Zune Marketplace will no longer support rental and purchases; Zune Pass holders still okay

Microsoft is continuing their phased closure of the Zune Marketplace, which has been replaced with Xbox Music and Video. The latest change involves users not being able to purchase music or video through the service starting as early as August 22nd. For that reason, Microsoft is encouraging you to spend any Microsoft Point balances before that date.

The move appears to be a combination of Microsoft wanting to move away from Zune, a necessary decision if they want to support only Xbox Music and Video, and the retirement of the MS Points system, which is being replaced by cash across their entire ecosystem.

Email that Microsoft is sending to Zune Pass holders

The good news is those with an original Zune Pass, which allowed 10-free downloads per month, will still be able to continue to exercise that offer (since no Points or Money are exchanged, that makes sense). In a similar fashion, streaming of free content, including music, won’t be affected either.

Microsoft has published an easy to digest Q&A on the changes and if you have a Zune Pass, it behooves you to take the five minutes to read it through.

Source: Microsoft


Reader comments

Zune Marketplace will no longer support rental and purchases; Zune Pass holders still okay


Agreed. Zune is still much better than Xbox Music. And for the 85% of Windows users who don't have Windows 8 go buy your music and videos from iTunes/Amazon???? Why would they do something this stupid and stop supporting XP/7 this soon?

I buy mine from both, but I'm going to start buying from Amazon again, because Xbox music sucks, and a cd i just purchase was $4 cheaper on amazon compared to Xbox music.

I actually downloaded just the MP3s, and that was only 7.99 (I think just a buck or 2 more to have a physical cd + shipping, but I have amazon prime so would have been free for me!!!) I have no interest in physical cds anymore..
11.99 for the same Album on Xbox Music...

It's not stupid. The new Xbox service is one of the sides of the Windows 8 market. They want people to get into 8 now, not hanging out on the old OS and hardware with a Zune service that, because it's not Microsoft's content, can't do much better than break even. Yes, they may lose some to Amazon, iTunes etc. but Microsoft's biggest competitor is XP, Vista, and 7.

Colloquial doesn't mean "formal", if that's what you were getting at. It would actually mean the opposite. So he was saying that he wasn't trying to be proper, he was being overly familiar or even "lax" (lackadaisical) in his "tone" by spelling it that way. "Ne'ermind" is what I think he meant to type. 
Anyway, I wasn't even a part of this so I'll make sure the door doesn't hit me in the ass on my way out :)  
I too have the 10 free songs and I hate that I can't sign into xbox music anymore because I used a completely different Microsoft account when first signing into Windows 8. I don't want to use my Gmail username any longer but can't seem to completely link the accounts together. All of my credits are in the old account. Any suggestions?  

But how will this work if you want to purchase an album with more than 10 songs and want to use your credits toward the purchase? I do this every month because I'd prefer to use my credits toward ownership of albums over songs.

Currently it applies the song credits and just charges me for the difference. So this option will no longer be supported?

Except the Zune software, as much as I enjoyed my days as an early adopter, was kind of boggy and a resource hog. I'm very much enjoying Xbox Music on Windows 8, just signed up for subscription too.

I agree on this. My computer would slow down with Zune. I like XBOX music but it has a lot of functionality missing... It's hard to give a music player a clean look because I can randomly change my mind & want to search without leaving or compromising information being displayed. Zune was nice...

Really? I find the opposite! That Zune is smooth and Xbox music is just meh. And constantly matches songs incorrectly.

Zune was still better than iTunes for Windows. I couldnt even play music, and once waited 5 minutes for a song to pause. Safe to say i switched to zune and never looked back.

Zune was and still is light years ahead of iTunes. It was further ahead of iTunes than the iPhone was of other smartphones at the time it launched. Timeless. I'm hoarding installers so I never have to be without it hahaha. (j/k...only kinda)

I agree. It's a real shame that Microsoft gave up on Zune. It's one of the best products they've ever come up with.

