Zune terms changing Sept 13, reducing the number of sync devices for music [Updated]

Oh this is not something we want to post as this is just bad, bad bad. Evidently, on September 13th Microsoft is reducing the number of devices upon which you can sync with the Zune music service from 6 (3 computers and 3 devices) to just 4 (at least 1 computer and any combo of 3 PCs and devices). You'll also need to download at least one new song to each device to continue using the service.

We're none to pleased with these changes but have a feeling it has something to do with licensing from the music companies, reduction in costs to those licenses and perhaps trying to reduce "sharing" of Zune passes. Regadless, that's just lame. Users are reportedly being sent emails with the following information and you don't have a choice to the change outside of cancelling your subscription.

Update: LiveSide is reporting (via EnConnected) that this is only for Europe and not the US, where as of now, we will still be able to sync to 6 devices. This should ease over tensions between our Euro and US readers /sarcasm.

Thanks, Lee T., for the images and info!; see also My Microsoft Life


Reader comments

Zune terms changing Sept 13, reducing the number of sync devices for music [Updated]


I just signed up for a yearly subscription...don't they have to honor it til my subscription expired?

I guess they don't. Going by that last few sentences, they will refund you your money if you don't agree. I always thought they had to honor the terms of the contract at the time you signed, for the amount of time it's good for.

Wait, does a XBOX count? Damn, I guess that's 3, and I'm getting a new WP7 and a Win 8 tablet. I'm going to be over the limit real soon. And that's not counting my girl who's getting a WP7 next month. YIKES!Guess I need to buy less Zune enabled devices.

They have to honor it or give you your money back...they are choosing to give their money back.In any case, I am sure there is something in the terms that allows them to fold it completely and wouldn't owe you anything...

this is not a big deal to me, come on 6 DEVICES !! that is crazy but its still 4 deviceswhich is plenty ome computer at home one at work and one windows phone and one zune player that is perfect ..what I would really like to see is zune let me share the pass woth my wife so we don't need 2 Zune Passes would be really nice.

Isn't that exactly what they're talking about? That you can essentially share with another person (1 PC and 3 additional devices)?

If it this doesn't affect you, then they are not talking about you. But there MUST be someone who is doing it. Don't be some simple minded.

What they need to allow is some kind of family pass. My wife just got a WP7 and it would be nice to be able to share our Zune pass.

Unfortunately it isn't possible now since it's tied to your Windows Live ID, but I know what you mean--I have my PC/80g, mom's PC/8g, and dad's PC/16g. Oy vey.I'm assuming this doesn't effect streaming since the Xbox isn't mentioned. It's nice having WP7 to stream stuff I haven't remembered to download yet. Would hate to tell *both* my folks to get their own pass, though they'd both benefit more.

I soooooo agree with you Slowtext I think Microsoft would do this but there are so many people out there that would abuse the system .. is the problem.

I am not gonna complain, and i wouldnt even if Apple did the same. 6 devices? omg, with one of each kind would be enough. Two is already being "nice and kind".

Annnnnnnddddd this is NOT how you go about getting that increased marketshare. More features MS, not less for the same price! And adding in restrictions too. Even less chance of me buying a Zune pass now....

its not like apple or google are offering anything better. this isn't bad at all it must be some licensing issue.

Whats this got to do with apple or google? The point is the service is worse compared to other streaming services, if its due to licensing they should say, so its not seen as a Microsoft restriction.

it has plenty to do with it because if apple or google did the same thing there wouldn't be as many ppl bytching about it

The problem isn't what's "nice", it's what expected. I've been on the Pass for years, and I've stayed on Zune devices because of it - 2 HDs, 3 classic, now a Windows Phone, and was looking to get another WP7. I've been using Zune on a work, laptop, and a home PC, plus my phone and 2 zunes (it's a family thing). Now I'll kill the work PC, kill the laptop and keep the home PC and have the phone + 2 zunes. That eliminates one of my kid's zunes.Not saying 3 devices and a PC is a bad deal, it's just a reduction from what I agreed to, with no fee reduction.

as others have said, we need a family pass,I have family xbox live account, 3 xbox360's, 3 WP7 handsets (me, wife & daughter), so why can't I just use the family pass for both zune and xbox live.bloody annoying

This is not good news. I have been shilling about Zune for the number of devices it allows and the pure fleixibility it provides. It's changed my music listening, but maybe not for good.I tend to buy on my WP7, have it wirelessly sync overnight with my Windows Media Centre PC, which then makes the music available on my laptops and XBox 360 Media Extenders.My question would be, does a Media Centre Extender count as a device? If so, looks like I'll be cancelling. Bang goes user convenience for legal music users ... again.

I'm already over. I have a WP7 smartphone, a Zune HD, a home PC, a work PC, and an Xbox360. I now have to choose whether to ditch the Zune HD or ditch the work PC and use the Zune HD or my phone at work. If I decide to buy a tablet eventually, I will then have to ditch one more device, although the tablet will probably replace that device.I have a lot of gadgets, as most of us do. This probably won't affect 80% of the Zune customers. Of those remaining 20%, most will work around it.The thing I find curious is requiring me to download a new song to each device every month. Is this something the content owners are harping on to push new music?

I'm guessing it's like this:The moment you connect your device to sync, all the music will become disabled. If you don't sync for several weeks, this will happen, regardless. When you download a song to that device it is the key so to speak to saying 'I'm keeping this device attached to the account'. Your music is re-enabled.With the other devices the pass will start to run out as it does when you don't sync. Eventually it will become rendered fairly useless as least for playing pass music. At this point you have to ditch it or get another Zunepass.

