Zune expands to Canada, drops Zune Pass price in US

Zune expands to Canada, drops Zune Pass price in US

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Rock on, Canada! Starting Monday, the Zune Music Marketplace and Zune Music Pass is expanding north, giving Windows Phone owners in Canada access to more than 14 million tracks from all the major labels, as well as tens of thousands of indie labels.

A Zune Pass will cost C$9.99 per month (or C$99.90 a year). Besides a Windows Phone, subscribers can also listen on a Xbox 360, Windows PC, Zune device, and Zune.net. (New to Windows Phone? Here’s how to use a Zune Pass on it.)

New streaming music videos

That’s not the only big Zune news today. Starting Monday, Zune Music Pass subscribers in the US and Canada can also now stream tens of thousands of music videos through the Zune PC software (and soon the Xbox 360).

Cheaper Zune Music Pass

Budget-minded music buffs are also in luck. On Monday, Microsoft starts selling a new, less-expensive Zune Music Pass. The new plan costs $9.99 a month (about $5 cheaper than the current plan) but gives you unlimited, on-demand access to the same catalog of music and (now) music videos.  It also includes unlimited streaming access on a Xbox 360 and Zune.net.

There is one important change:  Under the new plan, you no longer get 10 free MP3s to keep each month.  (Current subscribers can stay on the $14.99 plan with 10 free downloads, if they choose. )

Subscribers to the $9.99 plan can synch downloaded songs with up to four devices (1 PC + any combination of PC, Zune HD, or Windows Phone).

Look for the official announcement on the Zune Insider blog—or sign up for a Zune Music Pass.

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  • hearing about the zune discontinue is sad. but as a question for people like me who bought just the premium earphones will we be able to get replacements if they stop working?

    also i think it was unfair that they quietly introduced the zune hd on th cdn site & only few site knew of its existence.

    would be nice if they were to add the social ad-hoc feature into the wp7 os as that was it niche but now you can do that with mp3's using 3ds's street pass feature with no playback restrictions

  • y0av
    1 Posts

    So what do you say about clearing things up for us?

    Last week, only a few hours before Apple (yuck) announced the release of the iPhone 4S, rumors about the death of Zune and the end of manufacturing began flying around.

    Surprisingly, no word from you guys.

    The Zune hardware suddenly disappeared from Zune.net, then came back, showing only the HD 16GB.

    What's going on?

    God knows I'm not an apple fan. But you give us hell every time.

    I had to juggle my way to buy my first Zune, then had to "conn" your website to order the HD from a non-US address, had to suffer this machine from not being able to read anything except english, and the list goes on....

    Bad part about it was that the Zune is ten times better than any iPod.

    Worst part about it is that you're making the same mistakes with WP7!

    Your market is not only where those weird people that consult you say it is, it's much wider. This is the only darn reason that all my friends have iPhone 4 with these magnificent apps, and only I struggle with a phone that has little to no apps, that don't support my language and is only half cooked...

    Is this the future of WP7? to disappear in a vague sound one day?

    Shame on you, Microsoft.

    This is the exactly the right path to help Apple grow just a little more.

    People say they're disappointed there was no iPhone 5 last week.

    Well, I find your way of business even more disappointing.

  • the zune pc app didnt activate till late afternoon(EST) & it wasnt till the next day the 360 had partial support) & wp7 users have to wait till next mon. so ive herd. the delay on launch day was from an issue across the whole live network link to info about that here: blogs.msdn.com/.../issues-with-xbox-live-earlier-today.aspx

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    @jr97ai  You're not alone, I'm in the same boat. No Smart DJ, no marketplace access and no Zune Pass sign in on WP. It could be that deployment of those features is lagging behind the Zune Music launch, or simply that someone forgot to flip the switch for these features on Canadian Zune accounts. Let us know if you manage to make it work!

  • jr97ai
    1 Posts

    Hi, the Zune pass is awesome!  I just signed up today as we just received it here in Canada.  One question though... I can't see Marketplace under music with the Mango update.  Is this an issue or is there a download or something coming to fix that?

