Goodbye MSN Music, Hello Zune UK

Press Release: Microsoft today announced plans to integrate MSN Music with Zune, Microsoft’s digital entertainment service.

There is a natural synergy between MSN Music and Zune. MSN Music will create links in its music editorial to related content on Zune.net, giving users quick and easy access to the music they care about in the Zune Marketplace.

On Zune.net users will be able to browse the Zune Marketplace and purchase music from a 100% MP3 catalogue or use a Zune Pass music subscription to stream music directly through their Internet
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The Zune Marketplace includes millions of tracks from all the major labels as well as thousands of independent labels. Tracks purchased from the Zune Marketplace are all DRM-free MP3s.

Zune Pass provides unlimited download and streaming access to the Zune music catalogue for £8.99 per month. Users can listen to their Zune Pass music using the Zune software on their PC, on Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360, or in any browser via zune.net for as long as they hold their subscription.

“The integration between MSN Music and Zune in the UK is an exciting advance in our entertainment and music offering,” said Steven Wilson-Beales from MSN Music. “People will now be able to consume a range of music news, videos, spotlights on new music and artist information and have at their fingertips, the ability to purchase and listen to the music they want, wherever they want. The integration between MSN and Zune Pass will allow subscribers to log in from any supported web browser for unlimited access to a catalogue of 7 million songs in the Zune Marketplace.”

Zune will replace the current download store as the music consumption experience for MSN Music. Existing customers of the MSN Music download store will be invited to discover the new service.

MSN UK is the UK’s biggest news and entertainment portal and attracts 25m UK unique users a month, reaching 58% of the country’s internet audience. MSN UK includes content from user channels, such as Entertainment, Life & Style, Tech & Gadgets, Shopping, Him, as well as personal essentials like Local, Weather, and Horoscopes.  It recently unveiled a new look homepage that is quicker, offers more news and video content and features an innovative news pane that brings users the top headlines and breaking stories from around the world.

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Comment

This move is long overdue, but of course it remains disappointing that the Zune service in UK will offer much less for about the same price that USA, with U.K. users not benefiting from the 10 included mp3’s per month, which will likely limit the uptake of the service significantly.

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