Microsoft to introduce $9.99 Zune Music Pass on October 3 for U.S. & Canada

By Tom Warren, on 29th Sep 11 4:36 pm with 54 Comments

Zune Canada

Microsoft is planning to introduce a lower priced version of its Zune Music Pass on October 3.

The software maker  is planning to roll out its Zune Music Marketplace and Zune Music Pass to Canadian markets on October 3. Microsoft will offer its Zune Music Pass in Canada for C$9.99 month or C$99.90 annually. The company will also lower its U.S. service on October 3 to a new price of $9.99 per month. Both plans will provide on-demand access to more than 14 million songs and tens of thousands of music videos.

However, Microsoft’s new $9.99 offering will not allow subscribers to keep up to 10 MP3s each month. Subscribers will be able to download songs and sync them on up to four devices (1 PC + any combination of PC, Zune device and Windows Phone). New $9.99 Zune subscribers will be able to enjoy unlimited access to streaming on Xbox 360 and on Microsoft announced the changes at its Zune Insider site on Thursday.

The changes mirror similar subscription changes in Europe. Microsoft announced earlier this month that European Zune Music Pass subscribers would be allowed to sync their music on up to four devices. Microsoft had previously allowed European subscribers to sync content on up to six devices. Microsoft’s existing $14.99 Zune Music Pass will remain unchanged. Customers on the plan, with 10 monthly MP3 downloads, will be able to remain on the service and have access to streaming music videos. Microsoft plans to discontinue the $14.99 service to new subscribers on October 3.

Thanks to WinRumors reader Robert Klee for the news tip

  • Mike

    I know regret signing up 2 weeks ago for 12 months of Zune pass.  ffs

    • Anonymous

      Why?  You still get to keep 10 songs a month, forever, I think it’s worth the $2.50 extra a month your paying now.

    • Anonymous

      Have to say I don’t understand your reasoning.  Nothing changes with you plan.  Matter of fact you still have the best of both worlds.  If anything im gonna go ahead and pay for a year now because im sure the 14.99 + 10 free tracks is on its way out.  This is only the first step.

  • Anonymous

    Great for Canadian Subscribers, but this completely botches the new US subscribers ( and current subscribers if they ever force us to drop the old plan) since the 10 songs to keep a month is one of the main selling points of the Zune Pass. It forces me to discover new music to keep every month which is fantastic.

    • Anonymous

      I read they will let you keep the current plan if you want.

    • Anonymous

      Right I know you get to keep it, but for how long is what I wonder. Will it ever get forced out?

    • Anonymous

      If you are currently a Zune Pass subscriber; nothing changes for you.  However, if you are new and want the benefits of the Zune Pass you better get in before October 3. 

  • Guest

    Am I reading this corectly? Did it really say Canada??

    • Tom W

      Yup, it’s true! Abooooot time I say!

    • Lachlan C McLeod


  • HTD

    Ill give em 50$$$ a month, if they bring zune to india

  • Alique Williams

    Unreal. I’m on my second trail month with the Zune pass and now they’ve drop the price to $8.33 per month with the annual purchase. Why doesn’t everyone have Zune again?

    • Guest

      Did you get it because you saw value at the old price? Then wtf are you bitching about?

    • Alique Williams

      You read incorrectly. I’m implying that this service is extremely cheap. For two months, i’v been paying nothing. And now that I plan to purchase it, they dropped the price even more.

    • Esteban Gonzalez

      they aren’t bitching.  they are praising. 

  • Wheezle

    Yawn. Still doesn’t exist for Australia. Just like the vast majority of Bing services.

    • Andrew Tech Help

      Yup, still waiting on them to bring it to Australia!!

    • Guest

      Um, guys, it ain’t just Australia. MS’s worldwide coverage on most of these programs sucks.

    • Andrew Tech Help

      I know that, but that’s where I live, so I’m going to chant that line until it is available here. We’re a modern, wealthy, English speaking country, this stuff should just roll out to US, UK, Australia, New Zealand & Canada easily (I know record companies are stupid though).

      But don’t worry, I understand the lack of services all over the world. I’ve written up a table detailing this, there’s PLENTY of gaps! ( )

    • mike

      Canda has clickable Phone Numbers just not addresses.

    • Guest

      the Zune Pass doesn’t go by location, but rather by live ID, just like all of their services.  I live in Panama, I have a US based live id.

