What’s a ZunePass? What’s a (online) music subscription service?


I thought I should explain this to newbies, to get it straight. Since the Zune team isn’t effective in communicating this.

So basically, a music subscription service is paying a flat monthly fee and "renting" the music for that time period.

So if you don’t pay the next monthly fee, then you lose the music tracks you downloaded. Because you’re renting them for a limited time.

Newbies (iPod users) get confused on how the system works.

Just because you downloaded them, doesn’t mean you can’t keep them forever. You’re just merely renting them for awhile. Once the time is up (usually a month for these services), then you can’t use them anymore. There is the option to pay the next monthly fee (or even more), and you still get to keep the tracks.

What are the benefits? Well…

  • It’s great if you’re cheap – not in a bad way. If you can’t spend a lot of money to (legally) purchase tracks, the next best thing is to rent them. That way, it’s still legal, and you have ‘almost’ practically the whole ZMP library to download, at your choosing.
  • You can ‘discover’ more music better – Listening to 30 second samples doesn’t really give you a clear knowledge if you really like it or not. I mean, it’s not as good as listening to the ‘whole’ track. So with ZunePass, you can listen to the ‘whole’ track, and download it if you like it. Maybe some other day, you can purchase it to keep. You just really discover music better this way.
  • Almost like an all-you-can-eat buffet – It’s almost exactly the same thing. In one of those all-you-can-eat buffets, you pay one flat fee, and you can eat all the music you really want. Same thing for ZunePass – Pay one flat (monthly) fee, and you can have (almost) any music tracks you want. It really works good that way.

But there are some disadvantages:

  • You can’t keep them – NOT unless you continue paying the $14.99 monthly fee. Otherwise, they’re wiped right off.
  • You don’t get the ‘whole’ library – Sorry, but there are some restricted tracks. You can’t download DRM-free tracks (duh!), you can’t download songs if an artist/recording company won’t allow you to (even if it’s DRM).
  • You can’t copy them on a CD – sorry, but obviously NO online store would allow you to download hundreds of songs for a measly $15 just to basically keep them all.

That’s really mainly the things anyone should know.

Overall, a subscription music service is nice. It’s cost-effective, and you can download almost anything. You may not be able to keep them forever, but just keep paying the flat monthly fee, and you’re ok.

But there can be improvements to the ZunePass system, like:

  • Make it cheaper – compared to other online stores, ZunePass does come up a few bucks more on subscription. I’d suggest making the ZunePass cost $10-12 monthly.
  • Promote it better – some people still don’t get it’s a ‘music-rental’ system. You can’t keep it, really. Explain it better and show the benefits that I told about a subscription music service. Also explain the Zune supports ‘a la carte’ AND subscription, the best of both worlds. Instead of just only-‘a la carte’, or only-subscription.
  • Allow ALL DRM songs be available for subscription – If it has a DRM tag on it, why can’t it be allowed in the subscription service? I found some songs that wouldn’t let you do that. If it has a DRM, nobody can really steal it. So allow it legally in the subscription service.

That’s really all there needs to be.

So I hope anybody new to this format, understands that a subscription music service, is really a music-rental system.

But personally, I still prefer ‘buying’ my music, than ‘renting’ it.


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