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Xbox Music Prepares to Deal the Death Blow to Zune

Posted by on August 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

If you’re a Zune subscriber – and really, who isn’t? (besides, well, everybody) – then you may be wondering what this whole Xbox Music thing is all about. During E3 back in June, Microsoft announced their new Xbox Music service, but they did so without offering any actual information about what the service is, how it will work, or what it will do besides, you know… music.

Well, thanks to an email sent today from Microsoft to current Zune subscribers, we can at least tell you some of the things that Xbox Music won’t do. Or, more specifically, the Zune features that are getting killed.

Entitled “Important Zune Music Feature Update,” the email says:

As we prepare for the exciting launch of Xbox Music later this fall, we want to make you aware of some pending changes to the Zune Music service that will be made on August 31st.

Specifically, the following features will no longer be available:

  • Sending and receiving messages, inviting friends, sharing the songs, playlists, and albums you are listening to, and viewing past play history
  • Mixview playback and channel playlists
  • Apps for Zune HD
  • Purchasing music videos or streaming them as a part of Zune Music Pass from the Zune PC software
  • Re-downloading, re-activating, or re-licensing previously purchased music videos if / when you upgrade your PC

If you hadn’t already heard Zune’s death knell all the other times that it rang, well, there it goes again. BONG.

The email goes on to state that “These changes will NOT affect music streaming or downloading as part of Zune Music Pass, impact songs that you have purchased from Zune Marketplace, or change your ability to stream music videos on Xbox 360.”

I’m a Zune subscriber, and my guess is that Microsoft isn’t saying much about Xbox Music simply because there isn’t much to say. At its core, this is a music service, and so far Xbox Music seems like little more than a rebranding of the existing Zune Pass, but tailored to Microsoft’s unification strategy under Windows 8.

In the meantime, we’ll needlessly speculate with our handy Magic 8 Ball.

Will the cost and basic services of Xbox Music stay the same? Outlook good. Will there be social integration? Signs point to Yes. (Though to what extent hasn’t been announced – considering Microsoft’s love affair with Facebook, it’s a fair bet that Xbox Music will allow you to spam your Facebook friend’s news feed, just like you can with Spotify). Will Xbox Music work on Android and IOS devices? Ask again later…

As we prepare for Zune’s funeral, we’ll leave you with Microsoft’s parting words of promise from the email:

Soon we’ll have more to share about Xbox Music, our brand new service that lets you access the music you care about on Xbox, phones, and tablets, plus a whole lot more.

Via Microsoft

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