  • Bring it to Latin America please... I want Zune Pass on my Windows Phone.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts


    Scuba's right, suddenly I feel less and less like visiting aussieland, it was on my "Before I get old and die" list.  It's potentially moved to my "warning, may cause death" list now ;).

  • LOL, @Strider_Auz, you sure know how to market the dive industry for Australia, eh?  Are you working for their tourism department? (kidding...I kid!)  Thanks for the info, though.  I didn't know crocs were an issue in salt water!

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    Where are the YouTube and IE9 apps for Zune?

  • i think i know why ms was able to get it setup in canada now & not a yeart or 2 ago its because of Bill C-32 being brought up again(& it might pass this time) for the 2nd time by PM. it has some good parts to it & it has some bad parts to it(as far as consumers are concerned)

  • Sheeds
    205 Posts

    @ScubaDiver2011 TNX :) If you do get to Aus (scuba diving) you will think your in 7th heaven up north off the Barrier Reef.  Just watch the crocs, the killer jellyfish, deadly stonefish, poisonous octopus, sharkes and boats leaving you behind on the reef and you shopuld be OK.  When you are on land, its only snakes, spiders, ticks and angry kangarros or sex-starved Koalas you need to look out for. ;)

    Seriously though - Cairns and the tropical North is somewhere you just HAVE to visit some time :)

  • Sheeds
    205 Posts

    Hey Michael :) We all need to keep a sense of humour and some perspective. We might all have wants and think our issue is the most important in the world, needing our voice to trumpet it...but the reality is there are people out there that can't fulfil their basic needs, or those of their families...

    Congrats to Canada - and the new changes look interesting.  I have blogged my detailed thoughts on Zune Pass and what your announcements might signify more broadly (for Aussies) here: www.wpdownunder.com

    Would be interested in your thoughts on that piece - NDA's aside :P




  • tsrblke
    327 Posts


    Music Videos?  That's something Spotify doesn't seem to have.

    Also Xbox integration.  That's pretty cool.  (Load up a artist, hit Go and it makes a playlist.)

    But yes, sans 10 free songs it kinda drops into the background.

  • I think what made the Zune pass so different was the 10 "free" songs. Is there any reason why Zune is better than Deezer or Spotify under the new conditions?

  • Sven
    54 Posts

    @gfunk84  Huh? Not much point in Zune at all then, if you can't stream and you can't buy. Other than to get your own media on and off the WP (or Zune if you got one). Sometimes it seems the internet has served more to highlight our differences/disparities than break them down.

  • Robert
    4 Posts

    When will Microsoft make the backup process for the wp7 phone settings easier, especially when replacing a new phone.  So you don't go an manually reinstall all you files.

  • gfunk84
    9 Posts

    @Sven: I don't know about the rest of the world, but in Canada you cannot currently buy any music from Zune. Even after October 3, I'm not sure if we'll be able to outright buy music. Amazon MP3 is not available here. It's pretty much just iTunes or crappy Canadian alternatives.

  • Sven
    54 Posts

    Question for others around the world. Can you not buy music from Zune? Thought it was the Pass that was not offerred widely. (you can buy from iTunes/Amazon right?)  I always thought that the streaming would be the licensing nightmare. You 'buy' a song, somebody gets a percentage of the sale. You stream it and you don't really transfer it, so nobody really bought it, so what is the percentage of the 'sale'? What are the rules about 'loaning' music, multiple times to multiple people?

  • Razor
    53 Posts


    I really hop this means I will finally see backgrounds and the Live Tile work in the Zune player.

  • Freypal
    59 Posts

    So like the UK's Zune pass only around 30% cheaper.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts


    Just remember, I'm free form speculating on this one. It seems feasable to me (I mean why else would you drop your signature move to blend in with the crowd, except I guess hemorraging money, but I prefer not to think about that.)  I have 0 actual knowledge about any of this.  Less than 0 anyway.

    I just put 2 and 2 together (changes to the Zune pass, expansion to Canada, and the expansion of WP7, which has Zune as a major counterpart.)

