A Zune Pass Primer

A Zune Pass is a monthly subscription that allows you 10 downloaded songs a month to keep forever, and an unlimited number of songs to stream.  You can play your music on your Zune device, WP7, Xbox 360, and your PC.  It’s $14.99 a month- so you can think of it as paying $10 for 10 songs you can keep forever + $5 for an unlimited number of songs you’re borrowing.  As long as you’re a Zune Pass subscriber, then all of the music you’ve put on your device stays on your device.  If you don’t use all of your 10 song credits in a month, you lose them (AKA: they don’t roll over).

I’ve had a Zune Pass the entire time I’ve had my Zune HD, and I’ve never considered canceling it.  The Zune Pass is usually one of the features that gets iPod users thinking about jumping ship.

I put music into two categories: “Classics” and “Trendy”.  There are some songs I know that I’ll love forever, and other songs are just a flash in the pan.  I use my 10 monthly credits to buy the songs that are keepers, and the unlimited downloads get used by songs I’ll be sick of hearing after a few months.

I’ve also used the Zune Pass when I know I like a few songs on an album- the credits go towards the few songs that I like, and the rest of the album is filled in by the unlimited downloads.

One thing you need to be careful with is how many devices and computers you use your Zune Pass with.  The official Zune Pass rules are here: http://www.zune.net/en-us/products/learningcenter/zunepass/features/threecomputers.htm; as it says on the official page, “Three computers, three devices”.  You can change one computer, and one Zune device every 30 days, too.  You can also stream music from zune.net via your web browser when you sign in.

The language on this is kind of vague- it doesn’t explicitly say that the three & three need to belong to just one person (the assumption being that three computers and three devices would belong to multiple people), but the official terms of service (http://www.zune.net/en-US/legal/termsofservice.htm) kind of imply that the Zune Pass is for an individual.  I’m not a lawyer, but I haven’t heard of a family getting busted for sharing a Zune Pass.

Overall, I’m a fan of the Zune Pass because it allows me to just enjoy music.  I never need to worry if a song is “worth” getting; I just use my unlimited downloads.  I think I’ve actually expanded my musical taste because of it.

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