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

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.

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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.


Looks like I’ve got some downloading to do.


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Conversation 30 comments

  • 821

    04 October, 2016 - 12:26 pm

    <p>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.</p>

    • 5234

      04 October, 2016 - 3:47 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#17666">In reply to Jaxidian:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>It’s a bit of a privacy no-no to have Microsoft automatically use up space in your online storage with arbitrary files without your consent.</p>

  • 860

    04 October, 2016 - 12:29 pm

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

    • 5161

      Premium Member
      04 October, 2016 - 1:27 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#17669">In reply to EricJilot:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>Same here, most of the Zune music I purchased is already unavailable for whatever reason. Kind of frustrating, but I was able to download most of it previously.&nbsp;</p>

  • 1712

    04 October, 2016 - 12:38 pm

    <p>I miss zune ?</p>

    • 3177

      04 October, 2016 - 1:28 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#17673">In reply to mike2k:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>me too…</p>

    • 5443

      04 October, 2016 - 7:36 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#17673">In reply to mike2k:</a> agree 100%.&nbsp; I still use mine, but only for FM radio.&nbsp; Yeah, some of us still listen to that.&nbsp; For me, it’s a local morning show in the PHX area.&nbsp; I’d croak without being able to listen! :)<br />Otherwise, the Zune interface was the best I’ve ever used, and I miss it to this day.&nbsp; What a shame…<br /></em></blockquote>

      • 1712

        04 October, 2016 - 9:11 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#17833">In reply to Jeff_S:</a></em></blockquote>
        <p>I still use my ZuneHD when I run. Fits nicely on my arm as opposed to trying to strap a phablet on my body and run with that thing</p>

  • 131

    Premium Member
    04 October, 2016 - 12:44 pm

    <p>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). &nbsp;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. &nbsp;It was a pain in the ass but worth the effort.</p>

  • 1816

    04 October, 2016 - 1:29 pm

    <p>"Some songs might play in the Zune software even though they&rsquo;re not in the Groove music catalog. To preserve those songs, burn them to an audio CD."</p>
    <p>Are you kindding me?</p>

  • 2130

    04 October, 2016 - 1:30 pm

    <p>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.</p>

    • 2130

      04 October, 2016 - 1:48 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#17697">In reply to Tallin:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>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.</p>

  • 265

    Premium Member
    04 October, 2016 - 1:56 pm

    <p>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. &nbsp;Which I did and promptly lost sight and sound of them, and haven’t heard from them since? &nbsp; &nbsp;</p>

  • 2354

    04 October, 2016 - 2:24 pm

    <p>I have several movies I purchased via Zune.&nbsp; Any idea if the same cut off would apply to those in addition to music?</p>

  • 4185

    04 October, 2016 - 2:40 pm

    <p>Tron OST +1</p>

  • 2481

    Premium Member
    04 October, 2016 - 2:54 pm

    <p>I am surprised this has taken so long.</p>
    <p>I remember rippig all of my itunes AAC files into mp3s a long time ago.&nbsp;</p>

  • 3167

    04 October, 2016 - 4:42 pm

    <p>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.</p>

  • 5496

    04 October, 2016 - 7:18 pm

    <p>I just checked this on my windows phone.</p>
    <p>I sorted by purchased music, but it shows the year that they were made. Not the year I downloaded them.</p>
    <p>Around that time I was downloading music illegally anyway. So I don’t think I have any purchases from back then.</p>

  • 1959

    Premium Member
    04 October, 2016 - 8:11 pm

    <p style="padding-left: 30px;">"For example, you can upload them to OneDrive, where they can continue to be accessed by Groove."</p>
    <p>I would add a warning that Microsoft frequently deletes music you have legally purchased from Groove, mostly&nbsp;recent popular&nbsp;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.</p>

  • 3399

    05 October, 2016 - 1:03 am

    <p>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.</p>

  • 5615

    05 October, 2016 - 8:26 am

    <p>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.</p>

  • 6359

    10 October, 2016 - 8:17 am

    <p>I use my Zune HD in my car every day.&nbsp; Toyota teamed up with JBL to create a custom sound system for the Camry Hybrid and it is wonderful.</p>
    <p>My iPhone 6 sounds like a toy radio compared to the Zune’s Nvidia Tegra HD audio.&nbsp; The home button on the Zune works flawlessly.&nbsp; Apple does cut corners on their hardware.</p>
    <p>I downloaded my MP3’s and immediately copied them into a TrueCrypt container where Groove cannot touch them.&nbsp; I will copy them to One Drive.</p>
    <p>I installed a new battery in the Zune HD and I&nbsp;intend to keep using it&nbsp;until something better comes along.</p>

  • 7008

    20 October, 2016 - 5:14 am

    <p>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 <a href="http://musicparadiseproapp.com">download Music paradise pro</a> app for free. You can also stream music for free using this app.</p>

  • 9258

    17 December, 2016 - 8:05 am

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  • 9258

    27 December, 2016 - 11:26 am

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  • ssr235

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  • musicparadiseapp

    03 March, 2018 - 12:05 am

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