoft before it comes to you? Does Microsoft own Paramount? Can they make all Paramount movies available to you just like that? No, they can't.

That hasn't unfortunately answered my question.

LynxMukka said,

That hasn't unfortunately answered my question.

I'd imagine it will have everything that the licensing consortia will allow in the UK. If the comparison from iTunes/Zune in the US/UK is any indication you should have a pretty good selection.

Zune is already available outside the USA. Zune is already on Xbox 360, and i'm already using it on that platform here in the UK. It's an excellent service! There's loads of exclusive content, too, like the extended trailer for the movie Avatar which wasn't available anywhere else -- and I get video in full HD at 1080p! Don't underestimate Zune, as many people have done; it's brand with amazing potential.

What sort of internet connection are you running here if it isn't goo enough for movies exactly? ADSL2+ is fine for movie downloads.

So... why won't MS release Zune hardware? WANT!

I only care about the Zune Pass...no Zune Pass in Switzerland...why can they release a movie rental service but not a music service? Oo

Indeed. Australia is only just starting to move toward a broadband situation that can justify movie downloads/rentals. Music is no problem however. I was so hopeing that we would at least get music purchasing (and I really wanted Zune Pass), but I guess I'll have to keep buying music online from iTunes then.

bluefisch200 said,
I only care about the Zune Pass...no Zune Pass in Switzerland...why can they release a movie rental service but not a music service? Oo

Maybe because those two aren't connected? You need to think of them as two different pieces of content, which they are, and they each have different owners and different rules/licensing MS has to get in order for them to be able to offer it.

Movie rentals are easier to licesne out of the two, that's my guess, so it came first. The Zune pass is basically unlimited internet radio of your choice, since you pick what to stream and when, so that's a much more complicated deal to work out. Add to that each contry has different rules and licensing as well, it's not like there's one sole license MS can get for all of Europe like it did for all of the US, they have to deal with each individual nation in the EU. It just adds to the time it takes, Zune pass should roll out to all of them at some point though, I'm pretty sure about that.

kl33per said,
Indeed. Australia is only just starting to move toward a broadband situation that can justify movie downloads/rentals. Music is no problem however. I was so hopeing that we would at least get music purchasing (and I really wanted Zune Pass), but I guess I'll have to keep buying music online from iTunes then.

Something like the Zune pass is way more tricky of a service to try and license you know. It's not like iTunes that just sells you the music and it's done. They're not the same, and thus you can't really say "well iTunes is here why can't MS get the Zune Pass her as well!".

bluefisch200 said,
I only care about the Zune Pass...no Zune Pass in Switzerland...why can they release a movie rental service but not a music service? Oo

Do you understand what "content licensing" is? It's not like they can just suddenly say "Hey! Let's bring this to the world!"

This has been a long time coming, and the real question will be in what content comes with the video services. We in the UK have crappy movies already available through the Xbox 360 service, but will we get TV Shows, podcasts, trailers, and all the other goodness that the US currently gets?

Anaron said,
I find it weird to not see Canada in the list of countries for "Zune Pass" and "Music purchase".

I guess the deal with Canadas version of the RIAA, whatever you call it, isn't done yet. But MS isn't going to delay the release of WP7 just for that, so you have to go with what you have for now.

basques said,
So music service gets expanded to only 4-5 countries? Isn't this a little pointless?

Yeah, adding a potential of 229 million potential customers is pointless (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=population+of+the+uk+%2B+population+of+france+%2B+population+of+italy+%2B+population+of+spain&asynchronous=false)

Having, then, a total of 549 million customers is also pointless (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=population+of+the+uk+%2B+population+of+france+%2B+population+of+italy+%2B+population+of+spain+%2B+population+of+united+states&asynchronous=false).

They should only sell it in Seattle, Washington. That's a more manageable 0.5 million people. Way simpler.

andrewbares said,

Yeah, adding a potential of 229 million potential customers is pointless (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=population+of+the+uk+%2B+population+of+france+%2B+population+of+italy+%2B+population+of+spain&asynchronous=false)

Having, then, a total of 549 million customers is also pointless (http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=population+of+the+uk+%2B+population+of+france+%2B+population+of+italy+%2B+population+of+spain+%2B+population+of+united+states&asynchronous=false).

They should only sell it in Seattle, Washington. That's a more manageable 0.5 million people. Way simpler.

