Why the new Zune Music Pass is terrible for what you get

On, September 29, 2011, the Zune Insider blog gave details on the new Zune Music Pass, which is intended to replace the Zune Pass. For those unfamiliar, here’s the comparison breakdown of changed features between the old and new:


Original Zune Pass

Zune Music Pass
Price (monthly) $14.99 $9.99
Price (yearly) $149.99 $99.99
Free song credits 10 0
# of device playable 6 (3 Windows PCs, 3 Zune-compatible devices) 4 (1 PC, + any combo of either Zune, PC, or Windows Phone)
Music videos? No Yes
Countries USA USA, Canada
At first look, you’d think the new Zune Music Pass is a great deal, right? Cheaper price, complimentary music videos, and even support for Canadians! But then, you notice that there are no longer any complimentary song credits, a lower allowance of devices you can sync with, and you pretty much get less for what you want.
zune pass current
Why are the benefits that carried over not so great to me? I like cheaper, but it’s not cheap without some costs. First, you could say that the true value of the original streaming service was $5.10, if you considered a song to be 99 cents, and you got 10 complimentary songs to keep ($15-(0.99*10)). That’s the best price price for what you could get anywhere on the web! Now the true value is the listed price, $9.99. That’s almost twice for what you got in the past.
Plus unlimited music video streaming? In case nobody has heard of it, VEVO or even YouTube itself has most of the music videos you’d care to see. Yes, it’s not directly integrated into Zune for offline viewing, and it may have ads you can’t skip right away, but how often does one even care to see a music video? Music videos are somewhat ads to get you interested to buy the song. They take up battery life and offer no real benefit, unless you stream music through YouTube anyway. I don’t throw parties, but most parties aren’t great if you have people watching music videos on the TV. Music videos cost about $2 on Zune Marketplace, for something that should come complimentary with a song  purchase.
As for Canadian support, I’m happy they got something out internationally, but it’s very watered down from the original.
The obvious disadvantages aren’t something to be lauded of course. A reduction in devices streamable isn’t quite nice (no official reason, but presumably because of the lower price), though it has no effect on me since I only have a PC and Zune to work with. Like I said before about the song credits, they helped put the true value of the Zune Pass on top of whatever else is on the market. Now Zune Pass is pretty much on the same playing field as the others.
To be honest, I don’t listen to music as much as I’d like to. I have a Zune HD but it rarely gets used when I have it on me because carrying headphones is a burden, and I’m usually too busy to even care about listening to music. Plus with my laptop’s built-in speakers being busted, I have to put on headphones every time. Maybe if you love to listen to music, the Zune Pass still is a great option if you have Zune compatible devices, even with lesser value, though a lesser price.
However, I really wish the Zune team could have offered both options as a Zune Music Pass Pro/Plus and a regular Zune Music Pass. Or even a month-long notice, rather than 5 days for those of us wanting to subscribe to get current Zune Pass rates and features, before the October 3, 2011 deadline rolls in. Apparently, it seems year-long or even current monthly-long subscribers will still have the option to get the original rates/features.
Well, unless the Zune Pass comes back with a value somewhat closer to the original, I see no reason to buy another Pass like I did occasionally before.

2 thoughts on “Why the new Zune Music Pass is terrible for what you get

  1. I totally agree. I was planning on getting a zune pass after my emusic subscription ran out. But I didn’t hear about the plan change until October 3rd, barely missing my chance to sign up for the orgininal one. The need to give some sort of pass plus option for the 10 credits.

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