End of an era as final Zune services shut down

End of an era as final Zune services shut down

This is a day many Zune enthusiasts have been dreading.

Yesterday Microsoft officially flipped the switch on their Zune services and ceased providing music streaming and download options for users of the Zune Music service.

The devices, which are now only available for purchase through auction sites like eBay or on Amazon, were engraved with the words Hello from Seattle on the back. They collected avid followers and users around the world but when the news broke in late 2011 that Microsoft would no longer manufacture the supposed iPod Killer even Microsoft wasn’t really ready to say goodbye to the device they had released in 2006.

It took another two years. November 2013, before Microsoft shut down the Zune Marketplace and stopped letting Zune users purchase and rent content for their devices.

Now, another two years later and a full four years after the company stopped building the devices, we have reached terminal velocity for the associated Zune Music service.

I still have my 30GB Zune, a brown one of course, in its dock on my main computer desk hooked up to a  desktop speaker system for listening to music while I work.

The shutdown of music streaming and downloading will not impact the Zune hardware itself thankfully so if you still have your Zune’s out there you can keep using them. You will need to either transfer your music manually or you can try to use the Zune Software (Version 4.8) which was last updated in August 2011.

To be honest I have not gone near the Zune software for some time now so I am not even sure it works on Windows 10.

So what happens to those of you with Zune subscriptions? Your existing subscription should convert to one for the Groove Music Pass without any action on your part. That was scheduled to be completed prior to 15 November 2015.

Here is how Microsoft is handling the conversion of your Zune Music Pass to the Groove Music Pass:

  • If you were a monthly subscriber to Zune Music Pass then you will be converted to the Groove Music Pass monthly option at a monthly renewal rate of $9.99.
  • Those who had the 3 month Zune Music Pass will be converted to a monthly pass at the monthly rate of $9.99. If you cancel your music pass before those three months are up, then you might get a partial refund.
  • If you were an annual Zune Music Pass subscriber, then you will get changed over to the annual Groove Music Pass at the yearly rate of $99.90 and you will get your entire year when the new Music Pass is started. Just like the 3 month Zune Music Pass option, if you cancel your annual Zune Music Pass then you may be eligible for a partial refund.

Microsoft will be emailing all Zune Music Pass subscribers about the possibility of partial refunds if they might be eligible.

While it is disappointing when a favorite service/device arrives at this point it can be a boon for those still holding onto their hardware.

For example, over on Amazon you can grab the Zune AV Home Pack for just $7.39 with free shipping for Prime subscribers.

This package used to sell for $99.99 in its heyday and allows you to connect your Zune to your stereo or desktop sound systems using RCA jack connections. In addition, the base can charge your Zune when it is docked.

Docks for other Zune devices are also readily available on Amazon at big discounts.

What are your thoughts on the complete retirement of the Zune? Still have one yourself?

More info on the retirement of Zune services is available in this FAQ from Microsoft Support.

But, wait...there's probably more so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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