Zune finally becomes Xbox Music, but questions remain about the service

By Marques Lyons | Posted June 4, 2012 36 comments

Microsoft finally answered the question of what will be happening with the Zune Music service. During their E3 press briefing, Microsoft unveiled “Xbox Music”. This service doesn’t necessarily replace Zune in the same way that Zune replaced PlaysForSure. It’s essentially a reimagining of Zune services, better enhanced and focused to utilize the power of Xbox Live to make music easier to discover, distribute and consume.

While the announcement finally answered the question of what’s going to happen to Zune, it still left a few questions lingering in its wake.

But first let’s take a step back and understand what was exactly announced during the press briefing. When you read Microsoft’s press release, they describe the new Xbox Music service this way:

Xbox Music, also coming this fall, will bring the best of popular existing services to one place, letting the customer purchase music or subscribe to music on the console – and also on any cloud-connected device.

Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing officer for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, also elaborates on this new service, saying:

“It’s the music service we’ve always dreamed of building, so it will really be the best of download-to-own or subscription music,” Mehdi says. “You’ll be able to personalize and share with your friends, and best of all, discover new music and integrate it with your Windows 8 PC, tablet and phone.”

By the way, last time I checked the Zune music marketplace had 11 million tracks. The 30 million number that has been mentioned is quite a substantial jump.

While it’s fantastic that Microsoft is finally acknowledging what’s been known for quite some time, the questions still hang around: What about Zune Music Pass; does it become simply Xbox Music Pass? Does “any cloud-connected device” translate into devices that are besides Windows-based devices? What about people who stay with Windows 7 and what services/applications will they be using? When is the release date?

One thing is for certain: Zune is now Xbox Music (and Xbox Video). We can finally put that part of the puzzle to bed.

Now what do we do with the 1000 other pieces still lying on the table?

Posted June 4th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
  • cmwind

    I use xbox, windows phone, and am playing with win8 rp on my laptop but I still really want these service to be cross platform on ios and android… these services are stronger when they can be used with any combination of devices that you want (ie netflix, spotify, etc.)…

    • Brian Wolters

      excellent reply…microsoft needs to make these service multiplatform…

  • cmwind

    I use xbox, windows phone, and am playing with win8 rp on my laptop but I still really want these service to be cross platform on ios and android… these services are stronger when they can be used with any combination of devices that you want (ie netflix, spotify, etc.)…

    • Brian Wolters

      excellent reply…microsoft needs to make these service multiplatform…

  • JSYOUNG571

    I guess I will be one of those customers in question. I have a Windows 7 computer and a Windows Phone 7.5. I have no plans on upgrading my desktop computer to Windows 8 because it looks ugly. Upgrading to Windows Phone 8 remains in question because I just got Windows Phone 7.5 a few months ago. What Microsoft decides to do as far as upgrading customers who have 7.5 to 8 or making 7.5 compatible with this new revamped service is a deciding factor for me rather I will continue to keep all my services (email, messenger, skydrive and others) with them. I understand Microsoft is trying to make changes, but it always changes with question that alienate the customers.

    • jakebraca

      Honestly, if you think Windows 8 is ugly, I wouldn’t mind alienating you either.

      • frankwick

        Every one has an opinion. Each is equally important.

  • JSYOUNG571

    I guess I will be one of those customers in question. I have a Windows 7 computer and a Windows Phone 7.5. I have no plans on upgrading my desktop computer to Windows 8 because it looks ugly. Upgrading to Windows Phone 8 remains in question because I just got Windows Phone 7.5 a few months ago. What Microsoft decides to do as far as upgrading customers who have 7.5 to 8 or making 7.5 compatible with this new revamped service is a deciding factor for me rather I will continue to keep all my services (email, messenger, skydrive and others) with them. I understand Microsoft is trying to make changes, but it always changes with question that alienate the customers.

    • #TeamCortana

      Honestly, if you think Windows 8 is ugly, I wouldn’t mind alienating you either.

      • frankwick

        Every one has an opinion. Each is equally important.

  • Jamie

    They posted a promo video for Xbox Music here…
    http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/music

  • Jamie

    They posted a promo video for Xbox Music here…
    http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/music

  • Brian Wolters

    we own 3 Zune HDs….we dont mind the name change…we just want our devices to continue to work…

    • cuz84d

      thats where it still will connect to the same service backend..