  • Filipe
    6 Posts

    As tsrblke says:

    "I wonder if the reason they scrapped keeps was to make it feasable to expand it to other countries.  I imagine the liscensing for that is crazy."

    This would be excellent! Most Microsoft services would be available everywhere! I'm in Portugal and we don't get it here, but it would be very nice to have!

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    I wonder if the reason they scrapped keeps was to make it feasable to expand it to other countries.  I imagine the liscensing for that is crazy.

  • I think I'll keep the $14.99 plan. Those 10 free songs are a nice perk. :)

  • atm153
    1 Posts

    Will Zune be coming to Mac potentially? I don't really mind running it in a VM to sync Zune Pass tracks to my phone, but it'd be nice to have it native.

  • talexe
    5 Posts

    Any plans for a similar price cut in the UK? A Zune Pass for us is still equivalent to $14 a month and I didn't go beyond my trial period because of it.

  • I'm liking the price drop option :)

    Zune on.

  • Wonders if the background album art / live tile / and the new screen lock album art view will work WITHOUT the Zune pass here in Canada?

    Wouldn't it be sweet to stream movies on Zune like Netflix...  

    And my last thought would be having a 2 or 3 tiered payment system...

  • Wonders if the background album art / live tile / and the new screen lock album art view will FINALLY work without the Zune pass here in Canada?

    Wouldn't it be sweet to stream video on Zune like Netflix...  

    And my last thought would be having a 2 or 3 tiered payment system...

    1) $9.99 streaming only and no songs to keep

    2) $14.99 current plan (this must be an option to NEW subscribers! DO NOT CANCEL THIS PLAN)

    3) One can dream about a $?? music and video streaming combined plan!

  • Sven
    54 Posts

    Take heed, the Zune Insider says "Once the new Zune Music Pass offering is available, the $14.99 plan with 10 monthly MP3 credits will no longer be available to new subscribers. However, current subscribers can stay on their existing Zune Music Pass plan if they choose and will also have access to streaming music videos."

    So I look at it like this. I pay $10 to listen to all the music I want, just like anyone else. If I like stuff, I can buy it at 50 cents a track for the first 10 tracks. Those keepers you can burn to a CD, (audio or MP3), or copy them to an iPod, which my car radio actually interfaces to. The plain Zune Pass downloads, you can't do that with. You listen with a PC, or Zune or WP. You can, I assume, still buy all the DRM free music you want. I just get a break on the first 10.  In case anyone is waffling on whether to jump on a Pass before Oct 3.

    Personally eliminating the 'half price' incentive with the 10 'free' is a mistake. If I have to pay full price to keep a song, no reason I shouldn't go to Apple or Amazon to buy them (Yes, they are DRM free too). The 'album a month' is an incentive to be on Zune, poorly advertised before, and now gone.

  • Ehsan
    12 Posts

    Can we still get the old $150 yearly subscribtion (3PC/3Device/keep the 10)?

    (Who on earth has only one PC and one device? I have 3 PCs, a WP and a Xbox!, The reason I don't have a forth PC is the Zune Pass)

  • I'm a fan of the $14.99 plan, actually.  It would be nice if Microsoft would offer both.  Certainly, I'll be doing my best to make sure my subsciption isn't interrupted so I can hold onto the original plan, but I think it would be smart to offer both.

    Hats off to @Strider_Auz....as a scuba diver I've long wanted to hit your neck of the woods.

    Regarding the social aspects of Zune, I'm guessing that must have been unique to the actual Zune device meme.  I think the other social integration of WP7 took preference over deciding to continue with Zune Social.  And, if that's the case, it's makes sense.  In fact, now that Spotify has latched themselves to Facebook and, coupled with the new Timeline, FB will advertise what you're listening too and allow others to 'stream along', it seems to me that this kind of connection would be served well by including Zune, too.  IOW, put the old Zune Social in the past and see about integrating it with FB.

  • Sven
    54 Posts

    Does the $14.99 plan continue with the same number of devices? Think that was 2-3 PC, and 4 mobile (Zune and WP)? I'm already short on mobile options. I agree with whoever below, don't lose the 10 keepers/month, and don't reduce the number of players for a subscription.  