I agree. I live in the uk but I had a original Zune imported in from the usa and got my gf a 2nd gen Zune and she still uses her Zune today and the amount of people who have asked here where did she get it from as it looks nicer than an Ipod. The problem Microsoft had with the Zune was they only offered it to the usa and because of this it was never going to take on the Ipod.

I think Microsoft should look to bring out some more Zune mp3 players under Xbox music but price them right and maybe have them running windows phone but without the phone and then start pushing it on tv, radio and bill boards but showing off the music pass as for me this is the best option on the market as it works with my surface rt, my Lumia 925, my gf Zune and Lumina 900 and my brother uses it to on his Titan as well as using the service on my 360 and Xbox one when I get it later this year.

It isn't the quickest program, but that's what updates are for. If they had been optimizing it all these years it could be incredible.

But whatever the case, I'm not enjoying syncing with my WP8 at all. It was so much better with my Trophy, and I could keep both my Zune and Trophy updated in the same program with superior file management.

I was beginning to think I was the only one who wasn't overly enamored of the Zune software. Don't get me wrong, much better than iTunes, but a big hog of a program.

I saw the article title had "Zune" in it and got all excited for something positive like this. ...Then I saw it was nothing to get happy about.

They need to get literate over there at Microsoft! At one point they looked like the new leader in eBooks with their Nook investment. Now? No Nook. Office still reeks as an EBook Publisher. No decent readers, no marketplace. The Amazon Reader is ancient compared to the Android Version. FlipBook is still on hold for "Sometime alter this year".
We don't get HD screens until the new hardware. Bright sun makes for a bad Lumia Reader. That's industry normal
Easily my biggest disappointment. The Least Literate of the platforms.
Xbox Video and Music? Better than they were. Somewhat competitive but not outstanding. Needs Improvement still At first glance the metadata mess was better after the last round of updates (GDR2) and latest Desktop Client. Everything I imported came out OK. Tomorrow I will give it a real challenge.
It's been a good year of catchup but the paltform is still a  year away overall

You've said a mouthful there that's not based on reality so maybe you yourself need eBooks more than MS to make you literate.

I have thought about getting a cheap phone to do the job, but I was just wondering if zune would work as most my music is from xbox service

Not a bad idea, but the 520 doesn't dock to a home theater and output a gorgeous 720p display shwoing album art, artist, album name and song title with photo background.  XBox Music for living room jams is OK, but it certainly isn't as fast and easy to use.

Yeah, at a certain price point a low end Lumia will be good for what you need and perform faster than a Zune player, even an unopened Zune HD. I love my Zune HD and still use it every day but it's not anywhere near as smooth an experience as wp7/8 is and the software, god bless it, is really starting to show its age.

There isn't? Holy lord I assumed that's why they were comfortable pulling the plug on the Zune software. But man I had no idea, that's f*ckin crazy....

The message didn't say anything about getting rid of Zune (yet), just eliminating a near-0 profit path selling other people's copyrighted content. They aren't making anything on people sitting on old XP machines either: 2 times 0 is still 0.
XBox Music is clearly part of a strategy to diversify Windows beyond OS. For those receiving this message the pitch for Windows 8 in the links may look much better than what they currently get with Zune (great iTunes replacement aside.) A way to buy with real currency is the big one they're stressing in the email, and for many that's a huge and favorable change. They have linked to the pages that describe the other changes. It may be worth a Windows 8 upgrade license, or even a new Windows device, for many. For others, well, they won't buy any more movies & music from Microsoft.
But I suspect Amazon & Apple will cut ties with XP shortly, probably with promotions to move people to their own OS/device hegemonies. Microsoft has to move on this.

Why not just convert the points to currency? I have 110 points, $1.375, remaining. Guess I need to buy 50 points somehow.

I believe the points are converting to currency, but you won't be able to buy music or videos on Zune anymore (with points or currency). So if you'd like to buy something on Zune, you'd have to use your Microsoft points because the conversion hasn't happened yet.