      I have full WP7 market, zune pass subscription, and had all the benefits of live (including the skydrive) before they were released world wide.

      just try get a US based live id and you’re set

  • Anonymous

    Now, if they’d get rid of that stupid points system instead of real cash for transactions…

    • Morgan

      It is my understanding that they use the point system to avoid taxation issues especially when working in other countries. I could be incorrect but while cash can be taxed, points cannot.

    • Not ice_fusion.

      On the original Xbox LIVE, transactions had to be around five dollars U.S., the minimum for most credit cards. But with Microsoft Points, the price for most anything—maps, skins, levels, demos, and more—can be much lower than that.

      That and you’re not taxed for each item you purchase – just on the amount of points you purchase. As I understand, when regular currency is used, tax is charged each time you purchase something. If you buy a points cards, you’re charged tax once for the entire points value. Even if you buy a prepaid card in the regular currency system, you’re taxed on that plus each purchase you make with it.

      Points cards can also be more easily discounted at individual retailers or on “sales” and such… I’m not really sure you can discount actual currency. A $20 card is $20. A 1600 points card can be $17 or $19 or whatever a retailer puts it on sale for. At Newegg right now, a 4000 points card worth $50 costs $47.75 and free shipping :)

    • Gamer

      Smart MS

  • Candide Yams

    So they’re behaving like other streaming services (which is good). But the next question is, for those of us at work and the like and can’t download the zune client, any word on microsoft making a web-based version? With a web marketplace I can’t see it being too far off.

    • Guest

      you buy a Windows Phone 7, which has Zune, and you can jam all day long :)

    • Jonathan Marston

      You can stream music without the Zune software on today. It does require Silverlight though…

  • FuzzyLogician

    If they got rid of their point system and still allowed you to keep 10 songs a month, I would pick up this service in a heart beat.

    • Morgan

      It is my understanding that they use the point system to avoid taxation issues especially when working in other countries. I could be incorrect but while cash can be taxed, points cannot.     

  • Andrea Barbera

    Great, at this expansion rate we will enjoying Zune Pass here in the Netherlands probably sometime in 2036.

    • wetworker


    • Morgan

      Don’t blame Microsoft…. blame international licensing of content.

    • Anonymous

      I expect myself to be using this service while I’m fighting freeza on my newly built dark-matter propelled space home. Ps: I yum an Yindian

  • Anonymous

    So do I need a Windows Phone to use this?

    • Lewis McCrary

      Negative.  Just a computer and some speakers. :)

      The phone just lets you take it with you.  Also, XBox users can stream from Zune.

  • Webguy

    Finally I’ve been a Zune Pass subscriber for years and can never be bothered to use my credits!  I could care less about owning MP3 files.

  • Guest

    Okay, question.  we know that Windows 8 will log into a session using one person’s Live ID.   So in my house my wife and I share the main computer.  She has her live id for her messenger, mail and whatnot but when we open Zune it automatically logs into my live id and so we can benefit from my zune subscription.

    As I understand (and I hope I’m wrong) the zune player checks on the live id credentials before playing the music.

    for new zune subscibers, if one person in the family has a zune account, they will not be able to buy those 10 songs a month, so all the music will be copywrited, if another memeber of the family logs on to a windows 8 PC, with their own live id, will the music still play, or would they need their own zune pass?

    • Anonymous

      I think the other members will have to either get their own zune pass or log in with your Windows Live ID, as Windows 8 will probably sign in automatically into all the Windows Live services (Xbox Live, Zune, …).

    • mike

      You can sign into the zune software with any account you want.  It just wouldnt be sso

    • Anonymous

      I hope so.

  • Anonymous

    One interesting fact to note is that every Microsoft product which failed were those which were only restricted to the US or North America.  Kin, Zuneplayer, Webtv just to mention a few. Only if those “fools” running the company will realize that there is a whole world out there outside of America& Canada

    • Anonymous

      Kin wouldn’t have succeeded anywhere.  It was a bad idea from the start that distracted from WP7.  Hate to admit that I don’t even know what WebTV is/was that you are referring to.

      Being in the US I can’t begin to understand the frustration you all must have.  But I do understand that every country has a different set of rules, regulations, patent systems, content providers, ect…  Launching something like Zune Pass in another country isn’t as easy as creating a new language folder.  The sad truth is, Zune Pass hasn’t even been that successful here in the US, so MS has to be careful how much resources it invests into expanding the service to other regions.