    For videos, are they the same as songs, you can download and not be connected to view, subject to DRM license. Or is it really just stream?  For those that don't know, up to now you could just buy music videos.

  • gfunk84
    9 Posts

    Does this mean we'll also get background art on the lock screen and Music + Videos hub in Canada?

  • I got excited but then I finish reading the post and saw the "expansion" is only going to Canada. Still waiting I guess.

  • Zartan
    22 Posts

    @UCFw00t Microsoft was so far ahead of the curve with the social aspects of Zune, but they've really dropped the ball by eliminating it from Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has done nothing with Zune Social all these years and meanwhile Facebook has swooped in with Spotify and iTunes has introduced Ping. Zune Social should have been plugged into Facebook and Twitter years ago.

    Zune on Windows Phone doesn't even include the social anymore. Shows Microsoft is moving in the completely wrong direction. What a complete bungle. They beat everyone to the market on social sharing of music by years and then they give up just as the concept is becoming popular.

  • Zartan
    22 Posts

    Please don't ever take the 10 MP3 plan away. That is the only reason I subscribe to Zune Pass. If you ever take those MP3s away I will just cancel my subscription and go back to torrent. You can raise the rates, but don't ever kill the 10 MP3s a month plan. I have an annual plan that is the best deal. I would be so disappointed if it ever stops.

    With no free MP3 downloads I don't see how you will be able to compete with the other music subscription services that are available on far more devices (iOS and Android). Unless you introduce some kind of Zune Video Pass like Netflix or Amazon Prime I think Zune is at a huge disadvantage versus the other music subscription services.

  • @ least we now have an altenative to using music on the 360

  • Filipe
    6 Posts

    What about Portugal? With Mango we finally have apps but we miss the Zune marketplace! Spain is right next to Portugal and they have it all! Come on Microsoft, expand the services worldwide, not just to America or the big countries in Europe! :(

  • Does this mean podcast marketplace in Canada too?

  • UCFw00t
    7 Posts

    Welcome to the Social, Canada!


    I love Zune Pass but the social aspects really need some work. It could be an awesome platform but sucks as of now.

  • AnZ
    12 Posts

    @ Michael.  Can we Have multiple live ID's to be logged in at the same time? for the messenger on WP7.5?

  • You've made my day! Been waiting for this forever!

  • +1 @ what Strider_Auz said

    I love WP7 but if Microsoft love its customers, it should provide them with better services!

    The U.S. (and now Canada) are not the only 2 countries in the world... and definitely not the only 2 countries that bring Microsoft money

  • Marcus
    3 Posts

    Hopefully it starts as soon as possible in Austria! You do a great job with windows phone and zune :D

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    Awesome news about Zune in Canada though!! (sorry if I double post, my first comment got filtered out)

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    Speaking of Canada, Mike, it's illegal (and dangerous!) here to operate a device while driving. The tap-voice-navigation feature needs to be fixed/disabled ASAP before someone gets into an accident.

  • @Strider_Auz (et. al.): Hahahaha. At least you haven't lost your sense of humor. No news on other markets. But that doesn't mean folks here aren't keen to expand our services around the world. I'll let you know as soon as I hear something.

  • Sheeds
    205 Posts

    Australia (Melbourne) just took the title of the world's most livable city off Vancouver Canada.  On this basis, Australia should have got Zune Pass next ;) :P <this broken old record is getting some shut-eye>

    At least there's no more need for the Elliot Ness Special Mountie Police Force to stop illegal Zune Passes being smuggled across the border....

  • Do You Have ANY News On The Zune Marketplace & Zune Music Pass Rolling Out To Australia?  Please Please Please!

  • This is excellent news, despite the decrease to the number of Zune devices. I'm one of those people who uses every last one, but the price drop will be great for most people. Thankfully, I'm grandfathered into the old plan.

  • Hi Michael,

    What are Microsoft's plans for ROW? Specifically India.

  • good to hear. its about time.

    i thought music vids. were availbe already(not the greatest selection)

    does this mean well be getting zune hd in canada?