I hadn't thought much about the subscription service offered by Microsoft's Zune Marketplace. Being the tightwad that I am, I just immediately dismissed the idea of paying $14.99 per month for music.
But after I purchased my Zune last week, I eventually succumbed to the temptation and I redeemed my free 14 day trial of the Zune Pass subscription service.
How liberating is it to know that you can download any album, any song, at any time?
I'm still not sure I'll pay the $14.99 per month (or $44.97 for 3-month renewals) for the service, but that's because I'm so cheap. I do see the value in this subscription service and I think it's a great product.
There are caveats with the subscription service. I would compare to a "music rental" service. For the monthly fee, you can download and listen to as much music as you like. However, the songs are not capable of being burned to CD. And once you cancel your subscription, the songs no longer can be played. But as long as your subscription is active, it is a music smorgasbord.
Just this morning, I was looking for some Prince music (inspired by his fantastic Super Bowl performance), and found 32 Prince albums available for download. This initial search spawned a train of thought that led me to search for such varied artists as Barenaked Ladies, Crash Test Dummies, GTR, Cracker and Jimmie Lee. Zune Marketplace offered many options for all of these artists (except for GTR, whose album was not available but still listed in their database). Just in this quick 15 minutes search session, I downloaded 6 albums. If each album costs somewhere around 10 or 11 bucks, I just easily paid for several months of the subscription service.
Of course, if there is an album or song that you would like to keep, you can still purchase songs using the confusing Microsoft Points system. Once purchased, the songs can be burned to CD and kept forever.
So, while I'm not sure I will subscribe to the Zune Pass service, I still give it hearty thumbs up as a great way to get music into your hands and onto your Zune.