zunehdGood news for all of you remaining Zune users — all three of you.

Microsoft is making a series of changes that will affect users of its legacy Zune media devices and services, including retiring its Zune Marketplace music and video service as part of its shift away from to Microsoft Points to real currency.

But for longtime Zune users, one thing not going away is an early Zune Music Pass benefit that provided 10 complimentary music downloads a month as part of a Zune subscription. This perk was introduced in 2008 and discontinued in 2011 for new accounts, but it’s still grandfathered in for original users.

“There will be no impact to your original Zune Music Pass or your ability to redeem your 10 monthly song credits,” the company promises in an FAQ outlining the upcoming changes in the Zune Marketplace.

[PreviouslyFond memories of Microsoft Zune … in brown, of course]

Microsoft says people who have been using Zune Marketplace to rent and purchase video and music will still be able to stream music via an Xbox Music Pass and continue to play back media in their personal collections.

Microsoft introduced the Zune back in 2006 in a futile attempt to compete with the iPod, and stopped making new devices after the Zune HD. The design of the Zune interface was a precursor in some ways to Microsoft’s current UI for Windows Phone and Windows 8.

The Verge and Neowin have more on the Zune Marketplace changes.

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  • Jeremy Schroder

    That’s awesome! I am one of the remaining three. Actually, I don’t use a Zune anymore because I use my phone for all my music. However, I do still have the Zune Music Pass and use Zune Marketplace to purchase and browse music. I find the old Zune Marketplace to be much better than the Xbox Music UI. Glad to hear that I’ll keep getting my 10 songs per month, but disappointed that Zune Marketplace is going away. Hope they improve Xbox Music soon.

    • Guest

      I also think the Zune s/w UI is better than anything in either Xbox Music or W8 generally. Really don’t understand why they didn’t let that team have more influence over the latter.

    • http://www.atebymonsters.com Matt

      As one of the remaining three as well :), I’m very happy I’ll get to continue downloading my 10 free songs a month … the only reason why I still renew that subscription.

      I’m sad to hear they are killing off more features of the Zune software. Even with the gutted social elements the software is still leaps and bounds better than the Xbox Music app on Windows 8, in fact the Zune software is my primary music app on all my Windows 8 computers.

      I don’t have faith Microsoft will deliver a Xbox Music app that would be comparable to the feature rich Zune app. They’ve had two attempts now and it still lacks.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    GIve credit where due. Good for Microsoft for continuing to honor a pledge to its customers.

  • Jason Farris


  • Byron

    Hmm, I’m one of the remaining three as well

  • mike

    The zune and the marketplace was and always will be better than the ipod and iTunes. It’s called advertisement, that is where apple beat Microsoft and because of that they stayed in while Microsoft left.

  • Ughh not again

    Not so quick folks, if they are discontinuing the Zune Marketplace how will one access their credits. My understanding and present use has been that we had to use the “old software” as a work around to stay grand fathered. Now that they will no longer allow streaming and it sounds like the marketplace is closing down how can we review content and also download, i think they are working a loophole.

  • seth thomas

    Reading the comments I guess I’m #3. Woot!

  • David Lunatto

    I am an original subscriber to Zune and when I purchased my new xbox they changed my program and cancelled the 10 free songs. I feel duped! I really enjoyed that feature and so far am not liking xbox music as much as the zune software. I am also frustrated because my windows lumia phone doesn’t sync with xbox music. I am a loyal but frustrated Microsoft user!

  • Linda R

    Ugh 3 users? Whatever. We Zune fans are far more numerous than that and we are still out here. Quit being so insulting to people’s tastes. Not everyone worships and licks the toes of Apple. I for one LOVE Zunes. The style, the software, the EASE OF USE. My sister has an ipod and I can’t tell how absolutely anger-inducing that piece of junk was. It’s a shame Microsoft cut the cord on Zunes. I would have loved to upgrade to the HD player back in the day. *sigh* And now that my Zune is inexplicably and frustratingly MIA, I’m even more angry that I don’t have it.

    • betty

      I also LOVE the Zune. iPod sucks =)

      • Linda R

        Heck yes they suck. Immensely. And itunes is no better. Zune’s program has such a nicer interface. It’s easy to navigate, easy to see what’s on Zune, what’s NOT on Zune.No complicated sync process. Never was able to say the same for ipods. Of course it may have changed since I last tried it, but it makes no difference to me anyway. I’m just that attached to Zune!

  • Bill

    Hey Todd Bishop- Bite Me! Zune was a MUCH BETTER CONCEPT THAN ItUNES EVER WAS! It just wasn’t marketed properly to all the idiots out there who don’t know any better

  • mtnmedic

    So here I am, a LOYAL Zune fan ever since day one. I have had the $14.99 plan ever since and I’ve loved it, along with my Zune player (now a 64GB HD, which I use constantly).
    I had no problems until very recently. I got notification from MS in OCTOBER that sometime in November Zune Marketplace would be shutting down, so to speak. But it didn’t say one word about the old $14.99 account holders like me. I couldn’t find any answers from MS about it. I actually found out from the Windows Weekly podcast (Paul Thurrot and Leo Laporte), which I listen to fairly regularly. I went to Paul’s Supersite for Windows to find out that he’d learned that MS would continue to let us grandfathered $14.99 customers claim our 10 tracks per month using the Zune software.
    I missed out for the last two months because I was gone most of the time and I just got back. Just this month, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I couldn’t claim my song credits. I got an error stating “There’s no Zune account for this Windows Live ID. Create a new Zune account or create/use a different Windows Live ID” HUH?
    I’m using the SAME Windows Live ID (in fact, it’s my MSN.com mail account I’ve had since the early 90s) and the SAME Zune Pass account since it all got started. Other errors when attempting to “buy” using my 10 song credits: “Unknown error” and “Can’t log in right now”.
    I’ve been pulling my hair out for the last couple of weeks trying to find a solution to this problem without any success. ANY kind of help links regarding Zune go nowhere and all everyone talks about is Windows Phone. I have Windows 7 (I do NOT plan to upgrade to Windows 8 at all), a Zune HD and the latest version of Zune software plus all the updates. Unfortunately, TODAY is the last day of this billing cycle that I can claim my tracks or lose them.
    So, is the Zune really dead? Is my Zune software nothing more than a music player and manager? Can I no longer claim my 10 tracks a month? If so, why am I paying $14.99 for something that should be $9.99 because they’re happy to take my $14.99 and not tell me that I can no longer get the 10 tracks? I smell a class action lawsuit.
    But, as it is, I can’t even use my 10 song credits for this month and they’ll expire at midnight.
    This really blows. Zune software, Zune player and Zune pass absolutely were the BEST. Apple and Xbox don’t even come close. RIP Zune.
    God help the guy who ruined Zune if he crosses paths with me on the street….

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