  • Brian Wolters

    we own 3 Zune HDs….we dont mind the name change…we just want our devices to continue to work…

    • wizkid

      thats where it still will connect to the same service backend..

  • http://cid-280a1538334a1cb9.profile.live.com/ Seika

    Going to be en-US exclusive isn’t it ?

    • cuz84d

      well Windows 8 will certainly provide language fixes, but wherever Xbox is today, I’m sure they will support that language pack

  • http://cid-280a1538334a1cb9.profile.live.com/ Seika

    Going to be en-US exclusive isn’t it ?

    • wizkid

      well Windows 8 will certainly provide language fixes, but wherever Xbox is today, I’m sure they will support that language pack

  • Delibird444

    I don’t really understand/agree with/like this name change. Calling it “Xbox Music” when it has nothing to do with the Xbox (on every other device, WP and W8) is just stupid. But whatever, Microsoft is on this “Xbox IS media” rampage, so we’ll just have to live with it.
    Happy to have almost triple the amount of songs! I just hope I can continue paying only $9.99 for it…

    • cuz84d

      oh but it will.. its because you fail to realize that Microsoft is moving everything to Xbox Entertainment as a Division (not just a device) then just a console and software, they instead will now be much like apple app store or amazon or google and splitting the apps and services into separate scenarios.

      So Zune’s video and Music is being re-branded as Xbox and split apart as separate app and all the while you can still use Zune Pass, I’m sure they will end up renaming that too. The Zune Desktop app will still work and the Windows Phone app will be updated in WP8.. They are individual apps that will play music primary from the Xbox Music service (think iTunes, Amazon MP3 store, and Zune Marketplace) . Then you have Xbox Video which will play your videos in your library and get to the Xbox Video marketplace. So it will all line up. The Zune software and WP7.x will still connect via Zune pass to these back ends.

  • Delibird444

    I don’t really understand/agree with/like this name change. Calling it “Xbox Music” when it has nothing to do with the Xbox (on every other device, WP and W8) is just stupid. But whatever, Microsoft is on this “Xbox IS media” rampage, so we’ll just have to live with it.
    Happy to have almost triple the amount of songs! I just hope I can continue paying only $9.99 for it…

    • wizkid

      oh but it will.. its because you fail to realize that Microsoft is moving everything to Xbox Entertainment as a Division (not just a device) then just a console and software, they instead will now be much like apple app store or amazon or google and splitting the apps and services into separate scenarios.

      So Zune’s video and Music is being re-branded as Xbox and split apart as separate app and all the while you can still use Zune Pass, I’m sure they will end up renaming that too. The Zune Desktop app will still work and the Windows Phone app will be updated in WP8.. They are individual apps that will play music primary from the Xbox Music service (think iTunes, Amazon MP3 store, and Zune Marketplace) . Then you have Xbox Video which will play your videos in your library and get to the Xbox Video marketplace. So it will all line up. The Zune software and WP7.x will still connect via Zune pass to these back ends.

  • frankwick

    Xbox music? What about movies?

    • cuz84d

      Xbox Video

  • frankwick

    Xbox music? What about movies?

    • wizkid

      Xbox Video

  • aa

    Meaning my Windows Phone will say, Xbox Music? Windows Phone is getting closer to Xbox Phone.

    • cuz84d

      No, it will just Windows Phone with Xbox Music and Xbox Video on Windows phone 8 instead of Zune Music&Video

  • aa

    Meaning my Windows Phone will say, Xbox Music? Windows Phone is getting closer to Xbox Phone.

    • wizkid

      No, it will just Windows Phone with Xbox Music and Xbox Video on Windows phone 8 instead of Zune Music&Video

  • Mark D

    “Xbox music pass”, sounds very juvenile.

  • Mark D

    “Xbox music pass”, sounds very juvenile.

  • Woodkim

    if i rent a movie and decide i want to buy it do i have to pay full price or just the diffrence between them.

  • Woodkim

    if i rent a movie and decide i want to buy it do i have to pay full price or just the diffrence between them.