You might want to compare the existing music services like itunes store, especially considering that they are getting into the game quite late. If you want to catch up with existing competitors, you should follow a more aggressive strategy. What's the point as in, what's the point of trying to sell windows 7 phones with zune software installed in 20-25 countries, if other than those 5 countries listed above, no other country will be able to use the benefits.

basques said,

You might want to compare the existing music services like itunes store, especially considering that they are getting into the game quite late. If you want to catch up with existing competitors, you should follow a more aggressive strategy. What's the point as in, what's the point of trying to sell windows 7 phones with zune software installed in 20-25 countries, if other than those 5 countries listed above, no other country will be able to use the benefits.

Maybe those 5 contries are just the start? WP7 devices will hit those 5 + US and I suppose Canada, first anyways. The English,French,Italian, Spanish speaking places. Later on when they're ready to release it in Asia they'll expand the Zune store there as well.

You can bring iTunes into this but iTunes had the advantage of going first and getting away with crazy deals with the music labels. Everyone else has to work around this, and the Zune Pass isn't even like iTunes, why do you think iTunes doesn't have/do it's own version of the Zune pass anyways? It's a much harder thing to get licensing from for different contries which each have different rules and ownership. Lots of red tape takes time to go through, no way you can just cut through it, you need time.

GP007 said,

Maybe those 5 contries are just the start? WP7 devices will hit those 5 + US and I suppose Canada, first anyways. The English,French,Italian, Spanish speaking places. Later on when they're ready to release it in Asia they'll expand the Zune store there as well.

You can bring iTunes into this but iTunes had the advantage of going first and getting away with crazy deals with the music labels. Everyone else has to work around this, and the Zune Pass isn't even like iTunes, why do you think iTunes doesn't have/do it's own version of the Zune pass anyways? It's a much harder thing to get licensing from for different contries which each have different rules and ownership. Lots of red tape takes time to go through, no way you can just cut through it, you need time.

It's not just the Zune pass. It's obviously really hard to start zune pass in all the countries because of the legal issues, but zune music store is also not available on any other countries.

For example, Telstra in Australia already showcased their WP7 based phones, which will be on sale in October, yet there will be no Zune Pass nor a Zune music store in Australia. Itunes Store already exists for Australia.

This is the problem I was talking about, why should I go and buy a WP7 phone, is I won't be able to use the Zune software with full benefits? (Yes I am a music freak)

basques said,

It's not just the Zune pass. It's obviously really hard to start zune pass in all the countries because of the legal issues, but zune music store is also not available on any other countries.

For example, Telstra in Australia already showcased their WP7 based phones, which will be on sale in October, yet there will be no Zune Pass nor a Zune music store in Australia. Itunes Store already exists for Australia.

This is the problem I was talking about, why should I go and buy a WP7 phone, is I won't be able to use the Zune software with full benefits? (Yes I am a music freak)

It's interesting that you refer to iTunes because they took years and years to come to Australia and yet that didn't seem to harm iPod adoption in that country.

At the end of the day, neither the Zune Marketplace nor the Zune Pass is really essential, it's just a nice service for some people to have. The Zune client software will still work with your local music collection and the software on the phone will still allow you to play your music. If you need to buy music on-line you can continue to do so through iTunes, Amazon (assuming it is available in Australia) or any other on-line store you want to use.

I'm very concerned because, if this global policy expands to the App Marketplace in WP7, means that Latin America will be left out.

Quick Shot said,
0oh. whoops..didn't read the whole article..well it's a little late in the game to be going in i guess.

Lol yep they're a bit late. But I'm an American, so the only country that exists is America, and we had Zune since day one, so it doesn't matter, right?

Quick Shot said,
I wonder how popular the zune platform is compared to iTunes/iPod in Europe and Asia.

Seeing that Zune Marketplace isn't even in Europe or Asia yet, I would guess it isn't popular. Just common sense

WP7 has the chance to change that though

andrewbares said,

Seeing that Zune Marketplace isn't even in Europe or Asia yet, I would guess it isn't popular. Just common sense

WP7 has the chance to change that though

I do know of people who would switch from the iPod to Zine given the chance.

andrewbares said,

Seeing that Zune Marketplace isn't even in Europe or Asia yet, I would guess it isn't popular. Just common sense

WP7 has the chance to change that though

I do know of people who would switch from the iPod to Zine given the chance.

neo158 said,
I do know of people who would switch from the iPod to Zine given the chance.

I don't... People have already seem to have forgotten about the Zune from what I've seen.

watchthisspace said,
A little bit late eh?
Late? WP7 hasn't released yet, so it's early! at least MS are making a good effort to make sure everything is right for WP7 .

EDIT: I'm aware your probably referring more to the Zune player, but outside NA it doesn't even exist (officially) so I didn't even bother to mention it above.