Rebrand Zune software as XBox music.  XBox Music on Windows 8 leave much to be desired.  Make a destop version and a modern/metro version and let people choose which to use.  Then we'll all be happy campers (if there is such a thing as a happy camper).

I pay for Xbox Music but use Zune to download songs for offline use. Would I be affected? I can't find anything for my odd uses
On Windows 8, music downloaded can only be played in Xbox Music on Metro. There is no way to play your songs on the desktop like through WMPlayer for example.

I hope not...cause I'm on the same boat. I could only find this:

"Will I still be able to use Zune to enjoy the music, movies, and TV shows in my personal collection?
Yes, you will still be able to stream unlimited music with your Xbox Music Pass and enjoy playback of the music, movies, and TV shows in your personal collection."

But it doesn't sound like we will be able to "download" the music from what it states. All will be known on August 23rd, the first day in effect.

Why are they smacking Xbox on everything? Silly branding decision. Zune is a better name and had a better logo. Just imagine the Zune logo on a clear amoled screen *whew*. They should associate everything pertaining to media with Zune, and everything pertaining to gaming with Xbox.

I will forever love Zune,as long as it exists, and my Zune pass with credits. I will forever love the Zune software for a much more rich and easy to use program than Xbox music, maybe Xbox Music will become the Zune like experience that I hope it to be, but for now it will never be a replacement to what I enjoyed about Zune so much, doesn't seem it ever will be, and I'll never understand. I love u Zune.

Sorry Microsoft but Xbox Music Sucks compared to Zune as a music player.  I'm still mad I can't sync with it so I just use Media player instead.  Xbox Music and the Windows Phone app need a lot of work.  

What's next? Purchasing music on wp7 will be disabled since that is technically zune, although it used currency?

I'm willing to change over to XBOX MUSIC... However MS should have just renamed Zune to Xbox and worked on improvements from there.  Zune was a great program and system and the HD is Fantastic.  I still think Xbox Musiuc has a long way to go but I'm sure it'll catch up...

Got excited, then read through. 10 song pass holder and don't want to give it up but they keep inching away from everything that was wonderful about Zune. They really need to rebrand Zune to Xbox music, optimize the code and release it as a desktop alternative for Win XP/Vista/7 users.

I apologize in advance if this an obvious question, but like many others I have been using the Zune software exclusively for using my 10 song credits each month.  Have they updated the Windows Xbox Music client on Windows 8 (not Windows Phone) to be able to use those song credits?  I only use the Zune software to download my songs (using my credits) since the Windows 8 Xbox Music app was never able to use those song credits. If not then how can they say that the original Zune Pass is unaffected when you in fact cannot use your song credits on anything other than a Windows Phone?

As far as I can see..NO..I tried last month to do this on XBOX MUSIC but couldn't.
As for Zune, you'll still be able to use your song credits...FAQS make it seem like that and streaming music is all you will be able to do.

Thanks for confirming. Every time I try downloading in Xbox Music it prompts me to pay instead of using my free credits. As long as they don't kill the Zune completely I guess I can keep using that.

Xbox music is a joke, the idea that people who own windows phones or tablets will be fine with the branding of xbox is also a joke.

You obviously don't know how XBOX MUSIC works...come again. If you "BUY" songs from MS all of them are "ACCESSIBLE ON ALL YOUR DEVICES." Same way as AMAZON!

And if you buy Amazon's mp3's, then Windows/Xbox lets you match+sync them around to any device, sync playlists containing them, etc. Same with any other MP3 store's MP3s or even those you bought long ago as CDs and ripped.
This is the difference between what Amazon is doing and Microsoft is doing. Amazon is willing to sell you MP3s without you updating your OS because they do not sell that OS. Microsoft wants you to update your OS so that things Amazon sells work great, even if you don't stick with Amazon.

Wade, I was following you, until the last part? I think? "MS wants us to update so Amazon mp3s work great." ??

