Zune, Microsoft's digital music and entertainment service, today announced landmark agreements with major and independent music labels to bring significant new value to the subscription music model. The Zune Pass subscription service currently gives consumers on-demand access to millions of tracks for $14.99 per month. Starting today subscribers will also get to select 10 tracks per month to keep and add them to their permanent collection (an estimated $10 value).
Agreements have been signed between Microsoft and EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Warner Music Group, as well as independent distributors INgrooves, Independent Online Distribution Alliance and The Orchard. The Orchard delivers digital music, video and brand services globally, and represents labels including Barsuk Records (Nada Surf) and Fania Records (Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz). IODA represents labels including Arts & Crafts (Broken Social Scene, The Stills) and Ghostly International (Matthew Dear, School of Seven Bells). The new enhanced subscription model came about as a result of close collaboration with all of these companies.
Zune Pass subscribers will have the added benefit of retaining digital rights management (DRM)-free MP3 tracks from Sony BMG and UMG, in addition to MP3 tracks from EMI Music, Warner Music Group and a large portion of the independent music labels. With the addition of tracks from UMG and Sony BMG, Zune will soon offer over 90 percent of its music in the MP3 format.
“The way people consume music has changed. With the shift to digital from CDs, it is more challenging than ever to offer the right mix of deep content, music discovery and economic value,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune at Microsoft. “People want the freedom to listen to whatever they want across millions of songs, combined with the confidence that they can keep their favorite tracks forever.”
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