Zune expands to Canada, drops Zune Pass price in US

Microsoft has some great news for those of you in Canada. Starting Monday, the Zune Music Marketplace and Zune Pass will be finally available in Canada. Canadian users will pay C$9.99 a month (or C$99.90) a year for the Zune Pass. Windows Phone users in Canada will now be able able to enjoy approximately 14 million tracks, as well as tens of thousands of indie tunes, according to the Windows Phone Blog.

In addition, Zune Pass users in the US will now be able to pay only $9.99/month and receive unlimited song streaming as they always have. Users of the $9.99 plan will be able to sync Zune on up to four devices. There is a catch, however: Users who opt for the cheaper plan will no longer receive the 10 song downloads a month that they did with the $14.99 plan. You can still opt for either plan, as users of the $14.99 plan can still use the 10 song downloads every month.

In addition, Microsoft has announced the addition of streaming music videos to Zune for US and Canadian users. Microsoft stated in the blog post that streaming music videos will come to the Xbox 360. Right now, the streaming of music videos will be only available through the Zune software. Microsoft has now made the official announcement on the Zune Insider blog regarding all the changes.

 

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

RIM denies shutdown of Playbook

Next Story

Net neutrality supporters file lawsuit against net neutrality rules

34 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I think this launch is positive for a possible expansion to Australia. It looks like we might have Zune BEFORE 2076, which is very welcome news. But seriously, I don't think Zune is far away for us, a small music marketplace appeared temporarily during the 4.8 Beta with Universal Music's catalog for purchase. So I'd expect a launch for us very soon, especially considering that Microsoft would like to use it as a marketing tool to sell Mango phones.

UndergroundWire said,
Why did they drop the price? One word, SPOTIFY.

And Rdio and about a half dozen other services. They have fallen right in line with their pricing and distribution methods

Sraf said,

And Rdio and about a half dozen other services. They have fallen right in line with their pricing and distribution methods

Except your missing one key thing.

Spotify is available on Android, iOS, Palm, Symbian and Windows Phone
Rdio is available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone
Slacker is available on Android, iOS, Palm, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone
Pandora is available on Android, iOS, Palm and BlackBerry

Umm, Zune (get ready to hear crickets) is available on Windows Phone.

Yup Zune is pretty lonely. It's one of Microsoft's many disappointing moves when it comes to this product. I loved my Zune (past tense) but once Spotify was available in the U.S., I quickly gave away my Zune. Microsoft thinks by dangling the carrot of Zune that people will get a Windows Phone. It's obvious. I mean why not open up Zune unlimited streaming on Android and iOS and get more customers? Too bad for Zune and Microsoft because I would have gladly paid for it if it were available on Android.

UndergroundWire said,

Except your missing one key thing.

Spotify is available on Android, iOS, Palm, Symbian and Windows Phone
Rdio is available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone
Slacker is available on Android, iOS, Palm, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Phone
Pandora is available on Android, iOS, Palm and BlackBerry

Umm, Zune (get ready to hear crickets) is available on Windows Phone.

Yup Zune is pretty lonely. It's one of Microsoft's many disappointing moves when it comes to this product. I loved my Zune (past tense) but once Spotify was available in the U.S., I quickly gave away my Zune. Microsoft thinks by dangling the carrot of Zune that people will get a Windows Phone. It's obvious. I mean why not open up Zune unlimited streaming on Android and iOS and get more customers? Too bad for Zune and Microsoft because I would have gladly paid for it if it were available on Android.

this is a really good point as it could be a fast way to expand their market

UndergroundWire said,
...

Just as a note, because I am in Canada, I don't get Spotify, but you do have a point about the lack of support off of MS devices, hopefully they will put out apps in the future for other platforms as a way to get people thinking about getting more MS products again (Halo effect)

And I REALLY wish the biggest barrier to all this stuff would finally get sat down, looked at, and completely revamped for the digital age. What am I talking about? Licensing. There's no good technical reason for Canada to only be getting Zune Music Pass now.

Sam not Spam said,
And I REALLY wish the biggest barrier to all this stuff would finally get sat down, looked at, and completely revamped for the digital age. What am I talking about? Licensing. There's no good technical reason for Canada to only be getting Zune Music Pass now.

Blame the CRTC, I know Microsoft was in the works with them over 2-3 years ago when the Zune HD was still here.

neoxphuse said,

Blame the CRTC, I know Microsoft was in the works with them over 2-3 years ago when the Zune HD was still here.


Correction. The Zune HD was never available in Canada.

ahhell said,

Correction. The Zune HD was never available in Canada.

Yes it was, just not for very long, and not from any brick and mortar store. For a few months this year you could buy it on Zune Originals and have it shipped to a Canadian address, paying with a Canadian credit card

Nice, although I'd really like to see them expand to video and increase their audiobook collection considerably. As is, though, I get $10 worth of songs (or there abouts) and the Zune music buffet for $5... not sure how much video would add to that, price-wise.

