RIP Zune: Microsoft to Retire Music Service This Year

Microsoft Zune
David Howells/REX Shutterstock

Microsoft Zune photographed on Nov. 14, 2006.

Dear active Zune users: First off, why? Second, it pains us to tell you that Microsoft has announced it will retire its Zune Music service on Nov. 15, delivering a final shovel of dirt (sans red rose) atop the one-time iPod competitor.

Microsoft stopped making its portable media player in 2011, but continued to offer its digital subscription service, which allowed users to stream or download content on the device for a flat fee. As long as your Zune is alive and kicking it will continue to function as an MP3 player, and Microsoft notes that you’ll still be able to transfer music to and from the device. Just not from the Zune service.

One caveat is that if the content on your device contains digital rights management (DRM) technology, it “may not play if the license can’t be renewed.” (By 2009, all the major labels had dropped the copy protections from their digital files.)

The Zune Really Died A Year Ago

The company said existing Zune Music Pass subscribers will be converted over to the similar Groove Music Pass service, which boasts 40 million songs for streaming and an unspecified amount of OneDrive cloud storage for $9.99/month or a discounted rate of about $100/year.

The Zune player was introduced in November of 2006 and enjoyed a small but passionate following over the years, including a guy who tattooed his arm with its logo and reportedly tried to change his name to "Microsoft Zune." Watch an early unboxing and review of the device's first generation.