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View Full Version : Zune Marketplace Details Announced


Jason Dunn
09-28-2006, 07:36 PM
<img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/zt/2006/wey-20060929-zunemarketplace.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br />There's not much to go on here, but the first official details about Zune Marketplace have emerged: the all-you-can-eat subscription cost will be $14.99 USD per month, and the service will contain &quot;millions&quot; of songs. Individual songs will cost 79 Microsoft Points, which work out to 99 cents USD. And that's it for the official information.<br /><br />Let's unpack that a little - first, the pricing at $14.99 USD. That's the same as Napster with a <a href="http://www.napster.com/subscribe/" target="_blank">NapsterToGo</a> subscription, which is what is required for playback on devices. It's 50% more expensive than the <a href="http://music.yahoo.com/ymu/default.asp?tab=togo" target="_blank">Yahoo! Music Unlimited To Go</a> offering at $9.99 USD per month. Microsoft's pricing then would seem to be hardly market-leading, and I firmly believe market-leading is where they need to position themselves to make serious in-roads on the already established players. If I can get unlimited music on my Creative Zen Vision:M for $9.99 USD a month from Yahoo!, will the WiFi goodies on the Zune be enough to justify the $60 more a year? I would have much preferred Microsoft to position their service with more aggressive pricing - $9.99 USD per month has a nice ring to it. We can always hope that the $14.99 USD pricing is for monthly payments, and a yearly payment would cut the price back.<br /><br />The issue may be moot however, as the Zune Marketplace is going to be limited to the United States only at launch. I held out slim hope that there'd be a footnote someplace that said &quot;Oh yeah, Canada too&quot;, but a Microsoft source confirmed for me that it was limited to the USA. This is going to be hugely frustrating, although it's not unexpected. Regardless of where Microsoft launches the Zune hardware, people from outside the USA will get their hands on the hardware. They won't be able to use the device to it's full potential though without access to the Zune Marketplace. This issue is made more glaring by the fact that the Zune will not work with any other online music services. The &quot;Zune Experience&quot; might be easier than other services, but the question is how quickly will Microsoft be launching the Zune in other countries? MSN Music still isn't available in Canada, though they did launch in seven other international markets (Australia, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom). Will the Zune launch in more countries, and faster? I sincerely hope so.<br /><br />A word about track pricing: 79 Microsoft points converts to 99 cents USD, which is standard for the market. I hope that pricing will be different when the Zune launches in other markets: <a href="http://www.mspconverter.com/results.php?MSP=79&amp;conversion=Convert" target="_blank">79 points is $1.26 Canadian</a>, which is 27% more expensive than the 99 cents CAN iTunes users in Canada pay. Interestingly enough, Darius (who's in Australia) tells me that the $1.30 Australian that 79 points converts to is less expensive than iTunes in Australia. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in international markets.<br /><br />There are still many unknowns: what about Zune Marketplace on multiple PCs? One would hope that, at minimum, they'd match Napster's three-PC offering, though as someone with six regularly-used PCs in his home, I'd love to see a more aggressive offering. What about multiple Zunes on one Marketplace account? Questions, questions.

Jason Dunn
09-28-2006, 07:48 PM
Was anyone else hoping for a more "shake up" price from the Zune Marketplace? I was really hoping for something like $7.99 USD per month and 79 cent music tracks. Something that would get people's attention and encourage them to try out the service. Matching Apple just isn't enough - Microsoft has to BEAT Apple in the pricing game in order for people to give the Zune a try.

Aaron Roma
09-28-2006, 08:02 PM
Ok... forgive my ignorance for a moment, but what is the $15 / month for? (This question is comming from someone who has only purchase $1 songs from iTunes occasionally.)

Jason Dunn
09-28-2006, 08:13 PM
Ok... forgive my ignorance for a moment, but what is the $15 / month for? (This question is comming from someone who has only purchase $1 songs from iTunes occasionally.)


Oh, I guess I should have made that more clear. I'll update my post - the $15 a month is for subscription music. You pay $15 a month, you get unlimited access to "millions" of audio tracks on your Zune and your PCs.

David Tucker
09-28-2006, 08:35 PM
Actually that price is fine. I recently canceled Yahoo because their software is just so terrible.

Darius Wey
09-29-2006, 12:43 AM
Was anyone else hoping for a more "shake up" price from the Zune Marketplace? I was really hoping for something like $7.99 USD per month and 79 cent music tracks. Something that would get people's attention and encourage them to try out the service. Matching Apple just isn't enough - Microsoft has to BEAT Apple in the pricing game in order for people to give the Zune a try.

Yeah, I was hoping for cheaper rates (even though 99c / $14.99 is acceptable). Sadly, this isn't going to get Microsoft anywhere - at least for the time being. Couple that with a US-only launch, and Microsoft has a long road to travel before it dreams of catching up with Apple. Although other users can import the devices, sales will be far behind what could otherwise be achieved if the device was launched globally.

ucfgrad93
09-29-2006, 12:48 AM
Oh, I guess I should have made that more clear. I'll update my post - the $15 a month is for subscription music. You pay $15 a month, you get unlimited access to "millions" of audio tracks on your Zune and your PCs.