Are we sure this is for every location?Reason i ask is the date format of the email. Whenever I get email from Microsoft or Zune, the date is written as September 13, 2011..not the format in this post...If this change affects everyone, I'm not sure I see this as being bad. The Zune Pass was never intended to be shared(the TOS actually says for personal use.)Also, there is nothing stopping you from Streaming all the Zune Pass content on as many devices as you wish, you just cannot download the music to more than 4 devices. So instead of downloading everything to a phone, just stream it..i'm sure the wireless carriers won't mind(I know Sprint won't)..

that's what im saying but people just like to bytch about minor things. I mean look at the Netflix situation.

You can actually stream on any number of devices? Yea, it can't be too bad of a problem, especially on desktop PCs with wired connections. Granted, if you're internet is kaput, you'd be screwed, but it should be reliable right?I'd love to see the Zune Pass have Asian music in the States. That's all I really listen to, so I don't have much use for subscribing to a Zune Pass :(

My daughter - Her PC and a Zune HD. Me - My laptop, a Zune HD and WP7 (Arrive). She wants a WP with her upgrade. I want a Mango phone with mine. Given that the biggest selling point (for us) on the WP is Zune integration, MS is making us chose b/t a WP and a Zune. Given the limited functionality of Zune on WP (and battery issue), we'll prolly pick our Zune's and find other phones to upgrade to. And, no room for a W8 tablet. Ill start looking for an Android one. Bad move by MS for us. Wont be buying Windows phone(s) or tablet. Oh well.

I dont see android offering a similar service. just learn to stream the music or even using the credits and u'll be straight. no need to turn against MS over this,dont be like those Netflix people.

This is not an attack on you, lordbyron, I'm just using your post as an example. But, your situation and those similar are exactly the situations this is designed to deter. The TOS says that this is for "personal use" not sharing. The TOS also states Microsoft's right to alter these terms without notice.Hey. I get it. You want the zune pass because it's absolutely great and you wanna share it with family. I share my Zune Pass with my girl, though she really doesn't use it. However, I'm not gonna complain or threaten to jump platforms because the company is trying to protect its interest by attempting to curtail behavior it has already stated isn't acceptable.I don't see this as a bad thing. I realize we live in a day and age where many of us feel entitled to certain things. But, let us admit, 6 devices was quite generous to begin with. The fact we can still download to 4 devices and stream to as many as we want, is great. The service is still one of the best streaming/downloading/music discovery services on the market, bar none.But, you and others who have posted similar comments about jumping ship, do as you see fit. I don't have to understand it. C'est la vie as they say in Maylasia

wyn,It's not 'entitlement' when you sign up for a service and it offers certain things, like a 6 device system. Then they change it on you without offering compensation or options other than quitting. That's called 'changing the terms of the agreement', which I'm sure is in the TOS. Doesn't mean you just grin and bear it.Microsoft's 'personal use' hardly means one person - they understood that it was going to be shared in a family setting - one person prob wouldn't need 3 different devices, and at the time they created it, there wasn't a phone yet, and it wasn't on XBox. The whole point was to get people in a family setting all using and buying Zunes with the bonus of sharing a Pass. Anyway, it's Europe only, evidently, which sucks but doesn't affect me. I wouldn't have dropped the Pass anyway, b/c I need it and love it. But I understand the people who are upset. It's just like when your cable company suddenly drops your favorite channel - you really have no options (yeah, had that one happen to me, too).

Seems this is in the UK too. Its just a joke. We dont even get free songs like the USA do, yet we pay the same subs!I really like Zune, but limiting it when Apple is bringing out their streaming service is going to be a big decider as people start to upgrade older devices.

I don't see this as turning against MS. 4 devices pushes me to the limit as well. I always thought the Zune service was one of the best selling points of the windows phone. I was continually purchasing music for my son on his iPhone (then syncing to my other sons captivate using doubletwist). With Zune he can just download whatever he wants without me ponying up the 1.29 for each song. So with this change the Zune service is still good just not as flexible as it was. One issue that bugs me to the nth degree is not having the family pass like the xbox. Or even the ability to link the family gold account to a nonexistent family Zune account. Essentially you can't use a child (from the famiy gold account)xbox live account on a wp7. So for my kids to have their xbox gamertags on their wp7, we would have to dump the family gold, get them their own xbox live account, link that to a seperate windows live account forcing us to have individual Zune accounts to download and stream music. Anyone else run into this. Not bashing, it's just annoying to have my windows live account on their phones.

It sucks that they're changing but to be fair the previous setup was *very* generous.But if record labels want their money...record labels will get their money.

They should also lower the price to match spotify.I like the zune pass, I think it's great, but it's just too expensive for what you're getting and now that other players showed up in town, you have to compete with them.

If this is a EU only move like it seems then I could be part of the deal MS had to make to extend the Zune Pass to more countries over here, in which case I don't mind. Really, this sounds like a request from the media companies to limit "sharing" because they know at least one of those devices isn't yours but someone elses in your family, much rather you pay for that track twice since it's two people.I also think a family plan is needed, maybe for $20 and you get a few more devices, I think the price would be worth it.

Zune? Other than using it to sync onto my HD7 I'd never EVER join the service as I prefer to sync what I want when I want onto a device I want. (Then again I do have a HD7 but do know that I can get around synching with Zune)All music is ripped from an original cd or downloaded/purchased from Amazon. Freedom... don't you just love it

I dont really get why people bother with this service anyway tbh. I've tried the trial and it seems that half the music I want to listen to has to be bought in any case. Much easier to go to a site like mp3va and buy it there.

I received this email yesterday, in all honesty it doesn't affect me that much as nobody else in the house uses zunepass, but what I don't like is the approach that's being taken towards the EU market. First we don't get our 10 free songs each month like the US subscribers do, and now this. I really hope this isn't how MS looks to continue, as I really enjoy Zunepass.