    • Anonymous

      Well Kin was’t such a bad phone and we don’t know if it would have succeeded or not in other parts of the world. The problem is Microsoft is too focus on the American market which is really stupid. There is a whole world out there.. Nokia dominated the phone space without having any strong presence in America. 

       There are hardly any Goggle services which gets rolled out in the US alone. I understand what there are rule and regulations governing every other country.. but those the same rules and regulation Apple and Google deal with.  Once the iPhone gets out in the US its almost available in the Europe and elsewhere. Zune might not have been a hit in the US but it could have been a hit in Europe .. if a small company like Spotify could get deals with music companies and to make their services available throughout Europe and now the US why can’t the MS?

      Let put that aside and talk about Bing.. over here in The Netherlands Bing is still in Beta state with several features missing out, on my wp7 too several Bing features don’t work either. If they want to play with he “Big boys” they have to realize there is a whole world outside of the US.

    • Anonymous

      Well I certainly can’t defend MS for what you said about Bing and Live services outside the US.  You also have a good point about Spotify.  I probably give companies like MS too much benefit of the doubt when it comes to their decision making.

      But I’m sticking to Kin never succeeding anywhere.  I mean, sure it may have, who knows, right?  But you have to weigh whether the potential reward is worth the cost and risk.  Kin completely flopped here and got bad reviews.  The product itself didn’t really make much sense with WP7 in the horizon.  Maybe they can salvage the Kin Hub but otherwise it was a needless distraction from their ultimate phone strategy.  MS is right to test some things out in one market first before trying to manufacture larger numbers of it and deploy world wide.

  • Anonymous

    If this is the direction Zune Pass is heading, I welcome and embrace the oft rumored killing of Zune.

    The $14.99 plan was the only thing that set Zune Pass apart.  With no new devices (aside from phones attached to $30 data plans), Zune as a whole is an empty shell of its former self.

    Microsoft, I pulled for Zune and was convinced you were biding your time before unleashing a full fledged ad campaign– waiting for the pieces to fall together with Windows Phone and Xbox.  Now I just don’t get it…

    • Anonymous

      why? its affordable enough now they may be able to bundle with carrier plans and increase marketshare and with music videos included, it has something to set itself apart besides 10 free songs that a lot of people forget when they have 14 million songs at their fingers..

    • Anonymous

      But I can have access to 15 million songs on Spotify for the same price and Spotify is available on more mobile platforms, in more countries, and (subscription) tracks are higher bitrates.

      Please note that I had Zune Pass for over two years. I’m not hating and I’m certainly not unfamiliar with the service.

    • Cal

      There is no Spotify in Canada (that I know of?) so to me this is a much better deal.
      Plus, streaming on my Xbox 360.

  • Anonymous

    *So* glad I’ve still got my $14.99 one that I can hang on to. I like the 10 DRM-free songs/month thing!

  • Entegy

    If that $15 deal is available in Canada, I’m in. I want that keep ability.
    EDIT: whyyyyyyyy. Ugh, just read last line.

  • kareyes

    Oct 3 is my bday. Finally my 80gb zune has newfound music to spin out.

  • inreasonsimage

    A cheaper plan without credits interests me. We subscribe to the $14.99/month plan and at the end of month I usually scramble to find songs I want to “purchase” with my credits. At $8.33/month with a yearly membership I think the Zune Pass is a great deal. Now Microsoft just needs to get the Zune software on all platforms (Apple, Android, and Kindle Fire). Apple used iTunes to break into the PC market and I don’t see why Microsoft can’t do the same with the Zune. Microsoft just needs to swallow its pride. The Zune search also needs to be improved. And, Microsoft, please get ride of the silly points system. It appears childish to the average consumer.

  • Nick

    Hi – I’m in Australia and been using a Zune pass for the last couple of years.  I buy prepaid Zune Pass cards from the US and redeem them.  It actually stretches the subscription well as we can let one lapse and the subscription music works for about 6 weeks post the end of the month.  You just can’t download any new ones.  I think I’ve used about 7 cards over 18 months.

    Anyhow, I can’t find any mention of whether there will now be 9.99 Zune Pass prepaid cards.  Or whether the $14.99 ones will continue to work – I’ve still got a couple and Best Buy is still selling them.  Anyone know?