How to get Zune Pass to work on-the-go with Windows Phone 7

The Zune Pass ($14.95 a month; $150 a year) allows unlimited music downloads to your computer, which can the be transferred to your phone. But what has been vexing me for the last few weeks of using my Samsung Focus/HTC HD7 is that there was no obvious way to use my Zune Pass on the go.

For example, say I'm in the store, hear a song playing and ID it with Shazam. I can then go to the Zune Marketplace to buy the song or use my Zune "credit" (you get 10 per month)--but no option to just download the song. This meant I would have to go home, fire up the computer and download the song that way. Huge FAIL.

Well, turns out I was wrong: you can use Zune Pass on your WP7 device. Microsoft just completely hid it, making buying/using credit as the only obvious choice. While we hate to speculate the worst, it sure looks like MS is purposefully deceiving us a bit here, steering us towards paying for music.

Anyways, watch the video tutorial to learn how. And if you don't have a Zune Pass, you may see why it's so cool to have one.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Shame on Microsoft! Okay, I'm being a bit dramatic but not only have they obscured certain zune features, they've left other features out. For example, smart dj, marketplace picks, channels, related artists, social, etc. Perhaps this omission is also part of Microsoft's steering attempts - music discovery leads to more consumption of Zune Pass music (and can be bandwith-intensive). I hope they add these features because discovery and social are the signature of Zune and Zune Pass. Interestingly enough, I already knew to tap and hold for downloading (I had read a lot about tapping and holding being the equivalent of "right click" throughout the OS) but I only figured out a few days ago that simply tapping on the album cover would bring up options for rating, repeat and shuffle.
  • Hidding some features was probably due to the fact that they don't work in every part of the world that will be selling a WP7 device. I.E. The whole Zune pass experience is still limited to the US and the UK, and maybe one or two other places? So, and this is just the way I see it, why show things you can't due to people in a part of the world you're selling to? Sure this doesn't apply to everyone since US and UK users get the whole zune Pass options but then that just means MS has to run different versions of the software which adds costs and so on. Hidding things like this makes more sense and is probably why they did it.
  • How very rational of you. I was so put off by the missing features on wp7 that I entertained Microsoft obscuring the download option as yet another slight against me, erm, wp7 users. And I forgot about the rest of the world. You're probably right. It does make more sense to make the feature contextual via tap and hold since it's not one of those things that's a "lowest common denominator". I'm sure there are also challenges in porting the zune experience from a dedicated music player to a phone that's available in more global markets. So maybe they plan on keeping certain zune features in the desktop software to makes things simpler and more consistent on the phone. I still feel that they've over-refined it - instead of boiling it down to its most essential parts, they've taken away things that really define the zune/zune pass experience on a mobile device. Once again, I hope they add them in.
  • They could bake in these different levels of functionality, with the non-functioning features being hidden depending on the locale you selected or are in, though. (If you were in the US or UK, the purchase screen will give you the option to buy or download. If you were elsewhere, whatever features are available in your market will be the ones that show up.)
  • I wouldnt call that hidden, but wouldnt surprise me if MS did make it more obscure on purpose. Shouldnt really expect anything else from MS.
  • What about just streaming songs with zune pass? Like rhapsody
  • if you tap the play button it streams it. they need a download with zune pass button to make it more obvious.
  • Well if just directly hitting the play button does the same thing then this is less of a issue (though I don't think it's a issue at all).
  • Right, just like the ZuneHD has the Cart icon next to the Play icon. That would make it more intuitive for the average user. I too want SmarDJ, Shuffle, and Rate It with the Zune player.
  • A couple thoughts. This only counts as hiding if right mouse-click features are also considered hiding. While a download option should perhaps appear on the screen when you touch a song/album, it's actually more convenient to tap-hold/download. Also, as you can just stream the music right from the Marketplace using the Zune Pass, I think its a bit dubious to claim MS is trying to trick people.
  • Once cool advantage of Windows Phone over a Zune HD: the ability to stream pre-made playlists sorted by genre. Unfortunately, you can't download the playlists, only stream.
  • I want my music to be mine forever. So I would actually prefer to use up my monthly 10 credits for DRM free downloading over the unlimited DRM download option. Therefore,I don't see this as deceivement from MS. Especially when you keep in mind that tap & hold is supposed to be a right mouse button feature across the WP7 OS.
  • I can't wait for zune pass to arrive in Canada. If it ever does.
  • What happens if you use all of your 10 free purchase credits for the month? Does that change the default option from "buy" to "download" (Zune Pass) since you don't have any more purchase credits remaining?
  • It gives you a choice to buy or use credit, if not credit than just buy is offered.
  • I wanna think that their logic behind this was that users will stream zune pass content more often in which case you would just hit the big and obvious play button. That way they don't have to change the default option download/buy depending on whether or not the account has a subscription. If you're browsing and looking for new stuff streaming make more sense and then if you want to download it for keeps the option is still right there. I think a good solution would be to have a toggle in the settings for whether you want download or buy as the default action.
  • You can also press the giant PLAY button to the left of the buy link to just stream it. I think that's perfectly clear, just press the play button to play, press the buy button to buy. If you really want to add it to your local collection, you can do that with the long press. Color me confused by the confusion.
  • It's confusing because how are you suppose to know that a long press does anything there? There's no directions, no indication. It's a poor design.