First you have to understand my assertion that Microsoft make near 0 profit on MP3 sale & subscription (as evidence, 1) Apple made near 0 profit on iTunes music sales 2) although Spotify continues to increase revenue with subscriptions and ads, they are still near 0 on profit.) This isn't going to change soon: popular artists/labels control all the supply of popular music; it doesn't come from anywhere else.
So when Microsoft sells MP3s and other content, they do so only as there is another profit opportunity. That opportunity used to be Zune hardware + the ecosystem. Now it's multiple Windows licenses + the ecosystem. And as competitors have removed DRM, music player features that "surround" MP3s regardless of who sold them is where the new capability opportunity is. As I've said already, all the distinctive features of Xbox Music have little to do w/ music sale and all to do w/ making sure music works great across devices, regardless of where the music comes from. Amazon or any-sourced MP3 can now play on any Windows device you own w/ little trouble, if you upgrade to 8. (The reality is that it's a bit of trouble, but that is just poor execution.)

The FAQ is unclear (or I'm just dense). Will I still be able to use my Music Pass on my 7.5 device or will this 'force' me to upgrade to WP 8 in order to rent songs monthly? Or is the monthly song rental model going away?

uggh, they are slowly killing off Zune.   Sadface...XBox Music is STILL 5 steps backwards from Zune...even on the RTM release of 8.1. 

Yup...slowly but surely they're killing us ol' ZUNERS off...All that's left is for them to take our 10 song credits...then feed us to the birds :(

I will bet that is their next move. Problem is if they do that they're gonna lose like 75% of their current marketshare. I won't be one of them to leave though (unless I trade my 920 for a HTC One but that's unlikely as I have been able to blag a 925 and will try to blag a 1020)

MS is deaf and blind to their customers telling them about the great and wonderful functionality of the Zune music player PC software! It seems like they simply won't pay attention to us telling them we want the great Zune music software features. So sad.

When will MS stop attacking their Customer base and being as inconsiderate as possible? I'm on vacation for a week. My Zune enabled computer is at home. So I could lose everything I own in terms of Points because I won't have access to Zune for a week! That's just robbery. I will demand a refund in cash credited to my account and if they refuse I swear I will lobby every Class Action Attorney I know to sue them for doing this on essentially no notice.
I swear at times I think Apple has a Mole in the highest echelons of MS who's job is to make sure they never have a happy set of Customers.

Or just ask one of those Class Action Attorneys to read you the thing that MS will have sent you that says you'll get a refund in cash to the value of your unspent points. Also, in English you don't capitalise nouns unless they're proper nouns.

Will I still be able to synch up my Zune HD player through the Zune software? If not, will I be able to use Xbox music for this?
I am still having bad experiences synching music from my PC to my Lumia 521 (with GDR-2). Music seems to hang up in the "other" category in my SD card and albums are not properly idsplaqyed. Only way everything works is for me to turn off Xbox Connect with Xbox Music (to avoid duplication of songs and albums), and the rmove the SD card from my phone, plug it into my PC, and manually move files through Windows 8 explorer, Things were better with Zune, although I don't knoiw here the faults lies here. Maybe this has improved with GDR-2. When time permits, I will copy my SD card to my hard disk, check the connect with Xbox Music box and see what happens.

What I question is... What alternative are they going to provide to customers on Windows 7 and Vista? As essentially there is no software available for either 7 or Vista to replace Zune. Xbox Music and it's subscription service is available yes, but the Xbox Music app is Windows 8 exclusive.

I asked @XboxSupport this exact question on twitter. They basically said to upgrade to a supported platform if you want to purchase music from Xbox Music.  So if you dont have Windows 8, you are screwed.

I'm safe I can still use my points ya I'm happy! But Zune is a great player especially for editing your music, I have music on cds from the old Napster days that show up as unkown artist so I have to manually add them Zune works the best for that. I can use media player but I prefer Zune it dies a nice cleaner job and finds most albums I search for.