Zune's been going in this direction for a while, but Microsoft has finally gone all MP3 with their Zune Marketplace music. All 11 million tracks in the US and eight million tracks in UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany. Yes, Europe!
In addition to not having any more WMA files in the marketplace (save for the Zune Pass rentals) and getting more indie bands like Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend back into the store, Microsoft is bringing their Zune Pass overseas as well to all those countries above except Germany. US pricing is still $US15, but it'll be €9.99 or £8.99, but with no 10-track keepers per month, like they have in the US.
What's great about Zune Pass (as well as just regular music purchasing) is that it's now applicable to all three of Microsoft's platforms: PC, Xbox and Windows Phone. By now, I suppose I mean when WinPho launches and Xbox gets patched, but that's by the end of the year.
HD video rentals and purchases work the same, with the ability to rent something on your PC and stream it to your Xbox 360, as well as syncing it to your Win Pho.
Here's the big list of international expansion.
- Zune Pass (U.K., France, Italy and Spain). The monthly music subscription service will be available for 9.99 euros /8.99 pounds per month for unlimited download and streaming access to the Zune music catalog and will be accessible on Windows-based PCs, Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE. The offer in the U.S. will remain at $US14.99 per month for unlimited downloads and streaming access, with the ability to keep 10 MP3s per month.8
- Music purchase (U.K., France, Italy, Spain and Germany). Expansion to these markets will enable consumers to purchase MP3s and listen on their Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 or any other device that supports MP3 format. Users will also be able to purchase music videos to enjoy on Windows-based PC, Windows Phone 7 and Zune on Xbox LIVE.
- Video purchase (U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Consumers will now be able to purchase movies to download and watch anywhere - on the big screen in the living room with Xbox LIVE or their Windows-based PC as well as sync it to their Windows Phone 7 to enjoy on the go.9
- Movie rental (U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). In addition to Zune video on Xbox LIVE, consumers in these countries will now be able to rent movies for viewing on their Windows-based PC or choose to sync the rental to their Windows Phone 7.