Did You Buy Music from Zune Before 2012? Please Read This

Posted on October 4, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Groove Music with 29 Comments

Did You Buy Music from Zune Before 2012? Please Read This

I received an email from Microsoft this morning alerting me that music I had purchased from the Zune service before 2012 would need to be downloaded or it will be lost forever. Here’s what happening … and how you can fix this.

As you may know, Microsoft launched Zune in 2006 to rival the iPod, and it was accompanied by the Zune Marketplace, for music purchases, and the Zune Music Pass subscription service. Over the year, Zune evolved first into Xbox Music and more recently into Groove, and in doing so, some features have changed from time to time as well.

Back in the heady early days of Zune, purchased music was still protected by DRM (digital rights management) technology, and Microsoft naturally used its in-house WMA (Windows Media Audio) file format instead of the industry-standard MP3 format because WMA offers better sound quality and smaller file sizes. But as with the rest of the music industry, Microsoft later did switch to MP3, which of course is unburdened by DRM restrictions.

What I had never contemplated, however, was that music purchased (and downloaded) from Zune before 2012 was still in a DRM-protected WMA format, and these files have continued working as we’ve moved from Zune to Xbox Music and then to Groove. But that is about to change.

“As an original Zune customer, we appreciate you being a part of our music community from the start,” the Microsoft email reads. “As you know, we’ve continuously worked to evolve our music app and service, and with that evolution, some of our original licensing arrangements are expiring.”

“Our records show that you purchased music on Zune prior to 2012, so we’re writing to let you know that as of March 12, 2017, we will no longer be issuing licenses to WMA-protected (DRM) tracks purchased prior to 2012,” the email continues. “If you have not already obtained licenses for outstanding purchased DRM tracks, you will be unable to play WMA DRM files locally after March 11, 2017.”

Fortunately, Microsoft is of course letting customers download their purchased music in license-free MP3 format. So you have until March 11, 2017 to download any purchased tracks from Groove so you can keep using them. (For example, you can upload them to OneDrive, where they can continue to be accessed by Groove.)

A Microsoft support page explains the various issues around Zune DRM-protected music. But you should be able to find all your purchased music using Groove for Windows 10. To do so, open Groove and navigate to the Albums, Artists, or Songs view. Then, select “Sort by” and choose “Date added,” and select “Filter” and choose “Purchased.” Now, you will see your purchased music: Just select what you want and download it to your PC.

purchased

Looks like I’ve got some downloading to do.

 

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Comments (30)

30 responses to “Did You Buy Music from Zune Before 2012? Please Read This”

  1. 821

    Why wouldn't they just automatically send them to OneDrive for Groove integration themselves? That shouldn't cost them much of anything and would make long-time customers happier. Or at least give the user a button to do this themselves. But this should be automatic imho.

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  6. 7008

    Buying music always a great way. You just can have trail versions of music from free apps like music paradise pro app and if you like them you can buy it. Moreover, you can't buy every new album released. To get any type music for free download Music paradise pro app for free. You can also stream music for free using this app.

  7. 6359

    I use my Zune HD in my car every day.  Toyota teamed up with JBL to create a custom sound system for the Camry Hybrid and it is wonderful.

    My iPhone 6 sounds like a toy radio compared to the Zune's Nvidia Tegra HD audio.  The home button on the Zune works flawlessly.  Apple does cut corners on their hardware.

    I downloaded my MP3's and immediately copied them into a TrueCrypt container where Groove cannot touch them.  I will copy them to One Drive.

    I installed a new battery in the Zune HD and I intend to keep using it until something better comes along.

     

     

  8. 5615

    I never had a Zune or used any Zune services. Interestingly, I just browsed through the Event Viewer on one of my recently-purchased Kangaroo PCs running Win10 and it is littered with AppModel-Runtime Errors caused by something called Microsoft.ZuneVideo_3.6.25061.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe.

  9. 3399

    There should be an option to auto save all music purchased before 2012 to users' music folder on OneDrive without the penalties of losing allotted space. Same should go with anything purchased in video format. This offers the option to stream as well as download. It's not the customer's fault they bought into an ecosystem that will eventually be abandoned from a company that has been doing this each year. Microsoft not giving this option is short sighted and it seems they are not interested in their customers actually using their current products to It's full potential.

  10. 1959

    "For example, you can upload them to OneDrive, where they can continue to be accessed by Groove."

    I would add a warning that Microsoft frequently deletes music you have legally purchased from Groove, mostly recent popular stuff, from OneDrive "at the request of the copyright holder". And unless you're a Music Pass subscriber, they also restrict streaming of those same songs. While OneDrive is a great option, I highly recommend you keep a copy of anything you purchase on something other than OneDrive. And in case your phone ever fails unexpected, I don't recommend that as the place where you keep said copy.

  11. 5496

    I just checked this on my windows phone.

    I sorted by purchased music, but it shows the year that they were made. Not the year I downloaded them.

    Around that time I was downloading music illegally anyway. So I don't think I have any purchases from back then.

  12. 3167

    just did this last night. Relatively painless considering Alli the music I have. I'm a little less certain of their later now about songs no longer in t catalog. That is tri take a cd and burn the tracks. Keep us posted on that.

  13. 2481

    I am surprised this has taken so long.

    I remember rippig all of my itunes AAC files into mp3s a long time ago. 

  14. 2354

    I have several movies I purchased via Zune.  Any idea if the same cut off would apply to those in addition to music?

  15. 265

    This isn't directly related, and if it's IIRC, but a few years back there was a big Microsoft "Music Deals" promotional offer wherein you could pick a number of albums and get them for free.  Which I did and promptly lost sight and sound of them, and haven't heard from them since?    

  16. 2130

    Is this saying that you won't be able to download it after that time or that you won't be able to play any previously downloaded tracks that still have DRM after that time? Because it sounds like the latter from the quotes, but Paul seems to be saying it's the former.

    • 2130

      In reply to Tallin:

      So I looked over the link. It looks like if you play the songs that have DRM or download the MP3 they'll be relicensed, otherwise you'll lose access to them. If they're no longer available, you can still burn to CD to remove DRM, though with some quality loss if you rip them back to MP3 or another lossy format.

  17. 1816

    "Some songs might play in the Zune software even though they’re not in the Groove music catalog. To preserve those songs, burn them to an audio CD."

    Are you kindding me?

  18. 131

    About 9 years ago I set out to find and convert all of my DRM'd music to MP3 and spent a few days doing so (while also adding missing album art and other metatags).  I had purchased music from Walmart and at least a couple other sources (that I can't remeber) that used to be showcased in the Windows Media Player application - all DRM'd WMA files.  It was a pain in the ass but worth the effort.

  19. 860

    That great provided that they still have it in thier catalog. Which in my case most are not.

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