As someone who has never used a subscription service, please answer this question:

What happens when you cancel the service? Are you unable to play the music any more?

Jason Dunn
09-29-2006, 05:24 AM
What happens when you cancel the service? Are you unable to play the music any more?

That's correct. It's exactly like subscribing to cable TV - when you stop paying, you stop getting the TV channels.

Phillip Dyson
09-29-2006, 12:02 PM
As someone who was never interested in subscription pricing, the Zune seems to be loosing its luster a bit. Its pretty much always a hard sell when some tries to get me to cough up another monthly fee.

Any thoughts on what experience one can expect from the Market Place if you don't subscribe, or buy from the store?

Jason Dunn
09-29-2006, 05:01 PM
As someone who was never interested in subscription pricing, the Zune seems to be loosing its luster a bit.

Subscription music certainly isn't for everybody, that's for sure. It really depends on how much music you have, and how you buy new music. For someone like my sister, who might only have 30 CDs, paying $15 a month to get unlimited music is a good deal. For someone like myself, who has over 700 CDs, I've already made my investment and $15 a month is less attractive. It's important to understand that the subscription plan is completely optional.

Any thoughts on what experience one can expect from the Market Place if you don't subscribe, or buy from the store?

Are you asking if you can use the marketplace for something other than buying music? I have no idea - I'm sure they'll eventually offer more than just music, but for now that seems to be the focus.

rzanology
09-29-2006, 07:46 PM
well....for the price of one cd you can get as much as you want. I dont think thats bad at all. plus its a huge comfort level for the wireless function. i can mark what ever songs i want from a friend...come home and download them or the playlist and not worry about anything. ALso i think alot of people are thinking you HAVE to pay to get songs on the zune. I dont think this is so....from what i understand you can use it like any other music player.

carry on MS...carry on!

Jason Dunn
09-29-2006, 07:48 PM
ALso i think alot of people are thinking you HAVE to pay to get songs on the zune. I dont think this is so....from what i understand you can use it like any other music player.

That's absolutely correct - the Zune Marketplace music subscription is completely optional, just like you don't need to buy songs from iTunes in order to use an iPod.

cephus6
09-30-2006, 01:12 AM
Any word yet if the Zune will support Audible books?

If not that will push me toward the Vision M or Ipod.

Phillip Dyson
09-30-2006, 09:05 PM
Any word yet if the Zune will support Audible books?

If not that will push me toward the Vision M or Ipod.

I spoke to a VP at Audible during the CTIA conference about the Zune (pointed him to Zunethoughts while I was at it.) They have every intention of supporting Zune.

Macguy59
10-01-2006, 02:59 AM
Someone explain to me the "coolness" of crippled WI-FI.

Darius Wey
10-01-2006, 06:29 AM
Someone explain to me the "coolness" of crippled WI-FI.

I think for now, the "coolness" is about the existence of Wi-Fi, crippled or not. The limited peer-to-peer functionality may indeed be crippling, but Microsoft has a bundle of wireless scenarios that it may implement via a software update in the near future. If you're hoping for streaming support, it just may come.

Phillip Dyson
10-02-2006, 02:53 PM
I would think that MS would want to make the Marketplace accessible to as many people as they could. Even in a limited fashion.

If I could share lists with my friends using the ID3 tags on my personal library, then my friends could use their subscription to download the music.

And who knows, if my friends then made recommendations to me, then it may prompt me to buy or subscribe to here them.

cephus6
10-17-2006, 02:04 PM
Has anyone heard of any changes or the addition of audible support? I am really wanting to get this when available, but one of my primary uses is audio books.

Thanks

Jason Dunn
10-17-2006, 05:00 PM
Has anyone heard of any changes or the addition of audible support? I am really wanting to get this when available, but one of my primary uses is audio books.

Have you tried contacting Audible? I doubt you'll get any hard answers until the Zune actually ships.

cephus6
10-18-2006, 11:04 PM
Have you tried contacting Audible? I doubt you'll get any hard answers until the Zune actually ships.

Here is the response from Audible:

"In response to your email the the Zune device from Microsoft will be compatible with our service. Since this is a Windows based device there will not be any issues within compatibility. If you have any further questions in regards to Audible please respond back to this email."

No where is it mentioned in their device list.

Jason Dunn
10-18-2006, 11:07 PM
No where is it mentioned in their device list.

Well, it's not a shipping device yet, so that's not that surprising when you think about it. ;) I guess ultimately since this is a huge issue for you, you should wait until the Zune is shipping, then come back to talk to Audible again.

Stivostenberg
12-10-2006, 07:01 PM
I have a Creative Zen Touch which has not been able to play Audible books for the last two years, despite the promises from Creative that it would be supported when I bought it. I will not buy another Creative device for this reason. Because support for Audible depends on software in the device, I suspect Audible support is not a feature that Audible controls, but depends on Microsoft adding the funtionality. That being said, unless I see a statement from Microsoft confirming Audible support I am not going to beleive it.