November 20, 2008
| by Rachel Cericola
Zune subscribers are about to get a gift that keeps on giving.
If you are willing to spend $15 a month on a Zune Pass subscription, Microsoft will return part of the favor, in tune-age. Starting today, those users will get to keep 10 tracks per month as part of the subscription plan.
Now, it’s not exactly a free-for-all, but it’s darn close. Microsoft has signed agreements with EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Warner Music Group, as well as a few independent distributors. You should be able to find something worth keeping in that crop. The Sony BMG and UMG tracks will all be DRM-free. Even if you drop your subscription, those tracks are yours to keep, move and copy as much as you want.
“The subscription model continues to redefine the digital music landscape, and today’s announcement is great news for consumers, artists and labels,” said Simon Renshaw, chief executive officer of Strategic Artist Management, who reps artists such as the Dixie Chicks and Everclear. “This breakthrough offer makes it easier than ever for consumers to discover new music and will encourage deeper engagement in the digital music space, and that is good for the entire industry.”
The Zune Pass provides access to millions of music tracks, which can be streamed or downloaded to a PC or directly to the portable Zune device—as long as you’re in a wireless hot spot. Downloaded music can also be shared with up to three PCs and three Zune devices. If you want to take a peek, Microsoft is offering a free 14-day trial to new customers.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.