I'd sooner own my digital copies as opposed to renting them, if they still had the 10 tracks included for $15, I would consider it, but for now I prefer to support HMV Digital Canada.

Dale said,
I'd sooner own my digital copies as opposed to renting them, if they still had the 10 tracks included for $15, I would consider it, but for now I prefer to support HMV Digital Canada.
Well, its like cable television in that regard (ie, most people pay for something they're not really able to keep, there's far more content available than they can actual consume, etc), but I can see your point. To me the point of a good music service is to help you find more music worth buying and satiate curiosities (like downloading an entire era of jazz or something)... Just goes to show that no product or service can ever adequately meet everyone's needs or wants.

Odd they wouldn't do the $15/10 tracks + sub deal in Canada, though... but that's likely more getting into licensing issues and the music holders not wanting to do it than anything else, I'd imagine.

Dale said,
I'd sooner own my digital copies as opposed to renting them, if they still had the 10 tracks included for $15, I would consider it, but for now I prefer to support HMV Digital Canada.

Lots of people uses these music streaming services as a way to find new music, like through the smartDJ option in Zune or from the social sharing through friends etc. It's good in that if you really like a track or album you can of course still buy it and own a digital copy of it. But the unlimited streaming is a good way to get access to lots of new stuff without the same hit to your wallet, and you can just stop it when you want.

GP007 said,

Lots of people uses these music streaming services as a way to find new music, like through the smartDJ option in Zune or from the social sharing through friends etc. It's good in that if you really like a track or album you can of course still buy it and own a digital copy of it. But the unlimited streaming is a good way to get access to lots of new stuff without the same hit to your wallet, and you can just stop it when you want.

I like to support artists, but I like to know that I own something too, the Zune pass is a great service, I guess it just depends what I really want. - I'm not quite sure yet..

Does anyone know what's happening to the Zune Annual Pass? I currently pay $149.99 for 12 months (effectively 2 months free at the $14.99 price). I'm assuming I'll be grandfathered in and keep the 10 song credits per month. I just don't know if this plan will be available after this change.

AstareGod said,
Does anyone know what's happening to the Zune Annual Pass? I currently pay $149.99 for 12 months (effectively 2 months free at the $14.99 price). I'm assuming I'll be grandfathered in and keep the 10 song credits per month. I just don't know if this plan will be available after this change.

Why not ask @zunesupport on twitter?

Critical Error said,
If only Zune Pass would come to Central Europe. iTunes was enabled here a few days ago. Where are you MS?

it will definately be released before windows 8 so they are all ready to go

The price drop indicated by the headline almost had me.

I was so excited and ready to activate the service, until I saw the catch. If the $14.99 service was $9.99 I'd do it, but $14.99 is too much, and not getting the 10 songs is a deal breaker.

shamburg said,
The price drop indicated by the headline almost had me.

I was so excited and ready to activate the service, until I saw the catch. If the $14.99 service was $9.99 I'd do it, but $14.99 is too much, and not getting the 10 songs is a deal breaker.

I think dropping the 10 songs a month is what let MS finally get the green light in Canada as well, because it's the same case in other parts of the world that also get the Zune Marketplace and don't get the 10 songs at all. At least MS will keep existing users with the same deal if they want the 10 songs, it's just newer users who sign up now won't get that option.

shamburg said,
The price drop indicated by the headline almost had me.

I was so excited and ready to activate the service, until I saw the catch. If the $14.99 service was $9.99 I'd do it, but $14.99 is too much, and not getting the 10 songs is a deal breaker.

The $9.99 a month plan is basically the same as the UK one except we pay £14.99 a month which works out at something like $23.39 so you guys get a better deal than us.

neo158 said,

The $9.99 a month plan is basically the same as the UK one except we pay £14.99 a month which works out at something like $23.39 so you guys get a better deal than us.


Zune is £8.99/month or £89.90 per year- which, when you factor in sales tax is $11.22 or $9.36 per month respectively. UK Zune Pass user since 2006- there was no way in heck I was going to switch from my US account unless the conversion worked out fair

I have a WP7 device, Xbox 360, and a Zune HD, so the service integrates across platforms really nicely. I might drop to the $9.99 plan because I still buy CD's for the artists I support. Good to have physical medium.

I'd like to point out that MS just made a small change as far as naming goes but no one is bringing this up yet it seems. Up till this point the name was always Zune Pass, but now with the $9.99 price they're calling it the Zune Music Pass. I think this is key and is going to setup MS to do a Zune Video Pass for maybe $9.99 as well or a bit higher. They might then also bring back a Zune "pro" pass or gold pass w/e for like $19.99 that covers both unlimited music and video streaming etc.

Can't wait. Rdio, you've been good, but Zune is more integrated with my Phone (Rdio's WP app doesn't use the native media controls, and while you might think that this is only an issue after they get a background task support, it also puts a damper on using my Wheel controls in my Ford Focus)