Microsoft’s Zune portable media player was the company’s answer to the original line of Apple iPad products, with the first model launching in 2006. It’s been more than 5 years since Microsoft has released a Zune device, but the company did continue to support the platform with its Zune Music Pass service.
Subscribers could pay $10 per month to stream or download music to play on their Zune devices, and folks who signed up before October 3rd, 2011 even retained the ability to snag 10 free-to-keep MP3 files per month.
Now Microsoft is killing its Zune Music Pass service on November 15, 2015.
Subscribers who continue to pay for the service will have their accounts automatically converted to Microsoft’s Groove Music Pass. That means you can continue to stream music to a PC or phone that supports the service, but there’s no more support for 10 free tracks per month (but you can keep any songs you’ve already downloaded), and there’s no support for streaming music to a Zune media player.
Zune hardware won’t stop working on November 15th. You’ll still be able to load up your device with DRM-free MP3s or other files and play them. But Microsoft does note that it’s not just the Music Pass service that’s ending, it’s basically all Zune services. That means if you bought any content that does include DRM, you might not be able to play it anymore if the license isn’t renewed.
You know, in case you needed any more reasons why DRM generally does more harm than good.
Fortunately, these days if you buy music from Microsoft’s Groove Music store (or Google Play, Amazon MP3, or most other online music stores), it’ll be available as a DRM-free download. That means you should be able to continue playing your music files pretty much forever, on any device you choose.